Ella Wood ’15 will challenge incumbent Doug Hausladen ’04 in the Democratic primary for the Ward 7 seat on the New Haven Board of Aldermen, officials at the city’s Registrar of Voters confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
Shannel Evans, assistant secretary at the Registrar of Voters, said Wood submitted signatures Wednesday morning that, pending certification, will place her on the ballot for the primary in Ward 7. Certification involves verifying the accuracy of the signatures and confirming that Wood resides in the ward, which comprises the downtown area and portions of Wooster Square, the Medical District and the Hill and Dwight neighborhoods.
Wood could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Hausladen, who clinched the seat after an unopposed campaign in 2011, said he first learned of Wood’s intention to challenge him on Tuesday. He said he is looking forward to a “youthful campaign” that “speaks to the future of New Haven.”
Hausladen said the central issues facing his constituents are public safety, property taxes and “quality of life matters” that include everything from dog parks to bike and pedestrian safety.
Though Ward 7 is not home to many Yale undergraduate students, Hausladen said there is a large graduate student population in the downtown and nearby SoHu – south of Humphrey St. – areas. He said he has never met Wood but that he believes she lives on Humphrey St.
Hausladen said he filed paperwork to seek reelection in January but began formally campaigning in June. He launched his reelection campaign in conjunction with a slate of six Democratic candidates who have identified themselves as part of a reform-minded coalition called “Take Back New Haven.” Despite the group’s professed aim of toppling the union-backed supermajority on the Board, Hausladen said Wednesday he does not see himself or his allies as hostile to union interests or the Board as a whole.
“Take Back New Haven is not an anti-union bloc,” he said. “It’s a pro-discussion, pro-debate group of candidates. One member of the group – Craig Smith – is supported by the police unions.”
Wood is the chairperson of the Independent Party of the Yale Political Union and a member of the activist group Students Unite Now.