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Toni Harp, Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Chion Wolf
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp

Toni Harp talked about breaking a glass ceiling when she was elected mayor of New Haven earlier this month. The veteran state legislator fought back a tough challenge from Justin Elicker to become the first female mayor of the Elm City. Harp joined us on Where We Live to talk about her personal voyage to city hall, and her vision for New Haven. 

On the race for the Mayor: 
With more than 17 debates and public forums, Toni Harp said the campaign was a "very busy time." She spent her time preparing for the debates and visiting parts of the city she wasn't as familiar with. As a legislator, she only represented half the city. Harp said she was surprised that “[The residents of] almost every neighborhood that I went to really felt like it wasn’t a part of New Haven...it said to me that we’ve got to really find ways for us all to come together and to be one town.”

On crime in New Haven: 
Although the city was not a bustling place four years ago, she says it was a much safer place. Harp supports community-based policing to reduce crime, calling it "a way we can connect our communities so that people across town can feel safer." There is a connection between work that pays and safety. "Some of the neighborhoods have an over 20 percent unemployment rate. We've got to find positive and productive things for our young people to do. Adolescents tend to, whether it's positive or negative, come together and work in groups." She referenced the Q House as an example of a place that represents something that is missing in the city. 

Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.

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