Candidate for Councilor at Large, Ward 1Biographical statement
I grew up and attended school in Newton and both my children are recent NNHS graduates. I am an environmentalist at my core and I served on the board and as VP of the Newton Conservators. I currently work as a program manager for a non-profit that works on ending homelessness.
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?
When I first ran for office in 2013, I was motivated by the threat of climate change and we were not doing enough as a city to address it. We have come a long way since then but there is still much to do. My motivation to run this year is to continue to work on zoning reform, which also intersects closely with the goals of increasing multifamily housing, building a more resilient community and meeting our climate goals. I am also committed to safer, multimodal streets, preserving and improving green spaces and improvements to parks and playing fields.
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?
I support zoning reform to allow more density/mixed use in village centers. This was recently passed in the Zoning and Planning Committee and I don't want to see it watered down any further on the floor of the Council. I am in full support of the MBTA Community Law which requires communities served by the MBTA, including Newton to zone for multifamily housing by right. I support a new docket item to review our inclusionary zoning ordinance to see if we can make it more robust.
Question 3: Small businesses are the heart of our economy and they are struggling. How can you help the city support these businesses?
Getting more feet on the street is one way to help. Adding more housing units in and around our village centers will bring more local customers. Allowing outdoor dining on public ways, creating more public gathering spaces and creating safe walking and biking paths are all helpful to attracting customers to our local shops. In addition, I would support a special fund to assist local businesses who are displaced by development or need a temporary space due to construction.
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?
As Chair, of PF I helped to craft the Home Rule Petition to prohibit new gas hookups to buildings. I support a wide range of reforms, at the State level, including making changes to GSEP, which currently incentivizes the wholesale replacement of gas mains, without considering repair. I support An Act relative to intervenors and utility work HB. 3137. This bill would be a game for municipalities like Newton who are struggling with their aging, leaky gas infrastructure. We need better incentivizes to transition homes to all electric & heat pump technology. The Mass Save Program should should be administered by DOER not the utilities.