The future of New Haven is at stake tomorrow, and you can have a say in what that future looks like. My name is Justin Elicker, and I’m asking for your vote in New Haven’s mayoral primary because this city needs a leader with a bold and progressive vision for every resident.
Whether you’ve lived in New Haven for three weeks or three years, you deserve a candidate who listens to your concerns and follows through with thoughtful policy solutions. Just like every other New Haven resident, you should be able to readily access your mayor – to that end, I consistently give out my cell phone number (203-500-2969) so that anyone can reach me.
No matter how much time you’ve spent here, you’ve probably learned that this city has a lot to offer. New Haven has fantastic neighborhoods, beautiful parks and delicious food. It is a great place to work, go to school and raise a family.
But under the current Harp administration, too many people are being left behind. Instead of having a mayor who is responsive to all of our residents, we have one who prioritizes donors and political allies above everyone else. Forty-one percent of all households in our city are housing insecure, New Haven is deeply in debt and we have a dysfunctional Board of Education.
The mayor’s office is inundated with countless scandals, frivolous lawsuits and reckless cases of fraud which continue to distract from the challenges and opportunities we have in this city. Instead of tackling problems head on, City Hall only shows up when an election is around the corner. Our city needs effective, honest management — and that starts with cleaning up City Hall.
The mayor also isn’t treating Yale University or its students as a resource to help effect change in this city. Many Yalies are looking to get involved in various organizations and groups around New Haven, and the mayor’s office could do much more to facilitate that. While Yale already does a lot for New Haven, it should also be doing more to address existing income disparities. Unfortunately, the current city leadership doesn’t have that as a goal and won’t pressure Yale to do its part. We need to fundamentally change that.
All this starts with thorough and equitable policies that include every resident of this city — regardless of race, gender or neighborhood. New Haven needs a robust, long-term financial plan to get this city on track. As mayor, I would commit to finding smart ways to reduce our spending and deliver services to every New Haven resident more efficiently. Our schools should support every child, from early childhood to graduation and beyond, and equip our teachers and administrators with the tools they need to succeed. We deserve a mayor who commits to providing high-quality, safe and actually affordable housing for the residents who need it most.
But none of this will happen unless we fight for it. Voting is always of the utmost importance, but this is especially true of local elections, where individuals wield enormous influence. The beauty of local politics is that your vote can truly help shape the future of the place in which you live; now is not the time to sit on the sidelines.
As Yale students, I know you see the beauty and opportunity of this city and suspect that you will fall in love with New Haven like I did. You are residents of the Elm City for at least four years — that comes with real responsibility.
As New Haven residents, Yalies must be invested in the success and prosperity of our city. Your time here may be limited, but the University’s impact on New Haven remains even after you leave. This election will determine the path of our city moving forward. It is an opportunity to build a New Haven where everyone can succeed; I hope this matters to you, too.
This can start with your vote. On Sept. 10, head over to the New Haven Public Library if you’re registered in Ward 1, or Wexler Grant School if you’re registered in Ward 22. The easiest way to get involved in New Haven is to commit to your civic duty, to show up and do your part.
I’m Justin Elicker, and I want you to have a say in our future — not just at the voting booths tomorrow, but for as long as you choose to be a resident of New Haven.
Justin Elicker graduated from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Sciences and Yale School of Management joint degree program in 2010. He is running for Mayor of New Haven. Contact him at email@example.com .