Carolina Declares Candidacy

Melissa Bailey PhotoKermit Carolina said Sunday night that he has made his decision: He’s running for the Democratic mayoral nomination for mayor.

Carolina, the principal of Hillhouse High School, plans to file official papers to run this week.

In a release announcing his decision, Carolina stressed his New Haven roots—including living in the old Elm Haven projects and growing up in a single-parent home; attending public school here; owning a home in town; working for government; having kids in the public schools.

He also promised to take his campaign to every neighborhood.

His decision follows a meeting in the Hill last week at which members of his “exploratory” committee urged him to take the plunge.

Carolina, who is 45 years old, will join fellow Democrats Justin Elicker, Toni Harp, Gary Holder-Winfield, Henry Fernandez, Sundiat Keitazulu, and Matthew Nemerson in seeking the party’s nomination in a Sept. 10 primary to succeed retiring two-decade incumbent Mayor John DeStefano.

Following is the full text of the statement Carolina released Sunday evening:

“After several months of contemplating a run for public office—inclusive of the formation of the Exploratory Committee—I have decided to seek the office of Mayor of the City of New Haven.  As a former resident of the Elm Haven Public Housing Project and a product of a single-parent home, I learned firsthand about the impact that poverty has on families.  From this experience, I learned early on about the importance of sacrifice, resilience and the value of education.

“Being a graduate and current employee of the New Haven Public School system, I have developed a unique understanding and appreciation of the challenges faced by students and families across this city.  Despite the many challenges the city is facing, my appreciation of New Haven has never wavered.  My wife and I have been homeowners in this city for many years, my children attend New Haven Public Schools, and I have never worked in any other city.  New Haven has always been my home.

“My decision to run is firmly rooted in my belief that New Haven can do better for those who have been locked out and forgotten.  Poverty impacts us all.  Poverty is at the root of crime, low educational achievement, high levels of unemployment and the dysfunction that exists in many families. 
My candidacy will also address the challenges facing middle-class families.  There must be a concerted effort to address superfluous expenditures and rising property taxes.

“We must also be audacious in our quest to find new sources of revenue.  Such boldness requires leadership that is not wedded to the politics of the past, but rooted in a new vision for our city’s future.

“I look forward to bringing my campaign to every neighborhood in this city, and sharing my vision for New Haven’s future.”

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posted by: Curious on April 28, 2013  8:44pm

Democracy Fund status?  I would expect the NHI to ask him this as soon as possible.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 28, 2013  10:47pm

For kermit Carolina.your Theme song. The rest must step back.

posted by: GoodNatured on April 28, 2013  11:34pm

Carolina looks like a candidate with real integrity - a welcome relief from a couple of the more recent entries. 

I hope Carolina will commit to the Democracy Fund—it would be the most convincing sign that he is ready to overturn the old cronyism that is killing this city.

posted by: stick21 on April 29, 2013  6:50am

Finally announced after after months of thought….I guess it took that long to prepare a written statement on why he is running!

Democracy fund or not? Left that out of prepared statement!

posted by: westville man on April 29, 2013  8:43am

He IS participating in the Democracy fund. He made that clear during exploratory.

posted by: robn on April 29, 2013  9:06am

I believe Mr Carolina has, in the past, committed to the Democracy Fund.

posted by: Curious on April 29, 2013  10:53am

Committing in the past or during the exploratory phase is not the same as coming out in your declaration and saying it. 

I’d like to hear it from Kermit the official candidate for mayor, not Kermit the guy musing about maybe running or not.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 29, 2013  12:26pm

posted by: Curious on April 29, 2013 10:53am

Committing in the past or during the exploratory phase is not the same as coming out in your declaration and saying it.

I’d like to hear it from Kermit the official candidate for mayor, not Kermit the guy musing about maybe running or not.

He says it in here.

posted by: westville man on April 29, 2013  12:28pm

Curious,  you have the right to know that and he will confirm his participation in the Fund.

posted by: Curious on April 29, 2013  3:45pm

Excellent!  Great news.  This tips the balance.  Now MOST candidates are participating.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on April 29, 2013  4:18pm

Where do I begin?

I have known Mr. Carolina and his family for a very long time and believe me, they are all beautiful people. 

I have also watched Mr. Carolina blossom into a fine and successful young man.  Kerm has extreme admirable qualities as an educator, but the political arena in New Haven he will find, is the complete antithesis of the classroom.  In essence, he is in far over his head on this quest to be mayor.

Nevertheless, I would like to commend Mr. Jefferson for his encouragement to coax Mr. Carolina to run and to believe that he can win. 

