Candidate for Ward Councilor, Ward 6
Campaign Website: https://www.marthabixby.org/Biographical statement
Martha Bixby co-founded Newton Neighbors, coaches her son’s Newton Youth Soccer team, is a member of the Ward 6 Democratic Committee, and is active in Safe Routes to School. Martha is running to bring an inclusive, community-focused voice to our city government.
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 am running because I love and I am deeply committed to our Ward 6 villages and neighborhoods. I care about the stop signs and potholes and playgrounds in our neighborhoods and would ensure they are repaired and maintained. The small businesses that make up our village centers are the lifeblood of our community, and I would work tirelessly to support them. Through my work with Newton Neighbors, the Mason-Rice PTO, and many other Newton organizations and initiatives, I’ve seen the generosity, creativity, and energy of people in Newton and the challenges people face everyday.
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?
Increasing affordable housing is a top priority. Zoning can provide structures to put in place more affordable housing opportunities and pathways for nonprofit developers to create affordable housing. By eliminating requirements minimums for unnecessary and unused parking spaces we can also keep the cost of creating new affordable housing lower and reduce our environmental impact. By creating a diversity of housing options - for retirees looking to downsize, families just starting out, deeply affordable housing, and workforce housing, we can create more opportunities for residents to find the right fit for them, right here in Newton.
Question 3: Small businesses are the heart of our economy and they are struggling. How can you help the city support these businesses?
The small businesses are what make our village centers special. I would: -Explore formula business ordinances or other mechanisms to ensure business diversity in our village centers; -Hear from local businesses and remove unnecessary restrictions and barriers to opening a business; support zoning that allows for more residences near our village centers - more built in customers - and smaller commercial plot sizes which is conducive to smaller, local business -Work in creative ways, such as outdoor dining, and support popups and food trucks as entry points for small business ownership; -Talk to business owners to hear from them.
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?
Our energy coach and volunteers work hard to connect people with the best plans for their residence and the incentives available. We can continue to support and amplify these efforts, while adding in requirements for audits and weatherization at purchase or renovation. Additionally, we must recognize that 8% of our total City emissions come just from gas leaks. This is why I would support banning natural gas hookups on new construction and requiring the utilities to do more to repair and prevent leaks. I am also very supportive of the new green school building projects.