Black women share pride in Harp’s election as New Haven mayor

harp_women.jpegNEW HAVEN >> Vera Esdaile, Nicole Murphy and Doris Dumas said they believe mayor-elect Toni Harp’s victory was a momentous one for woman in the city.

And they are proud that she is black.

“I believe for all women it was awesome to have elected the first female mayor of this city and she is African American,” said Vera Esdaile, 48, a state social worker.

“I felt proud in that moment and proud to be a part of her historic campaign,” she said. « Read the article »

Mayor-Elect Won’t Match DeStefano’s 2 Decades

toni_harp_in_office-260x196.jpgToni Harp won’t seek to serve as New Haven’s mayor for anywhere near 20 years. And she heard the message from Justin Elicker’s voters.

Harp offered those remarks in an interview in her Whalley Avenue headquarters Wednesday, a day after winning election as New Haven’s next mayor and the city’s first-ever female chief executive.

She broke into a laugh when asked if she hopes to match outgoing Mayor John DeStefano’s record 10 two-year terms in office. « Read the article »

Up close and personal with New Haven’s new leader

Peter Hvizdak — New Haven Register

harp_leader.jpegNEW HAVEN >> Mayor-elect Toni Harp says she has learned that unlike other elected offices, residents really want to know their mayor deeply.

Harp, who has been a state senator for 21 years, said the whole time she has been representing constituents in Hartford, they were interested in policy, but not so much the details of her background.

“In this day and age, anybody who believes in the ability to sort of keep things from others is living in a fiction,” said Harp, the day after she won the mayoral race with 54.6 percent of the vote to Justin Elicker’s 45.3 percent.

The official tally put the turnout in the hard fought race, that went on for nine months, at 41 percent of the city’s voters. « Read the article »

Toni Harp winner in New Haven mayoral race

election_night.pngNEW HAVEN >> Toni Nathaniel Harp will be New Haven’s first female mayor having beat Justin Elicker in a tough race that pitted the Democratic leadership against new voices looking to influence the direction of the city after 20 years under John DeStefano Jr.

Harp, a state senator for more than two decades, won Tuesday by a margin of less than 6 percent after labor, her longtime constituents in the 10th senatorial district and the Democratic machine coalesced to get voters to the polls across the city.

« Read the article »


For Many Black Women, Harp’s Win Is Theirs, Too

“Auntie Doris” remembers when her mother was barred from even voting. Tuesday she led young students on a civics lesson at the polls to watch her not only cast her ballot—but do so for the city’s first black female mayor.

Doris E. Blackmon led the lesson Tuesday, as voters elected Toni Harp as the first female, and first African-American female, mayor of New Haven.

For many African-American women like Blackmon, the day held particular poignancy. They saw their own dreams realized, saw another barrier broken in history’s uneven, gradual march of progress. « Read the article »

Toni Harp Elected Mayor

For the first time in New Haven’s 375-year history, “Hizzoner” is about to become “Her Honor.”

That’s because voters Tuesday elected Toni Harp as their next mayor—the first woman ever to win the job.

Harp will usher in a new era when she takes office on Jan. 1, ending Mayor John DeStefano’s two-decade tenure as the city’s chief elected officer and primary civic agenda-setter.

With all the machine votes tallied by the Independent, Harp beat back a strong challenge by petitioning candidate Justin Elicker by 10,602 to 8,865 votes. Harp took in 54.46 percent of the vote to Elicker’s 45.54 percent. Absentee ballots remain to be counted; Harp is expected to increase her margin once those are counted by around midnight.

« Read the Article »



New Haven Register Editorial: The end of an election season Greater New Haven won’t soon forget

As voters go to the polls today across Greater New Haven, vastly different story lines are playing out in different municipalities.

In New Haven, the incumbent mayor isn’t on the ballot for the first time in 20 years.

Register recommends Harp « Read the Editorial »

Candidates’ Ideas Could Transform New Haven

Second of 2 parts about mayoral campaign issues from the New Haven Independent.

We interrupt the regularly scheduled campaign mud-slinging and character assassination for a public-service bulletin: The candidates for mayor in Tuesday’s election have a whole bunch of detailed suggestions for how to make schools work better, buses run more often, food-related small businesses get started, and City Hall operate smarter.

And if history is any guide, some of those ideas may actually come to fruition, no matter who wins Tuesday’s mayoral general election contest between Democrat Toni Harp and independent Justin Elicker.

Elicker and Harp have debated dozens and dozens of issues in public forums (as well as articles such as this, this, this, this, and this). They’ve also put extensive position statements on their websites.

« Read the article »

Mayoral Candidates Spar in Final Debate (VIDEO from the New Haven Register) 

HARP: A New New Haven
BY TONI HARP, GUEST COLUMNIST, Sunday, November 3, 2013

New Haven and Yale stand on the edge of an exciting new chapter in their shared existence. Although severe economic pressures on our great city have burdened us the past few years, we have an historic opportunity this year choose collaborative, consensus-oriented leadership that will leverage our advantages and transform this shared place that we call home.

Throughout this year’s mayoral campaign, I’ve articulated a vision for New Haven that capitalizes on our strengths and positions us for resurgent growth. It relies on three principles: making our streets safer, improving our kids’ education, and creating good-paying jobs.

 « Read Toni's column in the Yale Daily News »

Who Has Cleaner Hands 

debate_photo-550x310.pngSunday morning  lively campaign debate was televised live on WTNH. Harp, a Democrat, and Elicker, a petitioning candidate, square off Tuesday in a mayoral election to decide the successor to retiring 20-year-incumbent John DeStefano.

