Three likely future members of the Board of Aldermen have expressed their support for Sarah Eidelson’s ’12 campaign for Ward 1 alderman.
Eidelson’s campaign announced Friday that three winners of aldermanic primaries from wards adjacent to Yale — Frank Douglass in Ward 2, Doug Hausladen ’04 in Ward 7 and Jeanette Morrison in Ward 22 — have endorsed Eidelson in her upcoming contest against Vinay Nayak ’14. Douglass and Hausladen are running unopposed in the general election, while Morrison will face repeat challenger Cordelia Thorpe, who received four of 648 votes in the Sept. 13 primary.
“I am particularly excited to receive endorsements from future aldermen of all of our adjacent wards because tackling the issues that are priorities for students … will require effective collaboration between aldermen,” Eidelson wrote in an email Saturday evening. “In building relationships with Jeanette, Doug and Frank, we have already begun to collaborate on developing the legislative initiatives we would like to bring to the Board.”
Douglass, a Trumbull College dining hall cook, said that he has worked with Eidelson in the past while canvassing. He said he feels she understands that issues affecting residents in his ward also affect Yalies. Hausladen, meanwhile, issued a statement explaining that he supports Eidelson because of her “experience and maturity.”
Morrison, the third aldermanic primary winner to endorse Eidelson, said Eidelson “knows the importance of bringing residents and developers to the table with one another.”
Eidelson has been involved in activism both on and off campus during her three years at Yale. She led a student campaign protesting the administration’s decision last February to increase the self-help portion of financial aid packages by $400, registered new voters in the Dwight, Dixwell, West River and Newhallville neighborhoods on a Dwight Hall fellowship during the summer after her sophomore year and worked on a Ward 18 aldermanic campaign this summer.
Eidelson’s campaign has also been endorsed by two Ward 1 aldermen who preceded current alderman Michael Jones ’11: Ben Healey ’04 and Julio Gonzalez ’99. Eidelson added that a wide range of community leaders she has met through the Community Voter Project, a voter outreach and registration initiative, have expressed public support for her as well.
Zak Newman ’13, campaign manager for Nayak’s campaign, said in an email Sunday night that the campaigns of the candidates who endorsed Eidelson have been “generally critical” of City Hall and Mayor John DeStefano Jr., adding that this stance is “old and unproductive.” He said the Elm City needs someone who is uninterested in continuing the “pro vs. anti-City Hall” status quo.
“Vinay has said from day one that he wants to be an independent voice on the board that is willing to work with every stakeholder to get things done for students and other residents,” Newman said in the email. “He’s met with several newly elected members of the board who are members of the coalition and has had productive and upbeat conversations with them, just like he’s shared ideas with typically establishment-backed officials.”
In the past, Nayak has said his work as a policy assistant for the Board of Aldermen’s community development committee has helped him make connections with members of the Board and other important community members, arguing that he understands the process of introducing new pieces of legislation better than Eidelson. He also has said these connections will give him an edge in developing policy as an alderman.
But Eidelson said her time working with community organizations has helped her to develop the relationships necessary to be an effective alderwoman.
“The fact of it is that I’ve spent a lot more time in New Haven and I’ve invested that time in having hundreds of conversations on the campus and in the city,” Eidelson said.
Eidelson and Nayak will face off in the Nov. 8 general election.