In light of Monday’s News article about my campaign (“Tran’s visibility faces hurdles,” March 29), I would like to set the record straight on a few things.
First, I will be living in Ward 1 this fall and next year. If I did not plan on living in Ward 1, I would not be running for alderman.
Second, as I have made clear from the beginning of my campaign, I will teach with the Teach for America program for the next two years. While mine will be a full-time job, a vast majority of the current aldermen, like many before them, have proven that it is possible to work full-time and to serve successfully on the board. In fact, since Ward 1 was drawn into the “Yale Ward” in 1982, a majority of aldermen representing the ward have not been Yale undergraduates, but recent alums, including Nick Shalek ’07 (on the board from 2005-’07) who worked 70 hours a week in the Yale Investment Office while serving as alderman.
I recognize that teaching is going to be demanding of my time and energy, just as serving as alderman would be. But I believe I can fulfill both positions successfully. I am a currently a student, freshman counselor, master’s aide, Connecticut Academic Decathlon state director, researcher, dancer, Riverview Psychiatric hospital student intern and intramurals captain. I have always led a busy life, and I do it by being extremely organized and energetic.
I hope to use this energy to serve my future students, my constituents in Ward 1 and my fellow citizens of New Haven. I would not be running if I had any thought that I would compromise my students’ well being and academic progress by being an alderman. I had considered this from the very beginning, and I am confident that I can handle both jobs.
Third, I do not know where I will teach in Connecticut, and I could be assigned to New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford or Hartford. I have never said I will definitely teach in New Haven. Furthermore, whether or not I work in New Haven specifically will not significantly affect my performance as alderman.
It is not uncommon for aldermen to work outside of New Haven. According to Al Lucas, director of legislative services in City Hall, 13 of the 30 aldermen on the today’s board work outside of the city, including the widely respected Democratic leader Alderwoman Andrea Jackson-Brooks, who works in Hartford for the State Comptroller’s Office. Lucas also pointed out to me that one strength of the board lies in its diversity of perspectives and the experiences of aldermen working all over the state — but all reside in New Haven.
With regards to Worthington Hooker School, I expressed an interest in teaching there because I thought it would be a constructive way to continue the relationships I have built there. The teachers and parents also voiced their desire to have me become a full-time teacher. It is worth mentioning that Hooker has had Teach for America corps members there before, but if Teach for America no longer wishes to place corps members there, then I am happy and willing to serve at any other school.
To conclude, I would like to address questions of my integrity. I was hurt by personal attacks on my character in comments on the News’ Web site, because they were unfounded and misguided. Commenters accused me of not having been straightforward about where I will be working. From my first interview with the News before the announcement of my candidacy, all the way to today, I have always said to people that I do not know where I will be placed. Before officially declaring my candidacy, I said the exact same thing to my freshmen in Durfee, my friends, and my master and dean. I have been up front in my campaign as well: My Web site clearly states, “After Yale, Minh will join Teach for America in Connecticut and — with your vote — the New Haven Board of Aldermen.”
If there is one thing I am confident about, it is my character and my moral compass. Regardless of the outcome of this election, I trust the community will see that I am an upstanding citizen of our community. If elected, I am eager to put that integrity to work as your alderman next year, and eager to give Ward 1 an alderman who, from having extensive experience, understands both life at Yale College and life in New Haven.
Minh Tran is a senior in Morse College and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Ward 1 alderman.