« Read the article »

"I’ve known Justin a long time, I’ve supported Justin a long time...But this isn’t about relationships. This is about electing the strongest leader [or New Haven]." -- Roland Lemar, former Alderman from East Rock

The St. Lukes Parish hall was rockin' last night as some of the top elected officials in the state joined local leaders and New Haven supporters for a energizing "Get Out the Vote" rally.
Gov. Malloy, Sen. Blumenthal, Sen. Murphy, Rep. DeLauro, state Sen. Looney all charged up the crowd. The evening also featured performances by Doug Bethea's nationally-acclaimed National Drill team
Now it's time for all New Haveners to do their part and head to the polls Tuesday.
There is one more debate. It's LIVE tomorrow morning (Sunday) on News 8(WTNH-TV Channel 8) from 8 a.m. - 9: a.m. Tune in if you can (and don't forget to set your clocks back tonight). Volunteer for Election day by going here!

Get Out the Vote Rally!

The sights and sounds of the big “Get Out the Vote” rally at St. Luke’s Parish hall Friday night are still lingering in our minds as we get ready for the final debate Sunday morning. Then, it’s on to the polls!
Toni Harp wows the crowd at St. Luke’s    gotv2.jpg

“Governor Dannel Malloy said the star-studded lineup Friday ‘tells you how important in our minds New Haven is.’ The city has the largest bloc of Democratic voters in the state.” – New Haven Independent

“Blumenthal credited Harp’s ‘lifetime of experience,” including over 20 years as a state senator. Murphy called her a champion of the disenfranchised at the state Capitol, and implored the crowd to ‘work your butts off’ for Harp on Election Day. DeLauro called her ‘the conscience of the senate.’”—New Haven Independent

The national award-wining National Drill Team of New Haven performed to the delight of the crowd.

Final Pitches Stress Insider vs. Outsider Politics

harp-550x399.jpgToni Harp rolled out Connecticut’s top Democratic politicians to pump up her base. Justin Elicker dispatched his supporters to recruit voters who are “sick of” the old politics.

Harp and Elicker, who are running for mayor in Tuesday’s election, sent those messages in simultaneous final get-out-the-vote pitches Friday evening.

« Read the article »

It Is Easy Being Green, After All

harp_green.jpgStanding before the backdrop of a fuel-cell-powered downtown tower, mayoral candidate Toni Harp vowed to continue the city’s emerging green transportation agenda—and vowed to make Long Wharf the next frontier.

Democrat Harp, who’s running for mayor against petitioning candidate Justin Elicker in Tuesday’s general election, made the remarks at a press conference at 360 State, downtown’s new green apartment tower.

« Read the article »

Firewomen Arrive On Scene To Help Harp Blast Through Ceiling


Toni Harp stood Wednesday with black female 9/11 responders who broke the glass ceiling—and vowed to break her own glass ceiling next week.

Harp (pictured holding New Haven firefighter Erika Bogan’s helmet), the Democratic candidate for mayor, made the remarks at a press conference at the Elks Lodge on Webster Street, where she received an endorsement from the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF).

(Melissa Bailey Photo)

« Read the article-New Haven Independent » « Read the article-New Haven Register »

Harp pledges to break glass ceiling

henryehrenberg-toniharp-2-630x420.jpgOn Wednesday Toni Harp ARC ’78 hitched her campaign for the mayor’s office to ideals of gender equality, promising to shatter the glass ceiling that has kept women from traditionally male-dominated jobs — including the Elm City’s top post.

While accepting the endorsement of a regional chapter of an international firefighters’ association, Harp praised the group’s female members who came to town from across the Northeast to back the candidate. Harp said female firefighters — in New Haven, New York City and around the region — embody ideals of courage and competence that transcend gender differences.

« Read the article in the Yale Daily News »

New Haven mayoral candidate Toni Harp remains ahead in campaign fundraising

NEW HAVEN >> Mayoral candidate Toni Harp continues to raise more money than her opponent, Justin Elicker, but he has more funds on hand as the pair head to the Nov. 5 general election.

Harp refilled her coffers, which were close to empty at the beginning of the month, with $92,465 in contributions from individuals and another $12,120 in mainly labor political action committees, for a total of $503,496 raised over the course of her campaign, with $8,324 on hand by Oct. 27.

« Read the article in the New Haven Register » « Read the article in the New Haven Independent »

« Read the article in Yale Daily News »

Candidates discuss Yale’s involvement in city

With the aldermanic and mayoral elections exactly a week away, candidates are expressing their views on a new era of Yale-New Haven relations.

Yale recently inaugurated a new president with fresh ideas on reinvigorating Yale-New Haven relations, and, for the first time in 20 years, the city will be led by a new mayor and a new president. Both mayoral candidates — Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10 and Toni Harp ARC ’78 — agree that current town-gown relations are more positive than in years past, in part because of Mayor John DeStefano Jr’s efforts. But the two candidates have different ideas on how they will build on the mayor’s legacy to further the city’s interactions with the University.

« Read the articles here and here »

A Message from Toni Harp 

State Senator and mayoral hopeful Toni Harp discusses her vision for town-gown relations.
By Toni Harp

With the inauguration of a new president and mayor, Yale and New Haven are poised to embark on an exciting chapter. To capitalize on this opportunity, each must see the value in expanding their partnership.

When I came to New Haven to study urban planning and architecture years ago, I was struck by how interwoven Yale was into the city’s fabric. Not only does Yale serve as the city’s single largest taxpayer and employer, but it is also its economic magnet, drawing visitors from around the world to enjoy its cultural heritage, recreational amenities, lively multiethnic neighborhoods, and tremendous quality of life.

« Read the article in its entirety at The Politic, The Yale Undergraduate Journal of Politics »

New Haven Register Endorses Toni for Mayor

New Haven voters will go to the polls Nov. 5 to choose between two impressive but imperfect candidates for mayor.

Both state Sen. Toni Harp, the Democratic nominee, and East Rock Alderman Justin Elicker, a Democrat running as an independent, are smart, able people who are qualified to succeed John DeStefano Jr., who is stepping down after 10 terms.

Both have served the city well: Harp in the state legislature for more than two decades, and Elicker as a two-term alderman.

Where they differ, though, is in the number of quality relationships they’ve built that have the potential to help them run the city. With overwhelming support from the city’s Board of Aldermen and unions, and with close ties to the Malloy administration and the General Assembly, Harp has a coalition of support that would greatly enhance her ability to lead the city.

