Amy Cheng

Facing an uphill battle, a local Republican candidate for one of the city’s 30 wards hosted a meet and greet over the weekend to bolster support for his candidacy.

Joshua Van Hoesen, one of just two Republican candidates in this year’s aldermanic elections, held a five-hour-long “meet the candidate” event for his Ward 18 aldermanic campaign Saturday. On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls to vote for either Van Hoesen or six-year incumbent Ward 18 Alder Salvatore DeCola. Mayoral candidate Marcus Paca also attended the event, which took place at 50 Morris Causeway, to meet members of the community.

“I wanted to let people know that I am out there and accessible and give them an outlet where they could meet me in person,” Van Hoesen said.

Van Hoesen added that he received a positive overall community response at the event, which he held to give Ward 18 community members a chance to meet him and air their concerns. The meet and greet had an intimate setting. Attendees, most of whom hailed from Ward 18, could sit down, eat marshmallows and discuss the issues they face as residents.

Paca said that he attended the event because he values competitive elections and thinks residents who step up for the betterment of communities should be commended. In general, he added, Elm City residents should be more encouraging of “new folks” getting involved in local politics, whatever their political affiliations or connections to the political establishment.

“Joshua is offering a new vision for our city’s East Shore neighborhood, and I thought it would be important, as a mayoral candidate, to hear his views,” Paca said.

The main issue facing Ward 18 voters is the possible expansion of Tweed-New Haven Airport in the neighborhood, Van Hoesen said, as many residents in Morris Cove do not want the resulting increase in air traffic on the runway. But Van Hoesen said that the expansion of the runway would increase the airport’s economic viability.

Another issue raised at the event was traffic control and speeding, as the bus-induced traffic on the highway often causes drivers to speed on side streets, which bothers residents, Van Hoesen said. Van Hoesen’s possible solution for the long-lasting speeding issues is to add more speed bumps to the neighborhood’s roads rather than bringing more enforcement to the area.

To gauge Ward 18 residents’ chief concerns, Van Hoesen began going door to door as soon as he decided to run for Ward 18 alder, he said.

The Ward 18 Republican candidate also wants to spread awareness about the city’s use of SeeClickFix, an app that solves quality-of-life issues, he said. He wants to improve the speed at which the city responds to the concerns the app raises by introducing a priority audit system, so that residents need not wait six to eight months to see these types of problems addressed.

Yale College Republicans President Ben Zollinger ’19 said that his organization has endorsed neither Van Hoesen nor Republican candidate John Carlson — who is running for the Ward 6 seat against 16-year incumbent Dolores Colón ’91 — because his organization is not involved in either campaign. Zollinger noted that the only aldermanic candidate the Yale College Republicans have endorsed is independent Haci Catalbasoglu ’19, who is running uncontested for Ward 1 alder, since he would “stand for strong conservative principles.”

Ward 18 voters are composed of residents of the area surrounding Morris Cove.

Christina Carrafiell |