The November elections may still be eight months away, but Fish Stark ’17 officially launched his campaign for Ward 1 alder at an event in Dwight Hall yesterday.
Stark declared his candidacy before spring break and is currently the only candidate in the race. The kickoff event for Stark’s campaign featured an array of speakers from the Yale and New Haven communities alike. Roughly 50 people attended the event, a mixture of those formally involved in Stark’s campaign as canvassers or organizers and interested Yale students.
Before the event, the specifics of Stark’s candidacy remained uncertain. But in his speech, he offered details regarding his goals and initiatives as Ward 1 alder, calling for Yale students to become more involved with the city surrounding them. Stark added that the Ward 1 alder should “create a culture of positive citizenship on campus.”
“Our city doesn’t benefit when we sit on the sidelines and shut ourselves inside an ivory tower,” Stark said.
Instead, he called for a Ward 1 alder who can spur Yale students to action in the New Haven community, emphasizing the need for an alder who knocks on doors, engages in face-to-face discussions with constituents and maintains an “active” presence on campus.
In his speech, Stark presented outlines of policy proposals for his campaign. He called for the institution of restorative justice programming in New Haven public schools, the establishment of early-childhood literacy programs, the expansion of the Democracy Fund to cover aldermanic races and the divestment of municipal funds from fossil fuels.
Stark also used his speech as an opportunity to discuss his involvement with the city. Inspired by a question in a 2013 mayoral debate, Stark named his three favorite streets in the city – Grand Avenue in Fair Haven, where he canvassed for mayoral candidate Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10 in 2013; Howe Street, which he traversed on his way to his job at Squash Haven last summer; and Orange Street, where he knocked on doors with members of the Yale College Democrats in support of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s re-election campaign last fall.
“We want this campaign to be about having conversations — sharing with one another why we love New Haven, challenging one another to meet our responsibilities to New Haven, educating one another about the things that are happening in the Elm City,” Stark said.
Other speakers praised Stark for his involvement in the city. Lily Sawyer-Kaplan ’17, a New Haven native who has been involved with Stark’s campaign, said that Stark wasted no time in becoming an active citizen.
“From the moment that he arrived on this campus, he connected himself immediately with the New Haven community,” Sawyer-Kaplan said, praising Stark for his “passion, spirit and experience.”
Dasia Moore ’18 echoed those sentiments. She said that, in his capacity as membership coordinator for the Dems last semester, Stark worked to promote enthusiasm about civic involvement.
Julie Greenwood — the director of Squash Haven, an organization with which Stark worked as a summer teaching fellow last summer — also spoke at the event. She identified Stark’s affection for New Haven, belief in the potential for positive change and reliability as among his strongest characteristics.
Elicker, the mayoral candidate Stark canvassed for in 2013, was present at the event.