I was born in New Haven. Having moved to D.C. at the age of 3, I was happy to return to my birthplace for college. Since coming back, I have dedicated myself to the Elm City, working with community members and Yale students to make it better.
I walked every street in Dixwell, mapping housing, lighting and crime issues. Every month, I canvass homes facing foreclosure across the city to direct them to free resources available through the ROOF Project. Those who have joined me have subjected themselves unwillingly to several hours of New Haven history and politics.
From my work in the community, it has become clear to me that Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10 is the best candidate for mayor of New Haven. He represents a new type of leader for the city, and is the only candidate who has focused on the issues that matter most. He supports sensible development to help grow our tax base, will implement innovative approaches to our biggest challenges, and create a more democratic, open and transparent city government.
New Haven’s tax rate is the second highest in the state, which keeps out small businesses and middle-class homeowners. Justin understands, however, that we cannot just cut programs that are crucial to residents of this city to lower our taxes. Instead, Justin wants to grow our tax base by promoting mixed-use and transit-oriented development both in downtown and along the major neighborhood corridors. He wants to make it easier and simpler for small businesses to start up in the city through a simpler zoning code and a better sign and awning ordinance.
On some of the biggest issues this city faces, Justin offers new and innovative solutions. He’ll support early childhood education for every child in New Haven, as well as promote character education to instill resilience and perseverance. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter endorsed such programs in his speech on campus earlier this week.
Justin supports tackling crime from every angle. The New Haven Police Department uses data to better police the so-called hotspots where crime accumulates. Justin wants every city department to tackle that hotspot from their own vantage point. The Livable City Initiative can make sure landlords comply with housing code, and the Economic Development Office can develop an empty house taken over by drug dealers. By addressing more than just instances of crime themselves, we can build a safer and healthier city.
The postmortems on John DeStefano Jr.’s administration all came to roughly the same conclusion: The last 20 years were a time of progressive change bounded by a series of corruption scandals. Justin’s rejection of cronyism is a breath of fresh air and sets him apart from his competitors.
Justin believes in participatory budgeting, which gives neighborhoods more control over local capital budget than City Hall. In his campaign, he has embraced public financing through the Democracy Fund, which promotes transparency and limits the size of donations. Many of his competitors have not only failed to take up the promise of clean elections, they have surrounded themselves with members of the old guard of pay-to-play politics. Sal Brancati, kicked out of City Hall for impropriety, is advising Matthew Nemerson’s campaign. Henry Fernandez’s LAW ’94 recent campaign launch was a “who’s who” of city contractors and members of the DeStefano machine.
Join me, a native of the Elm City, in supporting Justin Elicker for mayor. Residents of Justin’s ward are so impressed by his commitment to constituent service, they joke that if your light bulb goes out, just call Justin and he will fix it. From a fiscal crisis to education to corruption, Justin is ready to answer the city’s call and work to fix those problems, too.
Drew Morrison is a junior in Branford College. He is the leader of Yale for Elicker. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .