Our grassroots team and I have been meeting with residents, knocking on doors across Cambridge and listening to the issues that matter most to fellow community members. Here are some of the issues.
Stable and Affordable Housing
I’ve fought hard to protect and expand affordable housing and will continue to do so. As the former Public Policy Director for Boston District 7, I successfully:
- Organized legislative hearings and facilitated conversations among tenant advocates, landlords, and lawyers. We reached a landmark agreement that is a model for protecting affordable housing.
- Mediated an election of a public housing tenant council, which created a structure to represent and advocate for residents’ needs.
- Co-initiated a community-driven effort that brought together over 150 community members to advocate for urban development that benefits all residents.
These experiences have given me valuable insights into the complex issues around housing affordability and stability. Skyrocketing housing costs are threatening the fabric and diversity of our community. Working together, I believe Cambridge has the tools and resources to do better and lead.
I will work to:
- Expand affordable housing for lower-to middle-income households by including moderate to middle income housing in the inclusionary zoning requirement. To achieve housing affordability and stability, developers, nonprofit and government must work together to build diverse housing options and preserve affordable housing;
- Build affordable university housing to help students and to alleviate housing pressure;
- Ensure a robust community benefits agreement negotiation for new development;
- Support a real estate transfer tax, increase linkage fees, tenant protections for no-fault evictions, and other mechanisms to meet our diverse housing needs and strengthen neighborhoods;
- Create an Office of Housing Stability to provide assistance and resources to residents and landlords;
- Collaborate with neighboring cities and towns to pursue and implement regional housing solutions.
I believe that a healthy community is one in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. I've spent years working with diverse communities as an advocate, entrepreneur, and policy director towards this vision.
We see our city booming with development and innovation from Kendall to Alewife. At the same time, we see our city becoming more expensive and feel that no matter how hard we work the hopes of remaining here, raising a family or growing a small business are becoming more out of reach. We need to change this. We need leadership that will listen, be responsive, reach out to those whose voices aren’t often heard, and work together to close the disparities in access.
I will work to:
- Build a stronger workforce development pipeline for youth and adults by increasing partnerships with higher education, research and nonprofit organizations, and engaging the business community to connect youth and adults with better jobs that pay a living wage;
- Create a Small Business & Entrepreneur Resource Center to provide resources, guidance, mentorship, and advocacy to small businesses, entrepreneurs, workers’ co-ops, and women and minority-owned businesses in order to dismantle barriers;
- Provide seed funding to entrepreneurs, workers’ co-ops and small businesses by exploring new finance models. This can help us close the gap in access to capital;
- Expand municipal broadband because high-speed internet is essential to finding jobs and increasing access;
- Expand access to quality early childcare so that families have a chance to climb up the ladder of opportunity. I will explore government, non-profit and business partnerships, local revenue sources, transit-oriented locations, and expanding childcare hours to accommodate low-wage workers and working families to make this happen.
Sustainable Community Development & Growth
As Director of Public Policy, I partnered with diverse communities on initiatives relating to housing, education, transportation and economic development.
From these community engagement experiences, I strongly believe that it’s vital to approach development and sustainable growth with an equitable community-driven process so that everyone has greater opportunity to participate in and benefit from decisions that shape their neighborhoods.
I will work to:
- Create a community-led engagement process for short- and long-term development and infrastructure goals. This will ensure that all residents, businesses, and institutions can have a say in the decisions being made—including small businesses and those historically underrepresented, such as communities of color, women, low-income communities, immigrant communities, students, and people with disabilities;
- Require new development projects to dedicate space for locally-owned businesses and include a community engagement process to attract goods and services that serve the needs and demand in the neighborhood;
- Give preference to locally-owned businesses in publicly owned buildings;
- Ensure that city government reflects our diverse community and residents.
Climate and Environmental Justice
I’m committed to ensuring that our at-risk areas and populations are not disproportionately impacted by climate change and environmental threats. As Cambridge grows and our climate changes rapidly--with sea level rise, flooding, and extreme weather (from storms to heat waves), we must continue our commitment to sustainability.
It’s critical that we emphasize environmental justice so that all residents have access to healthy neighborhoods with clean air and water, open community space and playgrounds, public transit, alternative renewable energy, jobs and services.
I will work to:
- Strengthen Cambridge’s commitment to sustainability by expanding outreach and education about the Net-Zero Action Plan, Climate Change Preparedness & Resilience (CCPR) Plan, and the Curbside Compost Pilot;
- Track and expand quality green jobs and training programs—especially for our socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbors;
- Make renewable energy more affordable by exploring new funding models. We can bring Cambridge closer to being a 100% renewable energy and Net-Zero city by supporting carbon offset projects for community gardens, open-green space and tree plantings, retaining rainwater; and, pursue other sustainability projects;
- Address climate change and resiliency preparedness by collaborating with neighboring cities and agencies.
Transit and Access
As a pedestrian, cyclist, and driver, I am committed to ensuring that we have safe streets, walkable neighborhoods, and a comprehensive bike and delivery network. We need to be efficient with our street space and make alternative modes of transportation more viable for all.
As developments—such as those in Alewife, Central Square, and Kendall Square—increase population and traffic congestion, we need a resilient infrastructure that can handle our capacity needs, maintain safety for all commuters, and promote our goals for a Vision-Zero and Net-Zero city.
At the same time, we must also look at transit and access issues with an equity lens to ensure that everyone—including people with disabilities, seniors, youth, immigrants, people of color, and low-income populations—have affordable, reliable, and sustainable transportation options near their homes in order to get to work, take their children to school and parks, and get to the grocery store, place of worship, or doctor’s office.
I will work to:
- Prioritize transit-oriented development with diverse jobs, services, activities, and housing near transit hubs. This will decrease the burden of traveling and the reliance on cars while reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
- Make walking and biking more viable forms of transportation with a complete network of protected bike lanes and safe sidewalks;
- Create an action plan to support and manage pedestrian, bike, and vehicular traffic, reduce congestion, support local businesses, and maintain safety through making short-, medium-, and long-term improvements.
Investing in Our Future
As an immigrant whose family resettled in Kansas after living in two refugee camps, I know first-hand how important childcare and education are to success. Because of this and my experience as a young parent, I’m passionate about ensuring that every child has a strong start and equitable access to opportunities.
I will work to:
- Increase funding for quality, affordable early child-care and universal public pre-K education. Investment in early childhood education gives every child a strong start, saves communities money in the long term, and reduces homelessness, hunger, poverty, and crime.
- Increase out-of-school time enrichment opportunities such as STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) internships by collaborating with local universities, institutions and entrepreneurs;
- Give parents and teachers the support and resources they need to strengthen the cradle to career pipeline for success from junior-K through high school.