I would like to extend a big “Welcome back to New Haven!” to those of us who spent the summer outside the city, and an even bigger welcome to the freshmen, class of 2017, for your first, unforgettable semester at Yale College. I hope everybody is as excited as I am to close out shopping period next week and embark on another term here at Yale.

There are many exciting things going on in New Haven right now — this is a big year in city politics. As many of you know, there is an open seat in the mayor’s office for the first time in 20 years. I hope everyone will explore the mayoral candidates and take part in this historic election. In addition to choosing a new mayor on Nov. 5, you will also get to vote for a candidate even closer to home — your alderman.

My name is Paul Chandler, I am an economics major and senior in Pierson College, and I want to represent you, the community of Ward 1, on the New Haven Board of Aldermen.

I believe that working with the Board of Aldermen is the most direct way to make tangible, structural improvements to the city, to Yale and to the lives of the residents in all 30 wards. As a lifelong Connecticut resident, I was raised on Friday pizza nights in Wooster Square, I spent years running track in Hillhouse High School’s field house and I attended numerous field trips at the Peabody Museum — my mother was once even a Yale employee. I consider myself very fortunate for the opportunity to continue breathing New Haven air as a student at Yale College.

As one of the largest cities in Connecticut, New Haven needs to set an example in pursuing community engagement and responsibly providing services to residents. New Haven is unique in that the education and medical sectors are the foundations of the economy and the main employers for the city. For that reason, I believe it is our responsibility as students to engage the city Legislature directly. We are important members of a complex interchange between Yale and the city, and we deserve a representative on the Board of Aldermen who will be both an active presence and an accountable representative of Ward 1. As an independent member of the Yale community, with no obligation to the special interest groups that dominate our city’s politics, I believe I am that candidate.

Now, for the elephant in the room. I am a Republican candidate. For the most part, the word “conservative” evokes particular thoughts on federal social policy or divisive partisan issues. I have my own, very moderate, opinions on the federal government, but those are not the issues that will cross my desk as alderman. When you hit the polls on Election Day, I hope you will look at what we want to accomplish here in New Haven.

To reach its full potential, our city must adopt strategies that target the systemic causes of the issues facing New Haven. The pillars of my policy and interests are: investing in our communities, developing sustainable and responsible government, and educating New Haven students for the future. These basic ideas can be implemented through specific policy prescriptions that are tailored to the unique character and challenges of New Haven. I am passionate about education, budgetary responsibility and public safety. I believe that sensible reforms, which address the root of these issues, can be both manageable and effective.

I also recognize, however, that the solutions that I propose may address some, but not all of the issues that concern us as Yale students. That is why I will continue to reach out and engage fellow student groups as well as individuals to discuss the spectrum of ideas that we would like to bring before the city. I am on campus, walking to class every day with the other members of Ward 1. I welcome opportunities to discuss the issues that matter most to us, and I am always available to stop and chat throughout the day. You can usually find me trekking Science Hill most days of the week.

I want to be a strong advocate and independent voice for my constituents. This is why I am not accepting donations from special interest groups, trade unions or lobbyists. I will always strive to listen to you, the residents of Ward 1. It is with your support that I will be elected, it is your ideas that I will bring before the Board of Aldermen and it is with your help that we will build a better New Haven.

Paul Chandler is a senior in Pierson College. Contact him at paul.chandler@yale.edu .