New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Will Not Seek Re-election

Urges voters to hire a mayor who will get something done.

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John DeStefano making his announcement that he will not seek re-election.
Photo:Diane Orson
New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Will Not Seek Re-election
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New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Will Not Seek Re-election

 Its official.  New Haven’s longest serving mayor, John DeStefano, will not seek re-election.  

As she introduced the mayor, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said she couldn’t imagine the city of New Haven as vibrant a place today were it not for John DeStefano.  "He takes big gambles. He takes risks. And those risks have paid off for people."

As he took center stage, DeStefano remembered 1994, walking down Church Street. "You would have passed the Malley’sbuilding with the side falling off. Macy’s had closed six months earlier. The Chapel Square mall which two days before I became mayor went into foreclosure."

And Yale University

"Well, they had a new and promising and then young President. It wasn’t a place anyone who grew up in New Haven felt welcome to. And it was the start of something extraordinary."

DeStefano talked about town/gown partnership, downtown revitalization and school reform.

He remembered the long line of people waiting outside City Hall the day the Elm City resident card became available to everyone in New Haven, regardless of immigration status. "Mostly undocumented residents of our city standing in line as people shouted at them and took their pictures and wanting to declare that they were residents of New Haven, proud of it. Part of growing it."

DeStefano says he’s decided not to seek re-election because at age 57, he’s ready to do something else, though he didn’t say what.  He said he also thinks its the right time for the city. 

But he had these words for voters. "The next guy you hire to replace me, do not hire a town manager. Hire a mayor who’s going to make decisions, stand for something, be willing to be held accountable and get something done for our region."

In a statement, Governor Malloy said Mayor DeStefano has left an indelible mark on New Haven, one that’s helped transform the city and reinvigorate its character.

For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.