080513i-Dennis-Benzan

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Benzan grew up in Columbia Terrace, graduated from Cambridge Rindge & Latin School in 1990 and went to Howard University and the Roger Williams School of Law. He worked his way through college as a carpenter and builder while squeezing in time to direct the City of Cambridge Youth Summer Jobs Program in the early to mid-’90s. He is a lawyer at Altman & Altman in Cambridge and local homeowner. He is the father of 6-year-old twins, India and Matteo, and the husband of Tanya Bacci-Benzan, an upper school vice principal in Cambridge. He has a brother who is a Cambridge police officer, and another brother managing restaurants in the Boston area.

He has been a community organizer for the Cambridge Algebra Project, which promotes math literacy, but his first experience organizing was in high school, when he formed Students Against Violence and for Equality in response to the violent death in the community of two young men, Jessie McKie and Rigoberto Carriòn.

Compiled from the candidate’s words in publicly available sources

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Our take Benzan

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Benzan’s top three priorities:

bullet-gray-smallSTEM-based education and job training.

bullet-gray-smallAffordable housing for all income levels.

bullet-gray-smallIncreased safety measures in our public spaces.

I will ensure that every one of our residents can share in the tremendous economic growth, innovation and cultural richness of our city. As our city continues to grow, we must prioritize connecting our corporate and our residential communities. I will also fight for our seniors and make sure the council can provide them with the help and support they deserve.

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On local business:

Condensed and edited from responses given to Cambridge Local First

I will support initiatives that give small businesses a greater chance at having more access to capital and will look to remove barriers to the growth of small businesses in our creative economy and prioritize establishing a startup clearinghouse to support new companies and connect them with talent. Furthermore, I support the development of local talent through science, technology, engineering and math training.

As a lifelong resident, I have observed the demise of local mom-and-pop businesses. I will look to support the expansion of mom-and-pop business into our developing squares through the development of small retail space.

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Benzan on the issues

From Cambridge Community Television

Inclusionary housing:

City governance: