My husband and I moved to Watertown 23 years ago to raise our two children, who are now in their 30s and still call Watertown home. I love this town, with its mix of city amenities like a professional theater, fantastic dining options, and a growing economy along with easy access to nature and close-knit neighborhoods.
What first brought me to political engagement was volunteering for a local election. The idea of running for Town Council myself seemed impossible. But, I loved helping people improve their lives. Since that first canvassing shift, I have been involved in the Democratic Town Committee, co-founded Progressive Watertown, and supported many of the town’s nonprofits, including Project Literacy, the Food Pantry, the Watertown Community Foundation, and the Council on Aging.
Through that experience, I witnessed firsthand the huge changes happening in Watertown and their impacts it has had on our neighbors. Fast-paced business and housing development has driven up the cost of living, transformed whole neighborhoods, and increased traffic. Demographic shifts over the past two decades bring challenges regarding equity and diversity as well, which we must address in order to maintain our cohesive, welcoming spirit to all residents. The impacts of climate change are impossible to ignore, with more extreme and shifting weather patterns, as the large-scale effects of climate change loom over all of Greater Boston.
I’m extremely proud of my record as Town Councilor. I successfully advocated to create more affordable units in Watertown by leading the charge to create a Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, as well as increasing the number of affordable units in senior living centers, and advocating for a linkage fee from corporations. I have supported the TMA which now has a shuttle from Repton Place to Harvard Square, as well as the Blue Bikes that can be seen around town. I was one of only two town councilors to vote to strengthen the Resolution on Climate change and I took the lead in successfully advocating that a Human Rights Commission will be included in our new home rule charter.
There’s still so much more to do. In its next term, the Town Council will select the new head of our executive branch of government. This process requires an in-depth understanding of municipal government as well as the particular qualities that will help the person, and our town, succeed. It is essential that we have experienced town councilors to help guide our town through the changes and challenges facing us.
We will also be finalizing the Climate Action Plan, our roadmap to sustainability over the coming decades. We’ll need to address issues around diversity and equity at the municipal level. Meanwhile, affordability continues to challenge the extent and imagination of our policy-making, displacing longtime residents and locking out many new ones. It’s time to investigate the possibility of increasing our affordable housing unit requirement for new developments while reducing the number of required parking spaces (a policy that drives up the cost of new housing). We need to make it easier for our residents to use public transit and stop using cars to move around town. And if we are using cars, we need to put up more electric charging locations around town to make electric vehicles a viable choice.
I also hope to pass an ordinance on the issue that began my political journey more than a dozen years ago: requiring residents to shovel their sidewalks, which lets disabled and elderly residents as well as those using public transit, young parents—really everyone—to safely walk around town. It’s a simple, practical thing, a small issue really, but one that directly and tangibly affects the lives of our residents.
That has always been my hope as a Town Councilor, to make the lives of every resident A little better than it was before.
I hope that I have earned your vote on November 2, 2021.