Candidate for Councilor at Large, Ward 6
Campaign Website: https://www.aliciabowman.org/Biographical statement
In four years on the Council, I have supported safer streets, more housing, especially affordable housing and housing that accommodates seniors and people with disabilities, and greener buildings. I have worked closely with residents and councilors to resolve issues and make Newton even better.
Questions and Answers
Question 1: Was your motivation to run for office prompted by an issue which impacts the community that is not being adequately addressed?
I ran in 2019 because we needed more councilors focused on moving Newton forward. I was frustrated with too little action being taken on the most important issues of our time, housing, transportation, and the climate. I recognized that these issues are complicated, but also could no longer be put off. I understood the priorities. I could think strategically. I had demonstrated a willingness to work with fellow councilors and residents to develop a shared understanding of the issues and the options. I knew I could build consensus and effectively implement change. My message was well received by voters and I won against a popular incumbent.
Question 2: Housing affordability and its role in increasing racial diversity in Newton has been a stated goal. What measures would you take and support in order to meet this goal?
Creating more housing, especially affordable housing in Newton is important to being a more racially diverse community, helping Newton live up to its obligations under the Fair Housing Law to affirmatively further fair housing. I supported the creation of the Affordable Housing Trust and now serve as the Council appointee to the AHT. The AHT allows the city to take a more active role in the creation of affordable housing and will hopefully enable more deeply affordable units, a critical need in Newton. Village Center zoning will enable more multi-family housing which research shows is a key factor in making a community more racially diverse.
Question 3: Small businesses are the heart of our economy and they are struggling. How can you help the city support these businesses?
Newton’s small businesses are important. We need to make it much easier to launch a new business in Newton by removing outdated rules that significantly slow down the process and can cause businesses to choose other communities. Also, small businesses need customers and they could grow their customer bases with vibrant village centers that include more housing in and around the village resulting in “more feet on the street”. And by creating housing that is attainable to a wider range of income, there is a larger pool of workers for our small businesses. These three important actions are supported by Newton’s Economic Development Commission.
Question 4: Buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Newton. Residential and commercial buildings need to be weatherized and electrified. Relying on voluntary action produces extremely slow progress. What incentives or mandates would you put in place to motivate home owners to weatherize their houses?
I would support mandating an energy audit at the time of sale and building permits triggering upgraded weatherization. Homeowners would be doing more now if the process and benefits were easier to understand, especially the benefits of transitioning to more energy-efficient all-electric HVAC systems and water heaters. The city has an energy coach and knowledgeable volunteers to help residents with the process and two vetted contractors so that residents can feel more confident about making the transition. There are currently many financial incentives and rebates at the state level and federal level to help encourage homeowners to take action.