With those relationships in mind, we recommend that voters choose Toni Harp when they go to the polls next week.

« Read more »


Campaign introduces mobile application developed by Yale freshman; Harp plans a ‘New Haven app’

« Find out more and download app »


Assertion that taxes wouldn’t be necessary refuted

NEW HAVEN—In the portion of Tuesday night’s mayoral debate in which the candidates asked questions of one another, Democrat Toni Harp asked petitioner Justin Elicker how he would go about getting the state to approve various tax increases he is proposing. Elicker couldn’t answer. “That was very telling,” said Harp. “It's irresponsible for Justin to base his campaign platform on promises to get money from the state if he doesn't even know how—let alone if—he'll get it.”

« Read more »

If You Missed this Week's Debate... you can catch it on public-access Citizens Television. The show will air on Channel 96 at 4 p.m. on Oct. 29, and 31; and on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.

Harp: Guys Can’t All Have Their Own Trucks

qclub.jpgThe two mayoral candidates came out Thursday in favor of shared fire services for the East Shore and East Haven, but they had the trucks running in opposite directions.

Toni Harp and Justin Elicker made the remarks in back-to-back appearances before a mostly male, button-down crowd at the Quinnipiack Club on Church Street Thursday morning.

Both called for sharing fire services with nearby towns in order to be more efficient and save money.

Harp called for a more “rational system” for putting out fires.

« Read the article  in the New Haven Independent »

« Read the article in the New Haven Register »

Blumenthal Endorses Harp as They Talk Transportation VIDEO

unionstation.jpgPoliticians converged on Union Station and endorsed Toni Harp’s one-hour-to-New York express train. A Metro-North spokeswoman dismissed the idea as “not possible.”

In a press event Wednesday at Union Station, U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal stood behind a proposal by Democratic mayoral candidate Harp calling on Metro-North Railroad to implement a one-hour express train from New Haven to New York.

Current trains to New York take between 104 and 129 minutes. Harp said the trip could be accomplished in one hour by simply skipping stops on the way to New York.

« Full article at New Haven Independent »

Harp, Elicker Pitch Business Leaders

Less than two weeks before they face off in an election, mayoral candidates Justin Elicker and Toni Harp are making a final pitch to business leaders Thursday.

Elicker, an East Rock alderman, and Harp, a state senator, are set to make two separate appearances Thursday morning at the Quinnipiack Club at 221 Church St. before the Regional Leadership Council, a group of the leaders of the largest employers in the greater New Haven area.

Democrat Harp faces petitioning candidate Elicker at the polls on Nov. 5.

« Read the Blog from the New Haven Independent »

 Candidates Clash On “Experience


In a fast-paced final public debate before a standing-room-only crowd, New Haven’s two mayoral candidates squared off on who knows how to get things done.

The debate, between candidates Toni Harp and Justin Elicker, began at Gateway Community College’s downtown campus Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. It was the last public debate before the Nov. 5 election.

« Read the article in the New Haven Independent »

« Read the article in the New Haven Register »  and «Yale Daily News »

New Haven mayoral candidate Toni Harp donates to diaper bank

diaper_bank.jpegNew Haven >> Toni Harp’s mayoral campaign took the New Haven Diaper Bank’s motto of “change from the bottom up” and tapped some of her own grass-roots support to make a donation to the organization Tuesday.

Harp, a state senator for 21 years, previously got a line item put into the state budget for a total of $300,000 to the organization over two years starting in 2007.

« Read the article in the New Haven Register » 

 At Diaper Bank, Harp Promises Change From Bottom Up

Democratic mayoral candidate Toni Harp highlighted her leadership in addressing what she termed an important “public health issue”: keeping households stocked with diapers.

« Read the article in the New Haven Independent »

Mayoral candidates race against finish line

Harp set out on Sunday to do a bit of homework of her own, reaching out to members of the non-profit youth services and business advocacy organization Women of Color, Inc., to learn about resources for the city’s youth from the perspective of service providers.

Harp said that restoring funding for community spaces — many of which have been dismantled over the past 40 years — depends on heightened political consciousness among a coalition of minority groups within the city.

« Read the article »

 Anchors Away For Toni Harp

harp_developers.jpgA storied downtown watering hole drew a new breed of New Haven real estate mavens to dish out donations for Toni Harp’s mayoral campaign.Harp (pictured), the Democratic nominee for mayor, is running against petitioning candidate Justin Elicker in the Nov. 5 general election. She showed up Thursday to Anchor Restaurant at 272 College St. to meet some new faces and take in donations.

The event was hosted by real estate developer Yochi Levitansky (at right in photo), who is rebuilding a neglected but historic building in Newhallville, and Ron Hurt, a Hill neighborhood pastor who also works in real estate. The campaign raised $5,000, according to Harp campaign manager Jason Bartlett.

« Read the article in the New Haven Independent »

Harp says New Haven needs to rethink policies concerning youths

NEW HAVEN >> Mayoral candidate Toni Harp feels some of the city’s own policies contribute to the number of shootings in the city.
toni_youth_policies.jpegHarp, a longtime state senator, spoke to the New Haven Register editorial board Thursday. She said she has been told that some students at Riverside Academy, one of the city’s transitional high schools, only attend that facility from 7:40 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

The school system’s website said the hours are 8 a.m. to 2:05 p.m., but Harp said her information comes from state Rep. Toni Walker — an administrator for the city’s adult education program — who has watched the students leave the nearby Riverside Academy before noon.

 « Read the article »

Harp Hailed for Helping to Secure $750 Grant to Tackle Youth Violence

youth_grant.jpgSen. Harp appeared with a number of officials for the awarding of a grant for youth violence prevention in our schools. Mayor John DeSefano, Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney and Schools Superintendent Garth Harries were among those crediting Toni for making the funds available as co-chair of the appropriations committee with co-chair state Rep. Toni Walker.

