As election day approaches, Elm City politicians are concentrating their efforts on rallying voters for the Democratic party, which heavily dominates the city’s politics.
Because New Haven is so firmly under Democratic control — the city has not elected a Republican Mayor for more than half a century, and none of the current 30 alders are Republicans — the city’s Democratic Town Committee plays a significant role in influencing its politics. In addition to the citywide committee, each ward has its own committee. This year, the Yalie co-chairs of the Ward 1 committee Eli Sabin ’22 and Julia Salseda ’19 look to help their fellow Democrats garner votes on Tuesday’s ticket.
“My role, specifically over the next week at least, is to help make sure that Ward 1 gets out to vote as much as possible to support our Democratic candidates up and down the ballot,” Sabin said. “This is an incredibly important election, and we need to make sure New Haven helps.”
Sabin, Salseda and their counterparts across the 30 wards each serve as members on the citywide committee and chair the committees for their respective wards. Co-chairs are involved in a variety of political activities and efforts, including increasing local political participation and getting people to vote in elections. Each ward is different, and the activity of the co-chairs varies, but in general, the committee structure serves to connect the Democratic Party with local voters.
Folllowing a discussion between the chair of the Elm City’s Democratic Town Committee, Vincent Mauro, and Ward 1 Alder Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19, Sabin was appointed to the position last week — joining Salseda, who has occupied her position since March. He fills a position that had remained vacant for several months: Salseda and Michelle Peng ’19 were elected to the committee in January and expected to begin their tenures as Ward 1 co-chairs in March. But in February, Peng stepped down, citing personal reasons.
Sabin grew up in East Rock and had been involved in local politics even before his Ward 1 appointment. As a high schooler in 2016, he knocked on doors for Democratic candidates. He also currently works for Roland Lemar, D-New Haven, who represents New Haven and West Haven in the Connecticut State House of Representatives. He told the News that his investment to and background in hometown politics led him to his new position.
Ward 1, the city’s only majority Yale district, continues its history of having representatives from Yale as its town committee members. In addition to the pair, one of the two co-chairs for Ward 22, which includes six of Yale’s 14 residential colleges, is also a Yale student, Lorna Chitty ’20.
Chitty took over the position from Gabrielle Diaz ’18 in March and works closely with the ward’s alder, Jeanette Morrison, as well as her fellow co-chair, Victoria Dancy, who is not affiliated with Yale.
Of the Yalies who have co-chaired ward committees in recent history, most have not originally hailed from the Elm City. Peng, Salseda and Chitty all grew up elsewhere.
In the run up to election day, New Haven’s co-chairs have been looking to maximize the city’s dependably Democratic vote. Sabin and Salseda have been working with Catalbasoglu and groups such as the Yale College Democrats to drum up voter interest.
The Yale College Democrats worked with four different campaigns this semester through initiatives such as phone-banking, student internships and canvassing on weekends.
Jordan Cozby, president of the Yale College Democrats, explained that the group has, “events going on nearly every day and will be working hard to get out the vote for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.”
Next week, Connecticut’s Democrats, who currently have precarious control of the state, will look to defend themselves against Republican challengers. The state’s current governor, the Democrat Dannel Malloy, is widely unpopular and not running for re-election, while Connecticut’s Senate is split evenly across party lines.
Angela Xiao | firstname.lastname@example.org .