State Sen. Toni Harp has been elected the first new mayor of New Haven in two decades.
"I am humbled and honored to stand before you tonight as the Mayor-Elect of the great City of New Haven," Harp told supporters on Tuesday night.
Harp will also be the city's first female mayor.
"We've been a city for 375 years and there's never been a woman leader. This is the first time and I'm thrilled a woman is now finally our mayor, and I'm even more thrilled that the woman is me," she said.
The Democrat defeated Alderman Justin Elicker, a Democrat who had petitioned his way onto the ballot. She will fill the seat being vacated by veteran Mayor John DeStefano, the longest serving chief executive in the city's history.
"I am excited by the promise of new leadership that Toni Harp will bring to the City of New Haven,' DeStefano said in a statement. "As the current Mayor of New Haven, and as a lifelong New Haven resident, I look forward to the new administration's commitment to serve the hopes and dreams of the people of our wonderful City. I will be glad to assist in any way I can."
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The 65-year-old Harp was first elected to the General Assembly in 1993, representing the 10th senatorial district. She is the longtime co-chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
During the campaign, Harp received support from high-profile Connecticut Democrats, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal. Harp was touted as the candidate who could build political consensus in the city.
Even though there are a few months before Harp takes the oath of office, she is already making plans.
"I have to put together a transition team and we’ve got to get to know what is going on specifically in the city, we’ve got to look at budget issues," said Harp.