« Read the full article in the New Haven Independent »

« Read the article in the New Haven Register »

« Toni Harp talks about the Youth Violence Program in this video »

 On Trail, Harp Helps Feed The Hungry

After losing a grandson to a gunshot and her home to foreclosure, Carolyn Banks found herself collecting a free bag of apples—along with a Toni Harp mayoral campaign sticker.

Banks (pictured) for the first time joined hundreds of people lining up for a monthly free-food giveaway in the Hill neighborhood Tuesday morning.


Harp, the Democratic mayoral candidate for mayoral, spent the morning handing out hundreds of bags of apples to the people lined up in the parking lot of Pentecostal Church of Salvation at Columbus Avenue and Arch Street. She used the occasion to highlight the growing problem of hunger in New Haven as well as to discuss how she’d tackle the issue as mayor.

« Read the article at the New Haven Independent »

Harp Receives Honor

Reprinted from Yale Daily News  | October 15, 2013 | By Isaac Stanley-Becker

Mayoral candidate and Connecticut State Sen. Toni Harp ARC ’78 traveled to New York on Monday to receive a leadership award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs.

She was honored with the International Excellence Leadership Award at a luncheon, where she addressed attendees on the topic of gender equality in healthcare.

The Association praised Harp for her tenure as a state senator, describing in a press statement her “exemplary service as a leader.”

Over the years, Harp has spoken numerous times before the Connecticut chapter of the Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs. She said in a Monday press release that she is glad to be honored by the Association, which she said is dedicated to the advancement of African-American women.

“The many women I’ve met through this organization are inspirational success stories both for all they have accomplished and as importantly, for all the knowledge, advice, and wisdom they pass along to young women as role models and mentors,” Harp said. “I’m honored to be singled out by this group for this award.”

Harp is three weeks away from a general election showdown for mayor of New Haven with Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10.

 Bitsie Clark Pivots To Harp


In the quest for former Henry Fernandez supporters, Democratic mayoral candidate Toni Harp has snagged the voice of the Audubon Arts District: Frances “Bitsie” Clark.

Clark invited about 20 people she knows from her various spheres of influence (political, cultural, senior) to her Audubon Court condo Tuesday evening for an in-person taste of her homemade chicken-liver mousse (from Julia Child’s Mastering The Art Of French Cooking) and of her choice for mayor.

« Read the article » 

Tennis Tournament Staying in New Haven (Harp's Key Role)

State Sen. Toni Harp, who’s running for mayor in New Haven, took credit for paving the way for the deal—by previously pushing legislation that allows the CRDA to be involved in statewide events, not just those in Hartford.

“It was the New Haven tennis tournament that I had in mind when we expanded the authority’s reach,” a campaign press release quoted Harp as saying. “The tournament is great for the economy of New Haven and the entire region. We had to do what we could to keep it. Fortunately, the forethought to allow CRDA to become involved in New Haven is paying off.”

« Read the article »

Toni Harp to address Connecticut Black Expo Crowd in New Haven October 26

NEW HAVEN >> Whether you’re a new business owner, veteran business owner or someone looking to learn the ropes of starting a business, the Connecticut Black Expo has something for you.

The day-long event for minority business owners to network returns Oct. 26 after a four year hiatus. Leaders of the expo faced difficulties finding a venue as the New Haven Armory closed and the Veterans Memorial Coliseum was demolished. This year’s expo will be held at the Floyd Little Athletic Center with all proceeds from the event going to foot the bill for operating costs.

« Read the article »

Harp Calls for Better Communications During Storms


New Haven >> Wielding a “multi-tool” next to a table laden with survival gear, Toni Harp spoke about what people can do to prepare for storms—and what the city can do to help them.

Mayoral candidate Harp (pictured) made those statements at a campaign event Wednesday afternoon at the East Shore senior center on Townsend Avenue.

She laid out a number of “storm preparedness improvements” during her visit to a neighborhood that’s been hardest hit by recent extreme weather, including storms Irene and Sandy, and last winter’s record snowfall.

« Read the article at the New Haven Independent»

New Haven mayoral candidate Toni Harp calls for better communication during weather emergencies

harp_srorm.jpgNEW HAVEN >> Mayoral candidate Toni Harp visited the East Shore Senior Center to give them tips on preparing for weather emergencies and suggested upgrades she wants to see in the city to improve communication to keep people informed.

Harp said events like Superstorm Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene wreaked havoc in the state, particularly in low-lying areas and near the harbor here.

She said seniors are the most vulnerable population and she wants to lower the stress and anxiety associated with these events by helping residents prepare for them.

“Communication is the key,” Harp told the group of mostly elderly women.

« Read the article at the New Haven Register »

Orangeside Serves Up 2 Endorsements—Sergio Rodriguez Endorses Toni Harp

harp_and_rodriguez-550x310.pngSmall-business issues were on the menu during lunch hour at Orangeside Luncheonette Friday, as two notable figures threw their support to the mayoral campaign of Democrat Toni Harp.

One of the endorsers was Sergio Rodriguez, who ran a spirited grassroots campaign for city/town clerk in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary, barely losing to Harp running mate Michael Smart.

The other endorser was Tony Poleshek, Jr., owner of the popular Temple Street restaurant and the man behind New Haven’s most distinctive doughnut.

« Read the article »



« Read the Policy »

Mayoral candidate Toni Harp’s economic plan targets transportation, jobs

New Haven Register | October 2, 2013

eco_harp.jpegNew Haven >> Mayoral candidate Toni Harp sees long awaited transportation projects advancing in the near term, from new destinations out of Tweed New Haven Regional Airport to movement on the Union Station garage.

« Read the article »

Harp Economic Development Policy - Non-"Prescriptive" Encouragement

Video posted by New Haven Independent | Paul Bass | OCT 2, 2013 3:06 PM

 “No More Children Living in Fear”

children_fear.jpgA newly created public safety commission. A manual of police tips, in print and on line, to frustrate robbers in stores and protect employees. And a standing community fund instantly available to aid victims of violence.

