Challenger Tees Up 2nd Try For Westville Seat
by Thomas MacMillan | Jan 8, 2013 3:46 pm
This time, Darryl Brackeen said, he’s going about his candidacy the right way: Courting Democratic leaders, forging alliances, running in the primary.
Brackeen (pictured Monday night with Alderwoman Delphine Clyburn), who’s 24, is planning that approach as part of his preparation to run again for the seat occupied by Ward 26 Alderman Sergio Rodriguez, who has represented upper Westville for nearly 10 years.
Brackeen ran for the seat in 2011, as an independent, and was defeated by Rodriguez. Brackeen said he learned from that loss and is ready to run a different campaign—as a Democrat this time. He plans to make a formal campaign announcement on Jan. 20.
Brackeen said as much on Monday night as he walked from a meeting at the Grove about the Farmington Canal Greenway to City Hall, where the Board of Aldermen meeting was about to start. Brackeen has become a fixture at aldermanic meetings and at a variety of community functions. He said he’s been trying to learn the practice of being a lawmaker, after studying the theory as a political science student at Fairfield University, whence he graduated in 2010.
Brackeen now teaches social science to 7th- and 8th-graders at Lincoln Bassett school. He has been cultivating relationships with a number of sitting aldermen, including Beaver Hills/Upper Westville Alderwoman Angela Russell and Newhallville’s Clyburn. (Clyburn was not endorsing him.)
Brackeen said he’s been “courting the Democratic leadership,” and “going through the process” of putting together a successful campaign. The current Democratic leadership on the Board of Aldermen is aligned with organized labor. Brackeen said he supports unions but doesn’t yet know if he can count on union support for his campaign. “Only God knows,” he said.
Brackeen said his platform will focus on neighborhood engagement, public safety, environmental sustainability, and creation of a “small business pipeline.”
Alderman Rodriguez (pictured), now serving his fifth two-year term, said he will run again. He said he’s been an excellent alderman for the last 10 years, a “constituent’s alderman,” focusing on responding to neighbors’ concerns.
This year, he plans to focus on youth initiatives, Rodriguez said. He promised to continue to develop a program support young entrepreneurs.
And he said he wants to work on getting to know a new section of his ward. The boundaries of Ward 26 shifted with as a result of the 2012 redistricting process.
“I’m going to be working very strongly with my colleagues to provide jobs for New Haven folks,” Rodriguez said.
Asked if he anticipates a close race, Rodriguez responded, “I have no idea.”