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Opinion

A Message from Justin Elicker

Board of AldersThe last two decades have seen tremendous change in the relationship between Yale and New Haven. Yale has contributed millions of dollars to rebuild downtown and support important community initiatives, like the Yale Homebuyers Program and New Haven Promise. New Haven’s leadership has increasingly viewed Yale as a potential partner, and not as an adversary.

But there is clearly more work to be done to promote a town-gown relationship that benefits both parties. When I am mayor, City Hall will work with President Peter Salovey to better unite Yale resources with the needs of the New Haven community and to attract Yalies and all entrepreneurs to New Haven after graduation. At the same time, my responsibility as mayor will be to ensure that the people of New Haven, particularly the most vulnerable, can benefit from Yale’s resources.

Through a more equitable transportation system and a strategic approach to tutoring, Yale and New Haven can partner to better serve the community. Our current downtown transit system is redundant, inefficient, and unjust. I will support CT Transit and Yale’s ongoing efforts to create an improved, unified public transit system that serves everyone. And with thousands of students at Yale and area universities, New Haven should do a better job of harnessing that resource to ensure that every child in the city has a tutor or mentor.

My administration will take significant steps to make it easier for residents, including Yale students, to start their own business here. Cities across the country are finding that they thrive when they attract young professionals interested in entrepreneurism. When I am mayor, we will make it easier for small businesses to start by reducing red tape and providing an easy small business online portal with city government. The city will also better connect Yale and New Haven incubator programs so that start-ups can thrive. Our city can benefit greatly by encouraging Yale students to settle here after graduation and contribute to our economy.

At the same time, I will not let Yale take steps that hurt the city. Earlier this year, the Board of Aldermen approved the sale of parts of High and Wall Streets to Yale, without guaranteeing the continued access of the public, for a fire-sale price. I opposed that plan, and will oppose any initiative by Yale, the hospital, or a company that is not respectful of New Haven’s residents and taxpayers.

And lastly, as a Yale student, you should know that I care deeply about your involvement in this city. During this campaign, while my opponent has largely avoided Yale, I have taken a number of opportunities to come to campus. That speaks to two truths. First, as mayor I will responsive to all New Haveners. I haven’t reached out just to Yalies, but have answered requests from everyone from individual citizens to our city’s largest organizations to meet, because I believe that all New Haveners deserve a seat with the mayor. And second, a good number of the policies that I have outlined here and as part of the 75 Days, 75 Solutions series depend upon engaging with Yale students.

You can work with native New Haveners to create a more prosperous and just city. You can stay in New Haven after graduation and start the next great tech start-up. If you elect me as mayor, I will help you do it.

Ward 10 Alder Justin Elicker (FES ’10 SOM ’10) is an Independent candidate for Mayor of New Haven.

 

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