Harp fighting for fourth term as New Haven mayor

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– New Haven Mayor Toni Harp is looking for a little deja vu heading into this years mayoral election.

The three-term mayor is facing a challenge from former Alderman Justin Elicker, who she beat 54-46% in her first mayoral election victory in 2013.

A former Alderman and State Senator, Harp calls reducing violent crime in the city one of her proudest accomplishments as Mayor.

“When I first started, we had double digit murders and we’re down to single digits now,” Harp told News 8’s George Colli.  “So I’m really happy about that.”

Harp is also proud of the number of New haven high school students going to college.

“We’ve also increased by 10% our graduation rates,” said Harp. “Our promise program, now there’s over 1000 students in that program.”

News 8 caught up with Harp in the Newhallville Learning Corridor. She says a park and community garden at the corner of Hazel and Shelton Streets are symbolic of her accomplishments through the first three terms.

“It was called the ‘mud hall’. It’s where people came and drank and drugged and a lot of violence occurred here,” said Harp.  “Now you can see it’s a park and it’s a place for the people to come as a community.”

Harp says she has the advantage of not needing to sell the city to potential investors.

“People want to be in New Haven. We don’t have to beg them to come anymore. They want to come themselves,” said Harp.

Despite her string of successes, there has also been some trouble brewing within her administration. Harp’s primary opponent Justin Elicker is critical of issues at the Board of Education and of an FBI investigation into corruption at City Hall. Harp says it all comes with the territory.

“There’s always investigations because people report things they think may not be kosher. That doesn’t mean anything went wrong. I don’t believe there will be any wrongdoing found but if there is we’ll take care of it,” said Harp. “There’s 4000 employees working in New Haven. If one or two do things wrong, that’s a good average.”

Harp says that while violent crime is down, more work can be done to reduce property crimes in the city.

Primary Day is Tuesday. The polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

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