After a reshuffling of co-chairs, the Democratic ward committee for Ward 1 will hold its first meeting of the academic year Sunday night in Dwight Hall.
The meeting will be the first to include Mac Herring ’12 as the committee’s new co-chair. As of September, Herring replaced Rachel Payne ’12, who can no longer serve on the committee because she moved to a residence in Ward 2. The committee, which is responsible for endorsing Democratic candidates for Ward 1 alderman, will discuss options for the process it uses to determine the endorsement, Herring said.
The first option is to hold an open endorsement vote in which all registered Democrats in the ward may vote, as was the case in the April 2009 election won by current Ward 1 Alderman Michael Jones ’11, Herring said Thursday. The option Herring said she and co-chair Amalia Skilton ’13 currently favor is a vote limited to members of the committee, with the hope that no other candidates would run in the Democratic primary in September.
A third option is to refrain from endorsing any candidate, leaving the New Haven Democratic Town Committee with a choice of whether to endorse a candidate in Ward 1.
Skilton said she and Herring are “bringing the committee to a new level of transparency.” The committee will be announcing meetings in the News, publishing a roster of its membership, and inviting non-members to public committee meetings, she said.
Skilton said she is excited to co-chair the committee with Herring, who has been an active member of the Undergraduate Organizing Committee. After Payne, a junior in Saybrook, decided to move off campus, she and Skilton conducted an open application process. Herring was the only applicant to complete the process, Skilton said.
“I think she’s energetic, dedicated and excited to take on the responsibility,” said New Haven Democratic Town Committee Chair Susan Voigt, who had to approve Herring as Payne’s replacement.
Ben Stango ’11, the president of the Yale College Democrats, echoed Voigt’s praise of Herring and said he is interested in what role the committee plans to play this year.
“It’s kind of an open question what they’ll do,” Stango said. “There are a lot of political groups on campus.”
Herring said she hopes to use her position on the committee to, among other goals, empower voters in the ward and promote awareness among Yale students that “they are citizens of New Haven.” The committee is an important part of life at Yale, she said, especially since many students lean left politically.
The committee’s meeting will take place Sunday at 5 p.m. in the Dwight Hall Library at 67 High St.