My Personal Statement
Today, I declared myself a candidate to become Mayor of Somerville and formally began my campaign. I am excited about campaigning in every neighborhood of the City and energized by the prospect of serving the people of this diverse and dynamic city. As a lifelong resident of Somerville, becoming Mayor of our City will be the capstone of years of personal commitment and professional dedication to advancing social justice and to making our community a better place to live.
As Mayor, I will continue to advance our vision of creating an equitable City that is safe, welcoming, inclusive, and vibrant. It is the local decisions we make that determine our quality of life in Somerville.
For the last year, I devoted all of my waking hours to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. As Chief Community Officer of our City’s safety-net healthcare system, the Cambridge Health Alliance, I was in the trenches with community organizations, public officials, the business community, and countless selfless individuals organizing healthcare, Covid education, food, and essential services to the people of Somerville. As challenging and, too often, heartbreaking as this work has been, it has inspired me to serve in a broader way; I want to harness our collective kindness, innovation, and intelligence to eliminate hunger in our City, ensure that mental health services are available to everyone in need of care and support, enact innovative legislation that will incentivize multi-family homeowners and developers to provide affordable housing and nurture local Somerville businesses that will thrive in the new economy. There is an overarching need to address structural racism, the digital divide, green space, climate, and environmental pollution, and we need more substance use treatment and supportive services in policing.
I envision a city that endeavors to treat every person – young, old, documented or undocumented immigrant, LGBTQ+, Black people, Asian people, Latinos/as, and folks of all abilities, with whom we are blessed to share our City - with respect, kindness, and compassion.
My commitment to advancing and elevating our City, however, is not just borne out from my professional life; it has been molded by my personal life. I was raised in East Somerville by a single mother because my father was incarcerated for life when I was young. Poverty and economic and ethnic discrimination were indelible threads in the lives of our friends and neighbors. But so was family, hope, caring neighbors, and city and non-profit programs for kids, adolescents, and the elderly. Thanks to my mother, engagement in progressive movements has always been part of my life. Whether it was support for the farmworkers boycott, blocking bulldozers trying to raze homes to build I-93, or building community support for the first health clinic in East Somerville, we served and sacrificed for progressive movements. I was fortunate to be the first in my family to attend university and earn my undergraduate degree and master’s degree in public administration.
I have worked since I was 14 years old. As a teenager, I worked in the Somerville library. I was a social worker in the Somerville school system. I directed the Somerville Council on Aging and 60+ Health Center, and I was the City Auditor in the Brune administration. For the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I served in the Dukakis administration as the chief administrative and financial head of the Executive Office of Housing and Community Development and later in the Patrick administration as an Assistant Secretary in the Executive Office of Health and Human services. Between those positions, I was the Administrative Dean at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and I co-chaired the Joint Commission on the Status of Women at Harvard Medical School.
I have chaired the Somerville Affordable Housing Task Force for many years and I helped pass the Community Preservation Act. When we needed to pass the override to allow for the construction of our new high school, I served on the Ballot Committee to ensure a better future for our students and schools.
So now, with the encouragement of many in Somerville, I have decided to run for mayor. I am inspired to serve, I have the executive experience to achieve results, I understand the struggles that so many of us face and I care deeply and intensely for our City.I have the energy, vision, and optimism to lead us into the next exciting chapter of Somerville, as our City’s next mayor.