Mayor Toni Harp
Toni was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, the youngest of six children; an African-American Baptist in a primarily white, almost universally Mormon community. Both of her parents worked to support the family. Her mother was a Teamster and worked for Greyhound Bus Lines while her father worked for the Santa Fe Railroad.
Toni’s tireless work ethic is a function of lessons learned from her parents.
In the 1960s, Toni moved to the south side of Chicago to attend college. She earned a degree and began working for the American Society of Planning Officials. Her lifelong interest in urban planning and how cities work can be traced to that first job. From there, Toni was recruited to study at Yale’s School of Architecture where she earned a Master’s degree.
One of Toni’s early lessons about the rewards of activism was the result of a social justice matter when she worked - coincidentally - for the City of New Haven. Toni helped organize AFSCME Local 3144, a management union, and she became the Human Resources Department’s first union steward.
Toni’s enduring respect for working people and her tireless advocacy for issues important to all citizens has been unwavering since.
Toni’s public service in elected office began, first as a member of New Haven’s Board of Aldermen, and then, for the past 20 years, as Senator for the 10th District.
Then-Senator Harp recently co-chaired the state’s Achievement Gap Task Force, created to address the undeniable disparity in educational access and performance, which exists