New Haven mayor addresses gubernatorial rumors

NEW HAVEN --  While the state's financial picture, as a whole, remains bleak, New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp, who was sworn in for her third term Monday, is thrilled with New Haven's progress on numerous fronts.

Like Police Chief Anthony Campbell, Harp is especially proud of the city's developing community policing program, which has contributed to a sharp decrease in violent crime statistics.

"If you look around at the other major cities in 2017, they had two, three times the number of murders that we had in New Haven," said Harp. "Thankfully, but unfortunately, we had seven murders. Only five of which were through gun violence."

Harp said she’s especially proud of New Haven Public Schools, which, through their Youth Stat program, were able to significantly reduce expulsions.

"For a town, about our size, normally there are about 85 expulsions. We got it down to 14 last school year," Harp said.

"We’re becoming a complete streets city," she said. "You see more bicycle paths, a greater ability to walk."

But, she's not walking.

Despite rumors that she's considering making a run for Governor or Lieutenant Governor, she said she will not.

"I will be a cheerleader on the outside saying you’ve got to support cities," she said. "We need your support. If you want to have the votes, that we have in New Haven, then you’ve got to come with a strong urban agenda."

Harp is very familiar with the state capitol complex. She served as a state senator for 21 years.

New Haven's City Manager has proposed increasing Harp's salary by $10,000 to $141,000 annually, which would still be significantly less than the mayors of Bridgeport, Hartford and Stamford.

"One of the things we hear all the time is equal pay for equal work," Harp said. "I think it’s important that I make that case."

The New Haven Board of Alders was scheduled to vote on the mayor's salary during their Tuesday night meeting. The Mayor's position has not received a raise in 10 years in New Haven, according to spokesperson Laurence Grotheer.