Housing and Business Development
From biotech labs to restaurants, businesses bring jobs and tax revenue—but it also drives the rising cost of living, which displaces our neighbors and friends, hurts the middle class, and creates cost burdens for all residents. Practical, tangible steps must be taken to ensure that the rapid development raises all boats.
With my support, the Town Council recently approved an Affordable Housing Trust, which will allow the municipality to act quickly and efficiently in creating more designated affordable units. We are also investigating a linkage fee for new business developments that will fund housing for workers who fill new job openings in town. In addition, we hope to soon legalize accessory dwelling units, so you’ll be able to rent the apartment over your garage or an addition to your house. This will allow people to create low-cost housing units quickly, add a new income opportunity, and make it possible to remain in their homes.
The Municipal Charter Review
The town charter is our municipal constitution, setting the structure and powers of our local institutions and elected roles. Every decade, we get to review and revise the charter to meet our current needs. The current review process has leveraged the brilliance and imagination of our neighbors to advance fantastic ideas to improve transparency and accountability. AndI led the charge to ensure the new human rights commission would be enshrined in our foundational document, ensuring that our community ensures equity and respect for all of our residents regardless of heritage or the color of one’s skin
In addition to the charter, which will be on the ballot on November 2, along with a list of community suggestions that did not fit within the charter’s scope will be referred to the Town Council for consideration. The Council will need to review, deliberate, and vote on each of these proposals—many of which have tremendous merit. This is a crucial opportunity for government reform and innovation.
An Inclusive Watertown
Watertown is an increasingly diverse community, particularly in the past decade. It’s vital that we make sure that everyone feels welcome, heard, and empowered to advocate for their own well-being. This challenge manifests itself across our whole town, from the municipal government to the schools, from our neighborhoods to our businesses.
As chair of the Personnel and Town Organization Committee, we will commission a study to review the status and future of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our municipal government. How do our non-elected officials manage these differences? Do they need more training and support? Are all residents treated with equal consideration? I have been scheduling listening sessions with groups that prioritize these issues. Our goal is to foster a welcoming environment for all residents as our close-knit community continues to grow and change.
Smart climate policy begins on the local level. In order to ensure that Watertown remains a livable community, we must take efforts to both counteract the larger climate trends while also building resiliency for the foreseeable impacts. Moving toward sustainability at the local level is a crucial dimension of the larger effort to create a sustainable economy, a healthy society, and a livable future for our children and grandchildren.
With my leadership on the Town Council, our community has the option to receive 100% renewable electricity in their homes and every single one of Watertown’s new schools will meet net-zero emission standards. I have advocated for improvements in our infrastructure that will benefit our local environment, such as more effective and comprehensive recycling, improving our stormwater infrastructure, and increasing our tree canopy coverage. In my next term, I plan to advocate for more electric vehicle charging stations and to strengthen our town’s Climate Action Plan, which is the municipal plan to achieve net-neutral emissions across town within the next quarter century.
Public health has taken a spotlight role since March 2020, and COVID-19 has made the importance of public health leadership clearer than ever—particularly in the absence of effective guidance from the Governor’s office. We have also been navigating a decades-long struggle with opioid addiction in our community as well as a coming crisis of elder care.
It is urgent that Watertown increase the level of funding and institutional support for our public health department and infrastructure. Additional resources will help us face the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, alleviate the worst impacts of the opioid crisis, ensure that our elderly neighbors are safe and healthy in their homes for as long as they are able to remain, and prepare our community to face unknown future public health challenges.
Arts Committee and Cultural District
As we saw at the Arts Festival this summer as well as the Yard Art initiative, Watertown has a thriving arts community! Art enriches our lives and creates a more vibrant community life. The Council has voted to establish a new arts committee that will advance public arts projects. With my fellow councilors and many community members, I am also working to establish a Watertown Cultural District, which would bring state funding as well as grant opportunities to support our local arts institutions and artists.
Public Early Child Care Program
The pandemic has revealed childcare as a piece of vital infrastructure for our economy. Yet the cost of private daycare remains an incredible burden to working parents of young children, disproportionately hurting women and low-income families. With its strong growth and financial sure footing, Watertown is positioned to envision a new public service for our community: universal public daycare.
It will likely take years of planning and advocacy to make this a reality, but I believe it will support our neighbors and friends, create a more equitable and inclusive community, and ensure Watertown’s economic future.
There’s a lot to get done in the next two years. But I can’t do any of this without your help. Can you consider a donation to support my campaign today?