2015 Voters Guide: Charter Commission Candidates

About this Voters Guide

Charter Commission candidates were invited to submit a 50-word biographical summary/answer to “why you are seeking this office?” plus a photo and answers to the following questions (75 words maximum each):

  1. What characteristics do you think are important in a charter commission member?
  2. What community involvement and/or experience would you bring to the charter commission?
  3. What are the key areas of the charter you would like to see reviewed?

Download a printable copy: Newton 2015 Voters Guide – Charter Commission

The Village Bank logoThe LWVN 2015 Voters Guide is brought to you through the generous sponsorship of The Village Bank.


photo of Bryan Barash

Bryan Barash | I love Newton and want to ensure that our government and community are prepared to take on the challenges of today and the challenges future generations will face by modernizing our governmental structure in a way that is as efficient and responsive to the people as possible.


photo of Peter Bruce

Peter Bruce | I have a Ph.D. in Political Science from MIT, and taught American Politics for a decade. I also studied survey research at UConn, and was a researcher at its Roper Center. I have since worked as a researcher, writer, and cab driver. I would like to strengthen democracy in Newton.


photo of Miles Fidelman

Miles Fidelman | My wife and I have lived in Newton for 16 years; four of our kids have been through Newton Schools. I’m an MIT-trained engineer, entrepreneur, and policy wonk. I believe we have an opportunity to improve city government, and I have skills & experience to bring to bear.


photo of Jane Frantz

Jane Frantz | I’ve been a teacher at Burr and Williams Schools, NNHS, taught in the English Language Learners program at Countryside School, and have been a longtime community activist in many capacities. I’m running for the charter commission because I believe my skills and strengths are well suited to this position.


photo of Lisa Gordon

Lisa Gordon | Newton is my home—and passion. With over 20 years of business and organizational experience, I routinely volunteer to keep our town safe, clean, and robust, and I believe profoundly in democratic representation. My modest aim: To ensure that Newton remains one of the best places in America to live.


photo of Groot Gregory

Groot Gregory | I am running for the Charter Review Commission to explore ways to improve our City’s governing structure. I can play a positive role during this rare opportunity for Newton to make changes to our government. I was trained as a research scientist with years of business and community service experience.


photo of Peter F Harrington

Peter F. Harrington | Married 56 years, 3 surviving children, 6 grandchildren, practicing attorney in West Newton. I am running to provide continuity and historical balance to our new Charter Commission. Our charter is our compass and a review committee should be free from control of serving public office holders and employees


photo of Howard Haywood

Reverend Howard Haywood | My name is Howard Haywood as a 5th generation I believe my experience on the Planning & Development Board, Newton Housing Authority, Council on Aging and many local non-profit make me uniquely qualified to serve productively on the Commission. I feel obligated and committed to civic engagement.


Linda Jordan Kraus | Newton resident - 38 years • Ward Alderman, Ward 2 - 6 years • Graduate of Stanford, Harvard, B.U., & Endicott • Newton teacher. Public input is key. The process must be transparent. Decisions must be based on data and analysis. My background and experience will help achieve these goals and build consensus.


photo of Rhanna Kidwell

Rhanna Kidwell | I am a 21-year resident of Newton, wife, and mother of two teenagers. I am a longtime advocate for Newton charter reform. I co-chaired the LWV of Newton’s 2009 charter study, and I led the LWVN’s signature drive to get the charter review question on the ballot.


photo of Josh Krintzman

Josh Krintzman | My wife and I grew up in Newton, attending the public schools together. We value the opportunity to raise our three children here. We love our city and constantly seek avenues for contribution. My professional skills and personal interests perfectly prepare me for the responsibilities of the charter commission.


Anne Larner | Newton resident 42 years; 3 children attended Newton Schools; longtime community activist  • MBA in Public Management • Professional: MBTA Advisory Board (fiscal watchdog agency) 15 years, 12 as Executive Director • More: AnneLarner.org • Help guide a community dialogue on the effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of Newton’s current governance and possible alternatives.


Brooke Lipsitt | A resident since childhood, I returned to Newton with my family and have spent the last 20 years in elected or appointed office, working to help Newton reach consensus on issues of importance.  I will apply my skills learned in business, politics, and public service to the Charter review process.


photo of Karen Manning

Karen Manning | I moved to Newton with my family in 2004, and love our city. Over time, I have worked for two global banks and for smaller firms. My professional and parent leadership experiences helped me develop a skill set that would be valuable if I were elected to the Charter Commission.


photo of George Mansfield

George Mansfield | Urban planner, 25+ years in municipal government. 45-year Newton resident, Newton schools parent. Former Board of Aldermen member (26 years). Chaired Land Use, Finance, Public Facilities Committees. Advisor to Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Reform advisory committees. I will use my experience to help shape the third leg of this process.


Megan R. Meirav | We have the opportunity to craft a charter for the future. A charter that should reflect values and ideas from all voices around the city. I will make sure that happens. We will make a blueprint for the future together, one where every village will participate.


photo of Ken Parker

Kenneth R. L. Parker | Policy Experience: Newton Alderman for 18 years. Professional: Intellectual property and business attorney. Personal: Married to Kelly Heffernan Parker; son Ben. Attended Newton Schools. Hobbies: Hiking, Chess, Fencing. I’m running because we have an exciting opportunity to make Newton government more innovative, efficient, and responsive to Newton residents.


photo of Charlie Shapiro

Charlie Shapiro | Newton native, former Alderman, community activist. Married, two children, both graduates of Newton public schools. I seek a position on the Commission to help facilitate a thoughtful, evenhanded review process which will produce a well-constructed charter to serve the residents of Newton into future generations.


photo of Tom Sheff

Tom Sheff | Born and raised in Newton • Graduated Clark University Majored in Government/minored in math • member of Newtv,  GDC, and activist • ex-member of LWV, NDCC and 9-11 Board of director • Previously ran for political positions • Original signature gatherer before LWV/Rhanna Kidwell took over • it's been over 40 years and is due.


photo of Chris Steele

Christopher Steele | The Charter Commission is our once in a generation chance to update our government. I’m an experienced management consultant, helping groups of residents, businesses, and those already in government every day to identify their problems and find ways of doing things better. I have the skills and passion needed.


photo of Kathryn Winters

Kathryn Winters | I am a 15-year resident of Newton (and Boston College graduate). I am an attorney (Georgetown Law) and am actively engaged in the community, currently serving on the Waban Area Council. I look forward to working hard to determine if we can improve our charter.


photo of Wenhua Zhang

Wenhua Zhang | I came to the US from China at the age of 23. I had no money, but this nation gave me a chance to prove myself, and I have had a fulfilling career in finance at Harvard Management Company and Brookside Capital. Now I want to give back and serve the city.

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