A hundred Elm City residents turned out Thursday night at Ernie’s Pizzeria in Amity to support Ward 26 Alder Darryl Brackeen Jr. at his campaign kickoff and fundraiser.
Mayor Toni Harp, Ward 27 Alder Richard Furlow, and Ward 20 Alder Delphine Clyburn joined Elm City voters at the restaurant. Harp and Furlow spoke at the event, and Furlow read a statement from Ward 25 Alder Adam Marchand GRD ’99 endorsing Brackeen, who is currently serving his second aldermanic term. After these remarks, Brackeen spoke at length about the work he has done over his past term and his hopes for the future of the ward and the city.
“Many of you in this room have, literally, seen me grow up here, and many of you all have had a hand in that” said Brackeen, who was raised in New Haven. “I said in the summer of 2010 that this would be a return on your investment.”
Ben Klein, who is the treasurer for Brackeen’s campaign, said 120 residents attended the event, but that it was not yet clear how much money was raised.
Shortly before his supporters rolled in, Brackeen told the News that he would work hard to advocate on behalf of New Haven in state budget discussions. Brackeen explained that he has spent much of the past two weeks in Hartford talking with state congressmen about New Haven’s financial needs. Harp said she looked forward to continuing to work with the alder on this issue, also praising Brackeen for his work advocating for environmental protection.
Brackeen was instrumental in reconfiguring the city’s environmental advisory committee and working with that committee to bring a pledge before the mayor to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 2001 levels by 2050, according to Harp. Harp signed this pledge last month.
The mayor added that she fully supported Brackeen and if he faced strong competition, would help fund his campaign from her own pocket or with money from a PAC called SEE 2 2020 that was recently created on her behalf.
Brackeen said he was prepared for a contested election. If this occurs, a primary vote will take place in September and a general vote in November, according to Brackeen. But Furlow said he doubted anyone would run against Brackeen.
“The community is behind him, and he’s an exceptionally good alder,” Furlow said.
Brackeen said he was proud of his efforts to connect with his constituents and that community engagement would continue to be a top priority for him if re-elected.
He cited a survey he created for members of his ward last September asking for input on neighborhood issues they would like to see addressed, to which more than 100 people responded. One of the main concerns constituents highlighted was road and traffic conditions in the ward, and Brackeen said that in response he ensured that many potholes in the neighborhood were filled. He also said he invited city officials to inspect roads in the ward on several occasions.
Many of Brackeen’s constituents present at the event also praised the alder for his strong presence in the community. Mia Duff, who has lived in Ward 26 for about 20 years, said Brackeen created a survey during the winter on which residents could sign up to volunteer to shovel the driveways of their elderly neighbors.
Corey Evans, who has lived in Ward 26 his whole life, said residents have grown closer and become better informed about the city during Brackeen’s three years in office.
“People have a better sense of what’s going on in the neighborhood,” Evans said. “[Brackeen] is easy to get in touch with, and he’s out in the community a lot.”