This coming fall, the voters of Cambridge will have the opportunity to once again select a slate of candidates for the City Council and consider the future direction of our fair city. I reserve my No. 1 vote for the candidate I feel is most exceptionally qualified to be a true leader on the City Council. That candidate is clearly my good friend and former colleague Marc McGovern. Though many friends and qualified candidates are running, Marc stands out for his clear record of collaborative leadership on a host of issues. I can attest to these qualities from the unique vantage point of having worked with Marc on the Cambridge School Committee as a student member from 2003-06.

I met Marc at a Friends of Cambridge Athletes event my freshmen year in high school. With his encouragement, I ran as a student representative to the School Committee, where he continued to mentor me. Marc was able to use his experience to help me draft an order changing the CRLS grading policy and convinced his colleagues to vote for it. He always defended my right to speak, submit motions and have my voice heard. Even when we did disagree, we did so agreeably, and his civility and collaborative approach would often win me over to his side. This ability to build collaboration and consensus has served Marc well on the School Committee, where he has brought needed focus onto the achievement gap, led efforts to restructure our schools to meet that challenge and passed a landmark anti-bullying policy. It also makes him uniquely qualified to be a real leader on the council.

As a fourth generation Cantabrigian, Marc knows our neighborhoods and the people that live in them. Whether you are a lifelong resident like he is, an affluent professional new to this city or a poor immigrant new to this country, Marc will listen. If you have a problem, he will work with you to solve it. Empathetic and collaborative leadership is needed in Cambridge now more than ever. The ability to bridge divides and forge consensus is essential to effective public service. As your city councillor, Marc McGovern will be that public servant, and he deserves your No. 1 vote.

James Conway