Ward 7 Alderwoman Frances “Bitsie” Clark announced today that she will not seek a fifth term.
Clark, who has represented much of the city’s downtown since 2003, said in an interview Thursday that is struggling to balance her aldermanic duties and a new full-time job she took in March. To replace her, Clark endorsed Doug Hausladen ’04, former chairman of the Downtown-Wooster Square Community Management Team.
In March, Clark, 79, became the executive director of East Rock Village, a nonprofit that helps elderly people continue living in their homes. She thought she could handle that position while continuing as alderwoman just as most on the Board maintain full-time day jobs, she said, but she was proven wrong.
“This spring was brutal, coming home at 5 p.m. and having barely enough time to eat before going back to City Hall,” Clark said. “I couldn’t go through a campaign this summer.”
As chair of the Board of Aldermen’s youth committee, Clark said she is proud of the work she has done on the Board on behalf of young people. In 2007, Clark was involved in the establishment of the city’s Street Outreach Worker program for at-risk youth, and in May, she lobbied city officials in a successful last-ditch effort to avoid scheduled library funding cuts that would have forced all branch libraries to close on weekends.
A former director of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven for nearly two decades, Clark said she also believes she has helped make arts and culture higher priorities on the Board of Aldermen.
Clark said she will remember her time as alderwoman as some of the “most fun” she has ever had in her life. Politics, she said, is “an enormously interesting and marvelous profession,” one she she aspired to since high school.
Hausladen, a manager at Elm Campus Partners, Yale’s residential real estate arm, has Clark’s full support in his bid to replace her, she said.
A native of northern Kentucky and a former biology major in Davenport College, Hausladen said he is passionate about New Haven, which is where he “learned what it means to be a citizen.”
Hausladen’s experience as chairman of the management team, he said, will help him as he tries to get the Board of Aldermen to more effectively engage the ideas of city residents. For example, he proposed live streaming Board meetings and allowing residents to use Skype to testify when they cannot attend. In general, Hausladen said, the city needs more “participatory government.”
So far, Hausladen is the only officially declared candidate for Ward 7 alderman.