Craig Kelley for City Council, 2017

101413i-Craig-KelleyBorn in Wellesley, incumbent city councillor Craig Kelley went to the University of Rochester on an NROTC scholarship. He made dean’s list, got a bachelor’s degree in history and won the NROTC leadership award. After college, Craig served in the Marine Corps for four and a half years, seeing such faraway places as the Southern California desert, the Philippines and Malaysia. It was during these travels that he became interested in environmental issues, realizing that reducing poverty would decrease the likelihood of military conflict in developing nations. Less than four weeks after resigning his Marine Corps commission, Craig was knocking on doors for Greenpeace.

From Greenpeace, he moved on to Boston College Law School, where he served as chairman of the Environmental Law Society. He graduated cum laude in 1993 and earned the Susan B. Desmaris award for Public Service Achievement and Leadership for his work on environmental issues at school.

After law school, he became an environmental consultant and married his wife, Hope. They live with their two sons in North Cambridge, where Kelley was a leader of the North Cambridge Stabilization Committee and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve the Alewife floodplain, promote environmental issues and develop affordable housing throughout Cambridge. He was first elected to the City Council in 2005 and has since earned a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Compiled from the candidate’s words in publicly available sources.


Some top priorities

bullet-gray-small Bringing the legacy systems of an old city, both logistical and bureaucratic, into the 21st century to best accommodate the emerging “delivery economy,” promoting citywide high speed Internet, mitigating our joint carbon footprint, expanding housing opportunities and supporting changes in personal transportation toward more sustainable options.

bullet-gray-small Building a resilient city where physical infrastructure investments and social cohesion strategies empower the most vulnerable members of our population to successfully navigate a wide variety of immediate challenges, ranging from fiscal insecurity to flooding to educational equity.

bullet-gray-small Helping public safety professionals, especially law enforcement, adjust to the challenges and incorporate the opportunities, of our newly politically charged, technology-focused and data-driven world without sacrificing our civil liberties to overly aggressive surveillance efforts. We ask our police to fight crime and do social work, and we need to make sure we are training and supporting them properly to carry out these very different functions.

Excerpted from Scout Cambridge. Read the complete profile here.


This page had long been a supporter and endorser of Craig Kelley, whose iconoclasm and willingness to stand alone (and look ahead) on certain issues meant advice four years ago that his fellow councillors should listen to him more and that “even voters in the most anti-incumbent of moods may well find Kelley a candidate to keep.” But the past election, when he switched political personas from “Councillor No” to something a little more politically mainstream and collaborative, also switched that up; assessing behavior leading up to that Election Day showed behavior that didn’t seem evolved so much as it seemed  hypocritical – and deceptive.

This past term has been less problematic, and we like a continued focus on the future and emerging technology that has inspired Kelley to bring surveillance and Airbnb policies to committee for comprehensive discussion. He wins points also for his consistent advocacy on bicycle safety issues, and his tireless communication with constituents on issues that matter to him most.

Yet, aside from Airbnb regulation, what policy achievements did he tout on the campaign trail? A ban on smoking on construction sites (which, granted, would have prevented last year’s catastrophic Berkeley Street fire) and a fight against invasive bamboo. He downplayed his role on the council with good humor: “You don’t need a council of nine Craig Kelleys … but you do need one Craig Kelley, who is willing to work with eight other people and also city staff and citizens and other interested parties to investigate what is going on in the world, what our opportunities and what our challenges are and work together to a collaborative solution.” But that sounds like a basic set of skills for any councillor.

It’s like Kelley has gone from Councillor No to Councillor Meh, with little record to run on – basically a challenge for voters to build their own argument for ranking him on the ballot out of accomplishments he portrays so modestly and those things to which he still gives at least a qualified Kelley “no.” He doesn’t seek endorsements, for instance, and spends less on his campaign that many other candidates.

Some voters may want more of a legislative record to boast about, more fire in the belly or both when they rank their candidates.

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