Incumbent Ward 1 alder Sarah Eidelson ’12 will not run for a fourth term this fall, paving the way for Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19 to take the seat.
A representative from the city clerk’s office confirmed that Catalbasoglu is the only candidate who registered to run in Ward 1 by Wednesday, the deadline for alder candidates to submit petitions to run for office, meaning no Democrat, Republican or Independent can challenge him in the Nov. 7 general election. Eight of Yale’s residential colleges are located in Ward 1 and the majority of the ward’s constituents are Yale students. Minor party candidates still can enter the race, but Catalbasoglu told the News that his campaign team has not heard of anyone who plans to do so.
Eidelson, whose term will end on Dec. 31, said she felt lucky to have served the city for six years.
“Things have changed a lot in the city since I was first elected in 2011,” Eidelson said. “My fellow alders and I have made some pretty big differences for the better in New Haven.”
She said she was proud of her and her fellow alders’ contributions to the sharp reduction in violent crime the city has seen since 2011, as well as their efforts to promote other youth services, including the reopening of the Q-House, a community center in the Dixwell neighborhood.
Eidelson, the press secretary for UNITE HERE — an umbrella union that represents the Yale unions Local 33, 34 and 35 — said she plans to stay involved in New Haven and to keep her job with the union. She offered some parting words of wisdom for Ward 1’s next alder.
“I think it’s important that the new alder be ready to work together with other alders to build a stronger New Haven for everyone,” she said.
If elected, the 19-year-old Catalbasoglu will be the youngest member of the current Board of Alders and one of the youngest alders ever. As an Independent, he also will be the only non-Democrat on the Board, which is comprised of 30 alders.
Catalbasoglu, who grew up in New Haven, has mobilized students from across the political spectrum. No organization at Yale has endorsed him, but individuals from the Yale College Democrats, the Conservative Party and other Yale Political Union parties help run his campaign.
“I made it my goal from day one to empower anyone willing to work with me in this election and the politics of my beautiful city,” he said. “As such, we have students from the left, the right, the up and the down.”
Catalbasoglu said that if elected, he will focus on building a stronger connection between students and locals. The rising junior, who is a member of the heavyweight men’s crew team, added that he is already working on a program to provide New Haven kids with rowing lessons and academic tutoring through a partnership with the New Haven Boathouse and Yale’s crew teams.
Catalbasoglu, the son of Turkish immigrants who own and run Brick Oven Pizza on Howe Street, said he also will fight to break down barriers of entry for small business owners and entrepreneurs as well as to defend the city’s immigrant community.
Contact Jon Greenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.