Those ideas emerged at a press conference Tuesday afternoon convened by Beaver Hills/Westville Alderwoman Angela Russell at the Burger King at Whalley and East Ramsdell, One of that restaurant’s managers was shot in the legs and badly injured in a robbery a month ago.

Russell seized the occasion of the beginning of National Violence Prevention Month to gather police brass and local officers, mayoral candidate Toni Harp, and a few residents to announce her bundle of new public safety initiatives she calls “No Child Living in Fear.”

« Read the article »

New Haven mayoral candidates ramp up fundraising efforts

NEW HAVEN >> The mayoral candidates are pushing for contributions as the deadlines before the next reporting period draw near and also plan to step up events after a lull following the September Democratic primary.

State Sen. Toni Harp won half of the Democratic vote in the four-way primary, with Alderman Justin Elicker, D-10, who came in second, now moving forward as an independent mayoral candidate.

« Read the article »

Harp rolls in New Haven Democratic primary

Excerpted from New Haven Register, September 11


I criss-crossed the city and I went to too many communities that feel like they’re the stepchild of the city. ... There were very few places that felt like they get their due. Well, under my leadership, everyone will get their due,” Harp promised.


She said she’d help get more children into the knowledge-based economy and after-school activities.

“We’re going to assure that our streets are safer,” she promised. “We are going to stop the nonsense here,” she added, referring to gun violence.

“The buck stops here. We are taking no prisoners. We are taking this city back for all of its people.”

“We can be that great city. We can be the model city that we’ve talked about,” Harp told the large gathering.

 Malloy told the crowd that Harp “has absolutely paid her dues and she has come back with the bacon. If you want a future that includes lower crime, Toni Harp is your candidate.”

« Read the article at the New Haven Register »

Harp Gets Displaced Seniors To The Party

Reprinted from New Haven Independent by Cora Lewis | Sep 9, 2013 9:05 am

The usual pre-election get-out-the-vote party took place at the Bella Vista senior housing complex Sunday night. This time, organizers had to send vans to get the seniors there rather than just ask them to take the elevator downstairs.Displaced Bella Vista tenants rallied to attend a political rally Sunday. Traditionally, a GOTV event is held at the housing complex prior to an election, since all the seniors who live there are in a central location. This year, the residents were not so captive. Instead of traveling down from their respective floors in the towers, many traveled by van from various motels where they have been housed since a mid-August fire.

The fire changed everything.

But the seniors still got to the party. Toni Harp’s mayoral campaign sent vans to get them.


The event, part dinner party and part campaign rally, is a tradition at Bella Vista, a gold mine of captive votes for Democratic election workers. (Click here and here to read about parties before other recent elections.)

Many seniors living at Bella Vista remain temporarily homeless because of an early-morning Aug. 14 fire at the complex. They’re living at area motels or doubled-up with friends or family. (Click here to read how you can help them.)

Supporters of Harp, one of four Democrats running in a Tuesday mayoral primary, brought about 40 of the displaced tenants in vans to Sunday night’s dinner in the Bella Vista Victoria room—and signed them up for another ride Tuesday to the on-site voting station.

After a set of short speeches and a Q&A with party-backed Democratic slate of candidates, ziti (a tray of meat-sauce and a vegetarian option) was served along with bread, pizza, and salad from Abate’s.

« Read the article at the New Haven Independent »

MATTHEW NEMERSON: Toni Harp has what New Haven’s next mayor needs

New Haven Register Opinion Page 08/31/13

nemerson_harp.jpgI support state Sen. Toni Harp for mayor. Of all the candidates she has the best chance to make New Haven the great city it can be. I have known Toni for 25 years and seen her in action many times. However, not until I became a candidate for mayor and fully understood the reality of what leading New Haven takes did I appreciate her strengths. She will be able to accomplish things over the next few years that no other candidate can.

First, Toni has a level of emotional intelligence and confidence that is rare in an elected official. Many people seek political office because they crave attention and adulation. Toni clearly has a different relationship to power. Instead of needing to be the center of attention or trying to prove that she is the smartest person in the room, she listens, asks questions and comes to an insightful position. She brings a great calm and control to situations often fraught with pressure and conflict. This sets Toni apart from New Haven’s male-dominated political culture of egos and sharp elbows. I believe a little less ego may be just what the city needs to bring people back to a common table.

Toni has the personality our next mayor will need.

« Read the full article »

Endorsing Harp, Murphy Gets Specific

Reprinted from New Haven Independent by Melissa Bailey | Aug 27, 2013 | Melissa Bailey Photos

harpmurphyDSC_4867-550x385.jpgCiting her leadership on stem cell research and her work for “abused and neglected children,” U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy Tuesday threw his support behind Toni Harp’s mayoral campaign.

Murphy’s endorsement took place Tuesday afternoon at the Farnam Neighborhood House at 162 Fillmore St. in Fair Haven. It was the latest of many endorsements Harp has racked up, including from the governor, elected officials, unions and firefighters.

The event came two weeks before Harp faces three opponents—Kermit Carolina, Justin Elicker, and Henry Fernandez—in a Democratic primary for mayor.

« Read the full article »

Harp gets backing of Firebirds in New Haven mayoral bid

From the  — New Haven Register, August 27, 2013 -Melanie Stengel )

NEW HAVEN >> Mayoral candidate Toni Harp, asked if there is a race problem in the Fire Department, said she did not know for sure if there is one, but there is a perceived problem.

“In my administration there will be no race problem. We will make sure that that doesn’t happen and we will make sure that the perception of it is not there,” Harp said at a press conference where she was endorsed by the Firebirds Society, a fraternal group of black firefighters in the city’s Fire Department.

Harp has received numerous labor and aldermanic endorsements, as well as one from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., to officially announce his support today at 3:30 p.m. at the Farnam House on Fillmore Street.On the fire issues, Harp the city has to first make sure that its residents get the jobs on the Fire Department, and she also addressed promotions.

She said once they have these jobs, “the people in them can move throughout the ranks without a lot of difficulty. You know that there is a lot of history here in this particular department, but I believe that what it takes is leadership to move us forward to assure that the perception is no longer there. It will not be tolerated in my administration,” she said.

