With 26 candidates for City Council all vying for your attention and your #1 vote this Election Day, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. So I want to take a moment to answer one important question: What’s at stake on Tuesday, November 7th? In politics and governance, there are rarely simple answers and this is no exception. But the short answer is that the future of Cambridge is at stake.

Vote to make Cambridge more affordable.

Rising rents and land values are displacing residents and local small businesses. A focus on building luxury-priced housing and exorbitant childcare costs make Cambridge an increasingly costly place to raise a family, for many. We need to elect 9 City Councillors committed to finding innovative solutions for our city’s growing income inequality and affordable housing crisis. As a member of the Council’s Housing Committee, I fought hard to significantly increase the Inclusionary Zoning requirement, which will set aside a larger percentage of units for low- and moderate-income households in new developments of 10 or more units. I want to continue advocating for creative policymaking that will focus on sustainable growth that prioritizes socio-economic diversity and more affordable options.

Vote to keep Cambridge livable.

There are some candidates who believe the answer to Cambridge’s housing crisis is to build more housing, of any type, as quickly as possible. I believe we shouldn’t have to settle for growth for the sake of growth. That is why I have advocated for comprehensive citywide planning that engages all segments of the community, to identify and meet a broader range of our needs. Whether they’ve just arrived or lived here for decades, residents of all ages deserve: a transportation system that works and provides more safe, affordable and convenient alternatives to driving; inviting and well-maintained public spaces for indoor and outdoor recreation and gatherings; affordable high-quality childcare and preschool; after-school programs and job training; senior centers and social services for aging in place; and convenient access to affordable shopping, entertainment and culture.

Vote to protect our environment.

As our city grows, development must be planned more thoughtfully to address the anticipated threats to the environment and public health. Our climate is changing rapidly, and our city policies must build in resilience for what’s to come. As Chair of the Health & Environment Committee, sustainability and environmental protection have been a huge part of my work this term. In response to the ongoing drought, I held a hearing for the City to present its plans to protect our water supply and improve education and outreach on ways to conserve water. I have worked on protecting our tree canopy, both on public and private property. I have held hearings to reexamine our policy on leaf blowers, after being approached by residents with scientific data about the negative health and environmental impacts of power-blowing. I helped to organize the City’s second Climate Congress, which brought together approximately 100 volunteer delegates for a series of discussions and produced a contract for climate citizenship. We must continue advancing new policy initiatives to help us protect, conserve, and adapt to climate change.

Vote for a proven community advocate.

My campaign slogan is “Your voice. Our city.” because I want to be your voice on the council. I take this job seriously and do it full-time because I believe that’s what you deserve. Cambridge residents get 100% of my time and attention (more like 110%, if you know my work ethic and drive.) I have attended more Council committee hearings and meetings than any other councillor this term. You can count on me to show up, do my homework, and think critically about all sides of the issue before I vote. With everything else going on in the world, I understand that it’s hard for residents to stay on top of local political issues. That’s why I am working to broaden civic engagement and to develop new channels to inform and engage a broader spectrum of residents in local policy decisions.

Vote for government transparency and grassroots representation.

I do not accept “special interest” campaign donations from real estate developers, construction unions, or corporate lobbyists. You can trust me to put the public’s interest first at all times. I support public election financing and term limits. I’m proud to have received the highest percentage of donations (89%) from my fellow Cambridge residents. I entered politics as a grassroots community organizer, and I have maintained my independence from entrenched party interests as a first-term councillor. It’s one of the reasons I earned the endorsement of Our Revolution Cambridge.

Vote for a like-minded majority.  

I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in my first term on the council, and I hope I’ve earned your #1 vote, but I’ve haven’t done anything alone. I’ve been grateful to work alongside Councillors Dennis Carlone & Nadeem Mazen to disrupt Cambridge’s status quo. Together, we have brought a fresh perspective and moved our city towards a more innovative and inclusive future. In the next term I want to continue building an independent coalition whose bold leadership will help Cambridge remain a national leader in housing affordability, resilience to climate change, sustainable transportation, campaign finance reform, government transparency, and civic engagement. I believe this group includes me AND the following 5 candidates (listed in A-Z order): Dennis Carlone, Olivia D’Ambrosio, Sumbul Siddiqui, Vatsady Sivongxay, Quinton Zondervan.

Each of us brings a unique skill set and different lived experiences to the City Council. I hope you’ll consider giving me your #1 vote and the candidates listed above your #2-#6 votes on November 7th because I know that, together, we can build a more collaborative, efficient, and effective city, all without funding from developers or special interest groups.

I’ve been grateful for the privilege to serve as your councillor these past two years, and I hope to be able to continue serving you in the coming term. As always, thank you for your continued interest and support and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any suggestions or questions. Thank you!