New Mayor of New Haven Sworn in

Wednesday, Jan 1, 2014  |  Updated 5:04 PM EDT
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New Mayor of New Haven Sworn in

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The city of New Haven has its first new mayor in 20 years.

Mayor-elect Toni Harp has been sworn in, taking over from Mayor John DeStefano Jr., who held the office since Jan. 1, 1994.

She noted today that she is the first female mayor of New Haven and the second African-American mayor of the city,

Harp said she's looking to make a big impact on New Haven and will begin by going over every aspect of city government.

"I've been in the process of interviewing people and hiring people for the various positions that exist that need to be filled," Harp said.

On Monday, Harp announced that Tomas Reyes will be her Chief of Staff. 

Reyes is currently an associate administrator at the Connecticut Mental Health Center and served six terms as President of the New Haven Board of Aldermen.

“I am very excited to have been recruited by Mayor Harp to do this position, and I will do it to the utmost of my ability,” Reyes said.

Reyes said he knows the ideas Harp has for New Haven will become a reality.

Harp plans to build on things like school change and community policing efforts that are already in place. She also plans to listen to the community to hear what residents want for their city.

“The first order of business basically is to get to know everyone, to make sure they understand that while there is a change, that we're going to move forward on the initiatives they have been doing, we're going to develop new ones and we're going to move New Haven forward,” Harp said.
 
Many people who live in or work in New Haven said they hope Harp will work on reducing crime in the city and bring in new jobs.

Ed Renn, who works in New Haven, said he is expecting good things.

"I hope she can bring some economic revitalization to New Haven, some tax rationalization and some general improvements to public safety," Renn said.

Mark Mitchell, of New Haven, said he wants city leaders to continue to focus on cutting down on crime and be proactive rather than reactive.

“I think there needs to be more done,” he said, adding that there is too much talk and there are too many marches and vigils.

Harp said she is ready for the hefty challenges.

"We're going to move New Haven forward," she said.

"I hope that she can do a really good job," Mitchell added.

As for the outgoing leader, some said they will miss his leadership.

"He's familiar, he's a known quality and there's something safe in reassuring about something  you know," Renn said.

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