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Chen Abandons Greens in New Haven

The New Haven, Connecticut Board of Aldermen is comprised of 30 members. Currently, twenty-eight of those are Democrats, one is a Republican, and one is a member of the Green Party. Not for much longer.

Joyce Chen, the Green Party’s lone alderwoman in the city has decided to switch to the Democratic Party. Not that big of a deal, except for the fact that she didn’t bother to tell the Greens, or anyone else for that matter. Chen switched her registration and then took off to India to do “community development work” of some kind.

Green Party leadership was not happy:

“To me it’s evidence of some immaturity, both political and personal,” says Charlie Pillsbury, co-chair of the New Haven Green Party. Both he and co-chair Allan Brison say Chen never informed them of her decision. “We’ve been very disappointed to hear of it second-hand rather than directly,” says Pillsbury.

“It’s kind of coming out of the blue, you might say—or out of the green.”

When the switch was still just a rumor, says Pillsbury, he e-mailed Chen in India to ask if it was true. “She didn’t confirm or deny,” he says. “She just said she’d talk when she got back.”

Last year Chen launched a failed challenge again Toni Edmonds-Walker, a popular Democratic state represenative. In that 2-way race, Chen captured about 28% of the vote. This move apparently irritated Democrats and it seems doubtful that she will be welcomed by many in her new party. In fact, a candidate has already lined up to challenge her in the September primary.

The Green Party has also said it will field a candidate against her come November.

However, there is a somewhat amusing consequence of all this:

Chen’s switch means that lone Republican alder Arlene DePino will have a lot of work cut out for her. The board is required to have minority-party representation on all of its 12 committees, a duty that Chen and DePino have split down the middle (while the board’s Dems sit on only three committees each). But come July 19, DePino will be alone on the other side the aisle.

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4 Responses to “Chen Abandons Greens in New Haven”

  1. Mikey Says:

    Just to make sure I read this correctly, she switched parties after losing?

  2. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Nope, she just switched parties… she’ll be serving on the board as a Democrat now, even though the Democrats don’t like her.

  3. Austin Cassidy Says:

    If the question is “why is she off in India instead of representing her community?” - beats me. :)

  4. Mikey Says:

    That’s what I was confused about. Personally, I have problems with elected officials who decide during their term to switch parties. It shows a lack of character and insults those who voted for them.

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