Moreover, I would be remiss if I didn’t also commend Mr. Scott X, (the leader of the Entertainment Association of the Advancement of Certain People)for his silent roll in Kerm’s quest to be mayor….

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on April 29, 2013  4:19pm


But I’m not fooled into believing that these guys truly believe in what they’re embarking on.  This smells very funny to me. In that, it reminds me of a game called, Tony Dawson.  The ultimate goal of the game is to go after Toni Harp hard, with hopes of enabling Henry to limp across the finish line in first place.

Where was all this fervor from Kerm and others when these young men were, and continue to be slaughtered across the city streets?  Perhaps at an EAACP “First Friday!”

Don’t allow yourselves as young people to be fooled by the political charades that are being espoused upon you by those that talk good until the smoke clears.

The city’s problems are monumental.  We can’t experiment with individuals who are only concerned with “what they can gain personally.”

Toni has a relationship with the state/Governor. This relationship will bode well when it comes to services and the Governor potentially ignoring areas of current debt. 

New Haven is blessed and poised to make history by electing the first female Mayor of the wonderful city of New Haven.

Toni is more than just a female candidate, her experience and love of city far exceeds the rest of the field.

Being born in New Haven doesn’t denote that one loves the city more.  In fact, one can argue legitimately that those that chose to move here love it as well, because they had a choice. 
Pepe’s sells his pizza to Kerm at the same price in which he sells to Toni

posted by: ELMCITYPROF on April 29, 2013  7:35pm

Wow Brian Jenkins. Tell us how you really feel. lol

posted by: speakingthetruth on April 29, 2013  9:37pm

Carolina isnt qualified to be the mayor of New Haven.  He’s a rah rah guy but much more suited to be a basketball coach than hold a powerful political office.  For some reason he reminds me of a used car salesman….talking the talk in order to complete the sale…in this case our vote.  He wont be getting mine.

posted by: True that on April 30, 2013  5:29am

@ Brian L. Jenkins, your conspiracy theory is so out there I can’t stop laughing.  So, Kermit formed his exploratory committee weeks before Henry announces, but he enters the race in order to help Henry?  It’s unfortunate that you feel a need to denigrate Scott X., question Michael Jefferson, and consider Kermit to be in over his head.  I would actually respect your opinions if I didn’t believe you were supporting Tony in order to gain employment.  What’s even more interesting is that I saw you at one of Kermit’s exploratory committee meetings attempting to “network.” I have always respected Toni.  However, what she did to Gary Holder-Winfield is indefensible.  You endorse him on Friday, and run against him on Monday?  Who does that?  You say you would only run “if struck by lightening” and then run although there was no lightening strike?  Who does that?  And how do you explain that?  How could she look Gary in the face?  Toni was convinced to run by the Union, who required her to pledge her support for them, which is likely to cost taxpayers a lot more money in the long-run.  The Union should not be allowed to run this city, but if Toni gets in, their control will be complete.  @Brian L. Jenkins I know that the job market is tough right now, but don’t interview for a city job by denigrating other Black men, all of whom are gainfully employed.

posted by: Curious on April 30, 2013  10:01am

Wow, I thought people trying to “split the black vote” was low, but baselessly accusing someone of trying to split the black vote to undermine a campaign is even worse.  Wow.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on April 30, 2013  1:21pm


I support President Obama, but I don’t agree with everything he has done.  It isn’t personal, it’s my prerogative to disagree.

I support Scott, Michael and Kerm, but don’t agree with this political undertaking at this juncture.  This doesn’t mean that I dislike these brothers, quite the opposite, I’m impressed with them and am proud that they are gainfully employed.

I’ve been fighting the current Administration for years to help others become gainfully employed, and some of these guys were fighting me while protecting the Administration. 

So don’t come at me with this dumb stuff about denigrating your friends when you comment while hiding behind a false name.

I thought it was wrong when Kerm took a shot at Toni regarding her age.  Did you read anything from Toni regarding what allegedly took place leading up to a suspension of Kerm? No! Because that’s not her style to attack people in such a manner.  For the record, I don’t believe Kerm should have ever been suspended.  If it were not for the excellence of attorney selection (Michael Jefferson) I believe his penalty would have been much worse.  Nevertheless, I didn’t read anything from you addressing Kerm for denigrating her. Perhaps I just happened to miss your comments accusing him of being disrespectful towards the sister.  Please!

Regarding employment, I own two businesses in Georgia, where I am now.  As a capitalist, I will always explore all opportunities across this country to bolster my income.  What about you?

I have supported Toni for almost 20 years, and have never asked her for a penny.  My loyalty to Toni is because of her vision, my love for her recently deceased husband, for her love of community, for her character and for ability get things done.

Regarding Gary holders claim, get over it and stop whining!