Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19, running unopposed in the upcoming November aldermanic election, is forging on with his campaign effort in the hopes of encouraging as many Ward 1 voters as possible to participate in the general election and local political discourse.
Catalbasoglu announced his bid for the Ward 1 alder seat back in April and has since held campaign events to promote his candidacy, such as a launch party at his family’s business Brick Oven Pizza. Registered as an independent, he said that his platform rests on principles of inclusivity and that he welcomes input from “all walks of life on campus.”
Catalbasoglu added that his campaign team has been planning field events since the beginning of the Yale academic year and will start to host campuswide sessions as early as this Thursday, with a first-year meet and greet on Cross Campus.
“Haci’s strategy is regardless of whether or not he has an opponent on the ballot, his campaign has always been more than just an opportunity to beat an opponent,” Catalbasoglu’s campaign manager Ben Mallet ’18 said. “It is to invest in building a relationship in New Haven to engage Yale students, and to care about that relationship.”
According to campaign treasurer Makayla Haussler ’19, contacting student groups is also a priority on their agenda because connecting these campus organizations with city resources constitutes a considerable part of the Ward 1 alder’s job description. She added that the campaign also wants to get Yalies excited about town-gown issues and drive home the importance of voting.
Catalbasoglu’s campaign currently has around 30 staff members who come from a wide range of political backgrounds, Mallet said, adding that regardless of their specialties, all staff and volunteers will be involved in field activities.
Haussler said the greatest strength of the campaign leadership is its bipartisan nature. Individuals from different campus political and cultural groups, such as the Yale College Democrats and the Yale Conservative Party, are contributing to various campaign efforts, ranging from knocking on doors to distributing flyers.
Because this year’s race is uncontested, Catalbasoglu said it is natural to have a lower voter turnout. But he is hopeful that by the end of the election cycle, his campaign’s canvassing efforts will still attract a sizable voting population.
“Every vote is a testament to Yale students wanting to be involved in the city,” he said.
Mallet said as the campaign progresses closer to Election Day on Nov. 7, it will have a better idea of projected voter turnout and how to best direct get-out-the-vote initiatives.
A New Haven native, Catalbasoglu has said he places great emphasis on bolstering the link between the Yale and New Haven communities. He has proposed the establishment of a Yale-New Haven committee composed of Yale students and faculty members as well as New Haven residents. The committee, Catalbasoglu noted, will be created independent of his campaign structure.
Catalbasoglu endorsed Mayor Toni Harp for the Democratic nomination for the upcoming mayoral election.
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