« Read the article  at the New Haven Register

Harp Lauds Way To Groom City Firefighters

Reprinted from New Haven Independent -Thomas MacMillan | Aug 27, 2013

As she accepted the endorsement of New Haven’s black firefighters association, Toni Harp praised the group’s efforts to make sure city-dwellers—not just suburbanites—are ready for public safety jobs.

State Sen. Harp offered that praise at a Monday afternoon press conference outside the Elks Club on Webster Street in Dixwell.

She was joined there by Michael Neal and Leon Brown of the New Haven Firebirds, the city’s association of black firefighters.

Harp saluted the Firebirds for their efforts to start the Public Safety Academy, a training program to ready New Haven high school students for careers as firefighters, police officers, or EMTs.

Harp said suburban young people often have a leg up on fire jobs because they come from towns with volunteer fire departments that allow them to get involved at an early age. The public safety academy helps New Haven’s young people get the certifications that will make them more attractive candidates for police and fire jobs in the city, she said.

Neal said teens who stick with the program for four years graduate with EMT and “Firefighter One” certifications.

At the press conference, Harp also weighed in on a couple of recent fire department controversies.

Asked about recent allegations that the department has a problem with racism, Harp said that “there’s a perception that it does.” She said the way to change that perception is by putting more New Haveners into fire department jobs and having a more transparent hiring and promotions process.

Asked about the dispute between the city and the fire union over the creation of new lieutenant positions, Harp sided with the union. “I think it’s a mistake to not fill from the top down,” she said. She said the department should have a captains exam first, before creating more lieutenant slots below.

“It’s bad for morale” to have too many “acting captains,” as is required when captain positions go empty, she said. “That creates tension in the department.”

Neal agreed. He said that adding lieutenants before promoting captains is “polluting the pool.”

Asked about the recent incident in which Captain Richard Rife was arrested for displaying a gun during a firehouse argument, Harp said the situation “epitomizes the morale issue,” since the display happened during a conversation between a captain and an acting captain, Lt. Frank Ricci.

 Mayoral candidate Toni Harp: New Haven is no Detroit

Reprinted from the New Haven Register - August 19, 2013

By Mary E. O’Leary

NEW HAVEN >> Mayoral candidate Toni Harp takes umbrage at comparing New Haven to Detroit.

“The reality is that we are not and will not ever be Detroit. I think (the comparison) is irresponsible frankly, and that it ultimately hurts our opportunity to grow and develop,” Harp said.

The longtime state senator, in an interview with the New Haven Register editorial board, talked about budgets and boosting growth in a city with a projected education deficit this year and consistently dropping bond ratings that are expected to hurt New Haven’s ability to borrow.

Her remarks on Detroit were in response to one of her rivals, former economic development administrator Henry Fernandez, who warned that unless New Haven quickly gets its house in order, it faces “enormous risk” and the “potential to fall off the cliff” as did the Motor City, which is now in bankruptcy.

The three major bond rating agencies have dropped the city’s rating in the past four months with Standard and Poor’s giving New Haven a grade of BBB+, down from A-; Fitch dropped it twice since April with a new rating now of A- from A+ and pinned the city with a negative outlook. In June, Moody’s dropped it down a notch to A2 from A1.

They cited the $541 million in unfunded pension liabilities and $444 million in retiree medical costs. Only 43 percent of the non-teacher public employee pension fund is covered, while that climbs to only 48 percent of the public safety pension.

On the pension issue, Harp said she would deal with it “incrementally,” looking to the state as an example where it reduced underfunding and then committed to meeting its annual actuarial requirements.

In addition to Harp and Fernandez, competitors in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary are Hillhouse High School Principal Kermit Carolina and Alderman Justin Elicker.

Like her rivals, she advocated a predictable tax rate and said “our word to developers has to be something we support,” referring, as they did, to the tax bill handed to the investors of 360 State Street that was four times what they were anticipating.

She said she hopes to see growth from businesses spinning off of research at Yale Medical School and wants to revisit plans to add apartments and more commerce to the Long Wharf area.

She would look for ways to encourage construction of affordable housing for young professionals and has proposed a small business incubator in Newhallville, possibly in Science Park.

Harp also said she has the experience and a record of success in her 25-year career as a legislator, where she said she demonstrated a crucial ability to engage the public and effectively work with people, including those who disagree with her. “I know how to move policy initiatives,” Harp said.

« Read the article  at the New Haven Register »

Endorsing Harp, Guv Says She Delivered

Reprinted from the New Haven Independent, August 15, 2013

BY Melissa Bailey & Thomas MacMillan
Paul Bass contributed reporting.

The governor popped into East Rock Thursday afternoon to make the case that Toni Harp’s experience at the state Capitol shows why New Haveners should elect her their next mayor.

Accompanied by New Haven labor leader Bob Proto, Malloy arrived at Nica’s Market on Orange Street—the home base of support for one of Harp’s rivals, Justin Elicker—at 5 p.m. to make the endorsement.

After a short tour inside Nica’s, Malloy came back outside to address a crowd assembled on the market’s patio after preliminary remarks by state Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. He offered his perspective from his perch in Hartford to make the case for Harp’s candidacy.

« Read the full article »

 Harp Secures Top Spot

Reprinted from New Haven Independent, August 8, 2013

Candidates Toni Harp and Michael Smart rebounded from a technical snafu and claimed the top spot on the Democratic primary ballot, the registrar of voters confirmed Thursday.

Sharon Ferrucci, New Haven’s Democratic registrar of voters, said Thursday that her office had certified Harp and Smart’s joint ballot petitions.

Harp, who’s running for mayor, and Smart, who’s running for city clerk, were endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee at a convention last month. That should have guaranteed them a top spot on the Sept. 10 primary ballot. But the committee failed to submit its endorsements to the city clerk’s office on time, forcing Harp and Smart to petition to get on the ballot, as non-endorsed candidates have to do.

