NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, the longest-serving chief executive in city history who championed immigration-friendly policies, will not run for re-election after 20 years in office, a city official said Tuesday.
Jacqueline James, chairwoman of the Democratic Town Committee and president pro tem of the Board of Aldermen, says DeStefano told her Monday he won’t seek an 11th two-year term. The 57-year-old Democrat is expected to announce his plans later Tuesday.
“I was shocked,” James said. “I think he’s done great things in the city. We’ve come a long way in regards to education and crime and economic development. He will truly be missed.”
DeStefano emailed friends Monday asking them to join him and his family for a reception and early State of the City briefing Tuesday evening at The Russian Lady restaurant. He declined to comment on his re-election plans.
DeStefano was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2006 but lost to Republican M. Jodi Rell.
He made national news in 2007 when the city began issuing municipal identification cards to all residents, regardless of immigration status. New Haven was the first in the nation to offer the ID cards to illegal immigrants, trying to bring them out of the shadows.
In 2011, DeStefano announced a proposal to extend voting rights to illegal immigrants and other noncitizens for municipal elections, but the secretary of the state has said it would require an amendment to the state constitution.
DeStefano also championed education reforms and downtown development, including the relocation of Gateway Community College to the city center.
DeStefano, the son of a New Haven police officer, served as president of the National League of Cities a decade ago.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.