Victor Hugo stated, “He who opens a school door closes a prison". Education is the greatest equalizer and the single best way to transform a life. Education also represents the “soul of a society” as it passes between generations. Therefore the commitment we give New Haven Public Schools is the truest representation of our collective values and ambitions as a city. We must adopt the singular goal of advancing student achievement.
All thriving urban cities aim to increase business and homeowner tax bases. However the most effective and equitable strategies incorporate job creation as an equally important goal of economic development. Appreciating the critical link between economic development and job creation, I will prioritize making New Haven a more livable city while ensuring that all residents can afford to live here.
Great neighborhoods are safe and supportive of residents’ needs and interests; great neighborhoods are the foundation of a strong city. I am committed to doing what it takes to create crime and drug free communities. I am committed to doing what it takes to create supportive systems to address social issues that plague our streets such as homelessness, lack of affordable housing and preventable illness and disease. I am committed to improving quality of life for all New Haveners.
Taxpayers in the City of New Haven have been overburdened for years. New Haven homeowners recently received real estate reassessments. For many, assessed property values and future tax bills significantly increased – in some cases more than 50 percent. Yet despite this sobering reality, as Mayor and former President of the Board of Education, Toni Harp has led both the City of New Haven and the New Haven Board of Education into multimillion-dollar deficits. Given the city’s current debt coupled with the State of Connecticut’s $1.5 billion deficit (Harp served as Co-Chair of the State Senate Appropriations Committee for 10 years), New Haven residents can no longer afford to accept irresponsible fiscal management.
As mayor I will make hard choices and practice responsible fiscal oversight. I will streamline city operations, making them more efficient and less costly. I will instruct city administrators to consistently operate as if there's a revenue shortfall by “cutting smartly” and “spending wisely”. My administration’s goal will be to reduce the cost of doing business in New Haven for individuals and businesses by lowering permit, license and vendor fees.
The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision (Reverend Theodore Hesburgh). In 2016 the City of New Haven was simultaneously without a police chief, a fire chief and a superintendent of schools for the first time in the city’s history. Such a consistent level of turmoil across major departments does not occur by coincidence. Though the underlying problems may be different, the common thread across all city departments is a lack of vision and leadership from Mayor Harp in City Hall.
I have a clear, future-focused vision for New Haven as well as specific, actionable strategies to address the city’s current challenges.
As mayor I will transform City Hall’s approach to governing from reactive (putting out fires) to proactive (growing, building, designing and investing). I will practice the “principles of transparency and ethics in public service” that President Obama spoke of in his Farewell Address to the country. I will prioritize fiscal responsibility; developing and promoting local talent; reestablishing strong partnerships with the employees who keep New Haven running; and getting results from our local, state and federal government partners.