Harp and Smart teamed up to form a slate, gathering signatures on petitions with both of their names. Slates of candidates are listed at the top of the ballot. Thus, by collecting the requisite 2,406 signatures from registered New Haven Democrats, Harp and Smart were able to have their names at the top of the ballot as the Democratic committee had originally intended.

As for the other three mayoral candidates—Kermit Carolina, Justin Elicker, and Henry Fernandez—Ferrucci said it will take another week to get through the petitions they submitted on Wednesday. Harp submitted hers last week.

The candidates are running to replace 10-term incumbent John DeStefano, who is not running for re-election.


cahn.jpgNew Haven teen helping drum up support for Harp's mayoral run

Reprinted from New Haven Register, Sunday, August 04, 2013

By Kristen Mitchell

NEW HAVEN >> When Madeleine Cahn isn’t preparing for her freshman year at the Hopkins School or seeking out a new favorite novel, she’s spending her summer days canvassing for New Haven mayoral candidate Toni Harp.

“If you have somebody good in charge, then good things happen,” said Madeleine, 14.

If elected, Harp would become New Haven’s first female mayor, an exciting prospect for Madeleine and her mother, a member of the Ward 25 Democratic committee.

“Since Toni Harp was endorsed by both wards 25 and 26, and endorsed by the town committee ... we want her to be the first woman mayor of New Haven,” said Laura Cahn.

Former city economic development administrator Henry Fernandez, Hillhouse High School Principal Kermit Carolina and Alderman Justin Elicker, D-10, are also candidates for mayor. Reaching out to and involving youths has been part of each campaign

Madeleine has done a lot of research into women in government, said Cahn, who has been canvassing with her daughter once or twice a week.

They have been canvassing for the past several elections, and Cahn said she “kind of coerced” her daughter into it initially.

“To be fair, Madeleine doesn’t mind doing it,” she said.

On the day of the primary and the days leading up to Election Day, Cahn said the pair will go around the community knocking on doors to make sure everyone who is registered has voted, and that anyone who wants to vote is able to.

“We know every voter counts. We try to do everything we can to help. I have worked at the polls, and once Madeleine is old enough, she will, too,” Cahn said.

Harp’s campaign manager, Jason Bartlett, said having young people like Madeleine involved in the election process says a lot about the community.

“We have a lot of parents and a lot of young people really excited about trying to energize the youth, and, quite frankly, that’s where it all starts,” Bartlett said. “(It) says a lot about our future to have our youth engaged.”

Madeleine said her Jewish faith inspires her to be involved.

“I went to Jewish school (Ezra Academy in Woodbridge), so everything connected to school and learning about politics was from a Jewish perspective,” she said. “There’s a Jewish philosophy that all Jews are responsible for each other, and modern Jews take that further and say all people are responsible for each other. It’s another reason to help.”

A lover of reading and learning, Madeleine wants the new mayor to support New Haven’s public libraries and extend their hours, which she said have been scaled back over the past few years, particularly at the Mitchell Branch she frequents.

Instead of gifts for her bat mitzvah, Madeleine asked friends and family to donate to their local libraries.

“When President Obama was elected, Madeleine was in fourth grade. Every child was asked to write a letter to the president and she wrote about the library,” Cahn said.

Her love of the library has driven Madeleine to become more involved in the community and has fueled her passion to help others. She wants to be a teacher because it just “feels natural” to her.

Cahn admitted Madeleine isn’t the youngest person she has seen out supporting a candidate.

“I was canvassing with another woman who had her baby twins in a stroller during the last election,” she said.  

What a Rally! Policemen, Firemen, Teachers--All come out for Toni!

Reprinted from the New Haven Independent

by Paul Bass & Thomas MacMillan | Jul 30, 2013 6:08 pm

Brianne Bowen PhotoBrianne Bowen Photo

Toni Harp turned last week’s mishap into a rousing “Tally Rally” as her campaign turned in over 4,800 signatures of voters—twice the number needed—to get her name on the Democratic mayoral ballot.

Harp, one of four Democrats running for mayor, turned in 397 petitions with those signatures to the Registrar of Voters Office Tuesday afternoon in order to secure her place on the Sept. 10 primary ballot.

She was supposed to get that place without petitioning because she won the Democratic Town Committee’s endorsement at a convention last week. But the DTC failed to file the necessary paperwork on time, so her campaign pressed over 300 New Haven volunteers into action collecting the signatures.


“We started last, but we ended first!” Harp told a triumphant rally on the steps of the 200 Orange St. municipal office building after she submitted the petitions. Three other Democrats—Henry Fernandez, Justin Elicker, and Kermit Carolina—are in the process of circulating their own petitions to make the ballot.

Harp’s haul occurred over just four and a half days, a signal of the depth of her campaign support, she said.

Campaign manager Jason Bartlett told the crowd to keep collecting signatures, as insurance. The registrar must verify the names of 2,406 voters to certify a candidate’s spot on the ballot.

“We’re not taking any chances,” Bartlett said. “I want as many signatures in that vault [at the registrar’s office] as possible.” He said that the campaign did not pay any of the people who circulated petitions for Harp. He said “98 percent” of the circulators live in New Haven.





Police Union 530 leaders had Harp’s back outside the registrar of voters office.

Harp was joined at the rally by city clerk candidate Michael Smart, whose name also appeared on her petitions; and by leaders of the police and fire unions, who have endorsed her candidacy.

Police Union Endorses Toni Harp

Reprinted from New Haven Independent, July 30, 2013


New Haven Police Union Local 530 Tuesday morning announced its endorsement of the mayoral candidacy of Toni Harp.

Meanwhile, the Harp campaign announced it has already collected enough signatures of registered Democrats (2,406) to earn a spot on the Sept. 10 Democratic primary ballot. Three other Democrats—Justin Elicker, Henry Fernandez, and Kermit Carolina—are also petitioning to make the ballot.

Local 530 held its first-ever mayoral debate before voting to make an endorsement. Union President Lou Cavaliere Jr. promised the union would provide “on-the-ground support” for Harp’s campaign.

