It’s been a mere five months since Ward 22 voters elected Gregory Morehead as their alderman in a special election. Morehead, a 29-year-old entrepreneur and father of three, won because of his positive vision of unity and change in an often bitterly divided ward. Ward 22 comprises both Yale undergraduates and local residents. One-third of Ward 22 is located on Yale’s campus (students in Timothy Dwight, Silliman, Morse, Ezra Stiles and Swing Space are eligible to vote in Ward 22), while the other two-thirds of Ward 22 residents live in the Dixwell community.
In just five months, Morehead has already been successful in implementing changes in Ward 22, and residents can now see that he is not only a candidate who can think big, but also an alderman who can produce results. On Sept. 11, Morehead will compete in the Democratic primary to select a nominee to serve a full term in Ward 22. Because of his vision, his ability to produce results and his commitment to working with all parts of the ward, I support Greg Morehead’s re-election as Ward 22 alderman.
Morehead’s vision and focus have always revolved around what he sees as the two groups most in need of help in the ward: youth and seniors. When Greg came to office, youth services were clearly in need of help. The “Q House,” a neighborhood youth center, had been closed. While Greg’s long-term vision is to create a public-private partnership to build a new youth center in Dixwell, he has already begun to implement smaller changes to help the ward’s youth. He has hosted multiple youth events over the summer in order to give the young people of Ward 22 a fun, safe place to go. Fundraising has also begun to help support his longer-term goal of the youth center project.
Morehead’s commitment to seniors is equally impressive. Ward 22 is the home of multiple senior centers. When seniors at two of the centers, Monterey Place and Edith Johnson Towers, told Greg that their community rooms had been closed, he sprang into action. He worked closely with seniors to successfully push for improved facilities at the two senior centers and the reopening of the community rooms. Morehead’s willingness to take immediate action at the senior center demonstrates how dedicated he is to improving the quality of life of Ward 22 residents.
Morehead has shown that he is able to engage the Dixwell community and get their feedback. Morehead has hosted multiple community forums and has started a quarterly newsletter that discusses important issues in the ward. He also created a Web site so that he can respond to constituent concerns. In local government, Morehead’s proven desire and ability to engage his constituency truly distinguishes him as a valuable asset to the ward.
When Morehead won in April, he made it clear that one of his initial goals was to work with and unify the entire ward — including Yale. Because of this commitment, he won a majority in both parts of the ward in April. Since his election, he has continued to speak about how Yale students can help the ward. As Morehead explained in the New Haven Independent: “I want to get [Yale undergraduates] involved. … There’s a lot of resources they bring when they’re here.” Instead of vilifying Yale students, Morehead has made clear that the energy and ideas of Yale students can help Ward 22. While I recognize that Morehead’s foremost commitment is to the Dixwell neighborhood, it is refreshing to see that his willingness to work with all parts of the ward has not diminished in five months. I trust that on Sept. 11 the wisdom of the residents of Ward 22 will also not have diminished, and Greg Morehead will be re-elected as Ward 22 alderman.
Jacob Koch is a sophomore in Timothy Dwight College.