On Thursday night, Yalies connected with politicians who represent them on the Board of Alders — Ward 22 Alder Jeanette Morrison and Ward 7 Alder-elect Abigail Roth ’90 LAW ’94 — at a Timothy Dwight College Tea.
Ward 22 encompasses Silliman, Timothy Dwight, Pauli Murray, Benjamin Franklin, Morse and Stiles colleges, while Rosenfeld Hall, the overflow space for TD students, is inside Ward 7. Both Morrison and Roth ran uncontested campaigns during the 2017 election and will serve from 2018 to 2019. At the tea, the alders spoke about the importance of getting involved in New Haven and answered questions about the budget, environmental policies and the Dixwell Q House project.
“Every community has its bad places and every community has its good places,” Morrison said during the tea. “New Haven has more good than bad.”
Morrison, who was just elected for her fourth two-year aldermanic term, discussed the importance of making little changes that have a “large impact.” As alder, she said, she helped secure free parking for City Hall and the public library — giving residents the opportunity to attend public hearings and go to the library without worrying about parking costs.
However, she said, she has not ignored the bigger problems. According to Ward 22 Democratic Co-chair Gabrielle Diaz ’18, Morrison was instrumental in securing more than 14 million dollars to reopen the Dixwell Q House — a former private community center that closed in 2003 due to lack of funding.
“I am a big voice for New Haven because I love New Haven,” Morrison said.
In contrast to Morrison, Roth is a newer alder. Although she served on the board from 2014 to 2015 after a special election, her first full term as alder will begin in 2018.
Roth noted the importance of being “responsive” to constituents — something she says is one of the main roles of being an alder.
“Donald Trump is the result of people losing faith in government,” she said.
Roth told the News she is interested in getting involved in the City Services and Environmental Policy Committee and the Finance Committee, explaining that the former committee deals with the “meat and potatoes of the city,” while the finance committee is more “detail oriented,” which appeals to her as a former lawyer.
The state and city budgets — major topics of conversation this year — also came up during the tea.
“Unfortunately, our city relies 51 percent of our entire budget from the state,” said Morrison, a member of the Finance Committee. “So when the state says they’re going to cut you that really, really hurts.”
Roth noted that, although the city’s budget is over $500 million, the fixed costs make its operational budget very small.
Asked about the relationship between New Haven and Yale, both alders agreed that it remains a “complex issue.”
Morrison noted that she sympathizes with community interests but also asserted that she does not forget about Yale students. Because Roth works for Yale, she told the crowd at the tea, she will recuse herself from voting on any issue that directly affects Yale.
Timothy Dwight New Haven Outreach aides Nick Zevallos ’19, Dale Maclean ’20 and Nikita Raheja ’20 were heavily involved in organizing the event.
Zevallos told the News that the event was a great chance for students to engage with New Haven.
“Given that TD is right next to a lot of New Haven communities, this would be a great opportunity for students to get to meet their reps,” Zevallos said.
Yale undergraduates who live on campus are represented by Ward 1, Ward 7 and Ward 22.
Ashna Gupta | firstname.lastname@example.org