“After several face-to-face meetings and feedback from the membership, Toni Harp was the only candidate that has expressed compassion towards the New Haven police officers,” a union press release quoted Cavaliere as saying.  “Toni has vowed to aid New Haven police officers in acquiring the necessary tools they need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. She has also been outspoken in making modifications to the benefit packages officers receive in the efforts of maintaining their own families.”

Mayoral Forum on Inmate Re-entry—Harp addresses accountability

New Haven mayoral candidates focus on helping former inmates build new lives in city

Reprinted from New Haven Register, July 31, 2013
By Randall Beach

NEW HAVEN >> The city’s five mayoral candidates Tuesday night agreed New Haven should work better with the state to help released inmates re-enter civilian life and to stop the state Department of Correction from “dumping” non-New Haven residents here.

The discussion came during a forum on re-entry held at Wilbur Cross High School, hosted by the New Haven Re-entry Roundtable. Approximately 45 people attended.

Former state Rep. William Dyson, who has been active with that organization, introduced the issue by noting that every month about 150 former inmates are released in New Haven.

“Multiply that by 12,” he said. “Where do they live?”

He said these people have paid their debt by serving their sentences but encounter “second-class citizenship” since they can’t find jobs or housing.

Sarah Russell, a professor at the Quinnipiac University School of Law, moderated the forum by posing questions suggested by those who attended the June roundtable meeting. The first question was whether the city should expand the New Haven Housing Authority’s pilot program for re-entering inmates; there are now just 20 housing units available.

The candidates agreed this should be done.

« Read the full article »


State Clears Harp In Petition Drive

 by Thomas MacMillan & Paul Bass | Jul 26, 2013 2:17 pm

Updated: 6:28 p.m. In a conference call Friday afternoon with the city’s mayoral campaigns, state officials issued a much-awaited ruling: Candidate Toni Harp has not broken the law by teaming up with a city clerk candidate to get her name on the ballot.

« Read the article at the New Haven Independent »

Toni announces her Nutrition and Food Policy Initiatives at CitySeed Farmers Market


Toni's nutrition and food policy initiatives include expanded CSAs (community-supported agriculture coops) and linking them to school programs; and helping more healthful local produce get sold at community foods stores, a new “permanent indoor/outdoor marketplace, and mobile food vending.

Toni has been instrumental in helping CitySeed get EBT, or the ability to process electronic benefit transfers so people on food stamps can buy fruits and veggies at the markets and each year champions the elderly WIC vouchers so seniors can buy at the markets.

As a city alderwoman, Toni led the effort to require universal free breakfast in city schools. At the state legislature, she pushed successfully to require that any school system that wants to follow suit can get money to do so.

« Read the New Haven Independent Story »



At the Dixwell Children's Arts event Toni took some time out from campaigning to spend time working with attendees projects together.

Toni releases seven-point ethics reform plan

For city government to work properly, the people of New Haven need to know that their public officials and city employees perform their jobs fairly, impartially, efficiently, and in as open and transparent way as possible, and that, if they do not, there will be consequences.

 Our current ethics code requires public officials and city employees be “impartial and responsive,” and not use their position “for personal gain or advantage.”  Unfortunately, this minimal standard doesn’t fully protect the integrity of government decision-making, enhance government efficiency, or give our residents the accountable government that they deserve. 

To truly move this city forward, we need to change the way we do business.  For this reason, I am committed to raising our ethical standards by making several commonsense changes that will reform our ethics code and expand it to include comprehensive procurement reform.

« Read the entire Policy »

Harp Would Make Rizzo Pay

Reprinted from New Haven Independent, July 26, 2013

Under a Harp administration, retired building official Andy Rizzo would have to register as a lobbyist before he could seek zoning relief on behalf of a housing agency, and the city’s Board of Ethics would have more power to go after him if he lobbied improperly.

Mayoral candidate Toni Harp made that assertion Friday afternoon as she unveiled her “Ethics Reform Position Paper.” She announced a seven-part strategy aimed at improving accountability, transparency and efficiency in city government.

Harp also weighed in on a recent apparent breach of the city’s code of ethics: The case of Andy Rizzo.

Rizzo retired from his post as city building official in April. By June, he was lobbying the Board of Zoning Appeals on behalf of Mutual Housing, a client to his new consulting business. That action appears to have violated a law that bans lobbying by a former city employee for one year after his or her employment.

Asked how her ethics overhaul would address a situation like this, Harp said Rizzo would have been required to register as a lobbyist if he’s seeking relief for any project worth over $50,000.

“The board would recognize that there is a bright line between what it is that he used to do when he came to talk to them and what it is that he does now as someone who operates on behalf of an agency that is seeking relief from that body,” Harp said.

Rizzo would still be prohibited from lobbying the city for a year after his retirement, she said. And, she said, the city’s Board of Ethics wouldn’t have to wait for someone to file a complaint if it found out he was lobbying before that, as it does now.

“A complaint could be suggested,” she said. If board members read about or hear about any apparent violation, “it should be something that they look into.”

Harp said people would be more likely to make complaints anyway, under her new plan, because whistleblowers would be fully protected from retaliation.

Harps seven-point ethics reform plan includes:

• Regulation of lobbying and lobbyists: Lobbyists would be required to pay $300 and register as such and annually file information on their “compensation arrangement” with their client. They would have to file quarterly reports on their lobbying activity.

• Putting more information online about contracts, salaries, and ethics.

* Protecting whistleblowers from retaliation.

• Requiring ethics training for city employees every two years.

• Prohibiting officials and employees from using “nonpublic information” to benefit themselves or others. For instance, a City Hall staffer would be prohibited from tipping off a friend about an upcoming sale of city property.

• Giving the Board of Ethics independent enforcement powers and staff.

• Reforming the procurement process to ensure that city workers aren’t favoring people they’re connected to when it comes to contracts or purchases.

« Read the Toni Harp Ethic Reform Policy »


Do you like this page?
Toni Harp 2013
Candidate for Mayor, New Haven