New Haven Mayor-Elect Justin Elicker is beginning to plan for the city’s future after defeating incumbent Mayor Toni Harp.
On Wednesday, the future mayor rolled out his plans for his administration.
It begins with filling vacant positions inside his cabinet and working together with those who currently hold city positions.
“We’re hoping to bring some institutional expertise to the team and at the same time ensure that the team continues to have the spirit of the campaign which is very grass-root focused,” said Elicker. “I believe the goal is to have groups that were involved in both sides of the election.”
The mayor-elect says there’s a few challenges his team faces like choosing between a large staff or small staff and working with appointed leaders from Harp’s administration.
“I think we’ll probably end up around 20 or so people,” said Elicker. “We want to find candidates who are ethical, have a strong background in the issue area that they are focusing on and reflect the diversity of our city and are hard-working and accessible.”
One key piece to the transition puzzle, both Elicker and Harp are Democrats who are working for a historically democratic city. Elicker said that he understands that some tension may arise.
“We may not always agree on every fundamental issue but the goal is diplomacy,” said Elicker. “We want to keep the conversation going and make sure we are changing course in some areas of the city.”
As the mayor-elect begins his new journey to lead the Elm City, he’s calling on the people of New Haven to speak up about the issues that matter to them.
“We want many more ideas and people to contribute to this process,” said Elicker. “I believe the best way to move forward is to work together.”
Elicker is focusing on ironing out the details to best suit the needs of the people of New Haven which include fixing issues with schools, creating a budget and working to establish New Haven as a sanctuary city.
One of Elicker’s focal points is finances which include creating a city budget.
“It’s one of those things that’s tricky,” said Elicker. “My team and I must have a budget ready for March 1.”
The mayor-elect believes New Haven Public Schools needs some attention to create a better learning environment for students and their families.
“I believe what’s critical right now is some stability in the board of education,” said Elicker. “Over the next few months, I plan to meet with everyone from the board of education to make sure that I develop and deepen those relationships.
Immigration legislation is also on the table. It’s an important policy priority for people inside the Elm City, like Unidad Latina En Accion Director John Lugo.
“We live in an emergency basis in New Haven especially since immigration continues to detain our people inside New Haven,” said Lugo. “We have been fighting for two years with the Board of Alderman to create an ordinance, or a like a law.”
Lugo is hoping to see more action taken with the new administration, which includes creating an ordinance to stop all city departments from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE.) agents.
“If we had those ordinances in place, I think we would be preventing the actions of Immigration within New Haven,” said Lugo.
Elicker is also pushing for more actions and legislation to be passes with the new board of alderman.
“We want to enshrine the sanctuary city status into law,” said Elicker. “I support the legislation and I want to work with the Board of Alders to approve and pass the legislation.”
Elicker will begin his tenure as New Haven’s mayor in January. He is hoping to meet with Harp to gain insight as the two transition.
The mayor-elect hopes to fill those vacant positions in his cabin throughout the next few weeks.