U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 is the latest and most prominent politician to endorse petition candidate the Rev. W. David Lee DIV ’93 in his bid for a seat on the Yale Corporation.
Lieberman’s Tuesday endorsement comes one month after U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. pledged their support for Lee’s candidacy. Lee, who is the first petition candidate for the Corporation in more than 15 years, will face Maya Lin ’81 ARC ’86 in this spring’s election.
“As one Yale alumnus and New Haven resident to another, I am pleased and honored to endorse your candidacy,” Lieberman said in his letter to Lee. “Yale is fortunate to have a leader of so prominent a local congregation as Varick Memorial AME Zion ready to serve on the Board of the Yale Corporation.”
Lieberman also said he was an active supporter in 1964 and 1965 of William Horowitz ’29, the first Jew to serve on the Corporation and the last successful petition candidate.
“Like you, he used the democratic method of petitioning to gain access to the ballot, opening many doors for Yale University,” Lieberman said. “Your candidacy is poised to strengthen Yale, by opening doors into the New Haven community.”
Dan Gerstein, a spokesman for Lieberman, said the letter fully conveyed Lieberman’s sentiments about the race and that the senator had no further comment.
Lee said he was elated and humbled by Lieberman’s endorsement.
“I just think his endorsement letter is the essence of what this idea is,” Lee said. “It singularly and clearly tells what this is all about and why the idea is so powerful.”
Lee said he has a “broad-based coalition” of friends and supporters working hard on his behalf.
“We are reaching out every way possible. Somehow through the process they reached him and got to him and he agreed. I’m just thankful,” Lee said. “I believe this is the tip of the iceberg for those who do believe in the idea.”
Lee and Ted Wittenstein ’04, one of his student campaign coordinators, said they hope to receive similar statements of support.
“We are hopeful that future endorsements are pending from prominent alumni,” Wittenstein said.
Yale President Richard Levin said he believes that never before “has a Corporation candidate received endorsements.”
“The amount of political involvement in this alumni election is completely without precedent,” Levin said.