2023 Candidate for Ward Councilor, Ward 7
Campaign Website: https://www.counclorbaker.orgBiographical statement
I am seeking my 21st term as the Ward Alderman for Ward 7. I am also a law professor at Suffolk University Law School. For more information, please go to my campaign website, www.councilorbaker.org.
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 for re-election because I value helping constituents with problems where my knowledge and experience with City government can be of aid to them. In addition, my long Council service has enabled me to provide some institutional memory and knowledge of Council procedures valuable in the Council’s work, such as voting for funding to preserve open space, like Webster Woods, or preserving historic sites and structures, like the Durant-Kenrick Homestead.
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 supported changes in our Inclusionary Zoning ordinance to help make new housing development itself more affordable and would be open to further work along those lines. I also voted to support the creation and funding of the Newton Affordable Housing Trust and anticipate continuing to support its funding.
Question 3: Small businesses are the heart of our economy and they are struggling. How can you help the city support these businesses?
I am supportive of helping small businesses work with the Planning Department to find usable space they can afford. Where appropriate, I also support allowing simpler zoning review when businesses turn over, as we did in a large property in Newton Centre. I also support efforts to encourage Newton residents to shop locally when they have a choice.
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 voted for funding for City staff to advise residents about a variety of energy conservation options, including weatherization, a process we need to continue. I would also consider appropriate conservation incentives, or even requirements, for new construction.