Candidate for Councilor at Large, Ward 3
Campaign Website: https://www.andreakelley.orgBiographical statement
I'm a 40+ year resident of Newton, mother of three adult children, grandmother of three cuties. A landscape architect and site planner by training, with long time community involvement including being the 1st Open Space Coordinator, PTO president, and League of Women Voters Board member.
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?
Initially I was inspired to run for elected office while watching the Trump/Clinton debates. It was clear that there was a need for thoughtful, balanced consideration on local matters too. That issue was and still is civil discourse, and the importance of hearing varying views in a productive way. Civility and the ability to hear other views without hatred and personal attacks is something many of us still value. This affects our entire community around almost every topic. Many of us have hoped to change that but the divisiveness seems to only be increasing, with attacks, false and misleading information.
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?
Diverse and affordable housing options has been the backbone of my community service for over 30 years. Finding a variety of ways to meet this need is one of Newton's major challenges. For larger developments, a % of the units must be affordable. We now have an Affordable Housing Trust, which has funds for this purpose. More housing overall helps create homes that then create availability for people to stay in Newton such as seniors, or enter Newton as workforce residents, or young families. DEI and Racial Justice efforts like FORJ are important to increase racial diversity, and lowering the local preference percentage helps also.
Question 3: Small businesses are the heart of our economy and they are struggling. How can you help the city support these businesses?
The mixed use zoning that is under consideration now for village centers will help by allowing first floor retail with residential above, a plan to ensures residents have nearby and walkable places to shop, and ensures that those businesses have customers with easy access to them. More housing means more residents and more customers. For disruption during construction of new development, the City can look to assist with temporary relocation of businesses, transportation for customers, deferment or reduced rate on taxes to help businesses stay afloat during that times. The #DineLocal campaign and outdoor dining should remain.
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?
Insulating and air sealing are effective measures to take. MassSave offers free energy assessments, has incentives and discounts for energy efficient upgrades to buildings including new windows and insulation. Massachusetts has solar incentives and programs. Newton's Energy Coach Liora Silkes, is available to talk with residents about how to improve their home or business weatherization situation and reduce energy bills. Heat pump rebates are available. Heat Smart Newton is a community based, volunteer-led, clean heating and cooling initiative to help residents lower energy bills and reduce greenhouse gases. Better awareness is needed.