Thursday, April 18, 2024




Marc McGovern, a fourth-generation Cantabrigian, graduated from Cambridge Rindge & Latin School in 1987 and went on to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After a few years off, he returned to school at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and graduated with a degree in sociology, going on to work as a social worker with special-needs children in foster care before returning to school and earning his master’s degree in social work from Simmons College in 2001. He has worked with at-risk children and families for two decades, as well as serving on the School Committee for four terms.

He was elected to the council in 2013.

Compiled from the candidate’s words in publicly available sources


McGovern is running with the Unity Slate with fellow council incumbents Dennis Benzan, Leland Cheung, Craig Kelley, David Maher, E. Denise Simmons and Tim Toomey.

Top three priorities:

bullet-gray-smallIncome insecurity and poverty. Whether it’s been standing up for worker rights, to looking at increasing the minimum wage, to supporting job training programs and expanding early childhood education or chairing the Mayor’s Commission on Income Insecurity, I have made addressing this issue a cornerstone of my work on the council.
bullet-gray-smallEducation. One of the reasons I ran for council was because after serving eight years on the School Committee, I knew that if we were truly going to close the achievement gap, we needed to provide high-quality, affordable, early childhood education for all – part of why I pushed the city to create an Early Childhood Education Task Force.
bullet-gray-smallAffordable housing. Affordable Housing continues to be the No. 1 issue facing our city. My approach to dealing with this issue is to fight it on many fronts.

Compiled from the candidate’s words in publicly available sources

Ward 6 Democrats endorsement?

Profile YESThe Ward 6 Democrats endorsed nine council candidates this year, choosing only from among registered Democrats and saying it “sought to recommend candidates who would bring the vision, skills and experience most needed to govern Cambridge at this time, regardless of slate affiliation.”

Profile development and affordable housingScore from ABC:

ABC score 2015 McGovernThe residents group A Better Cambridge rated 19 out of 22 candidates for City Council (all who responded to a comprehensive questionnaire) measuring their level of agreement with the group’s “smart growth” platform of development- and transit-focused priorities and goals. In the words of the group, “higher-rated candidates demonstrate a strong understanding of the complex housing and development challenges facing Cambridge [and] are best prepared to make Cambridge a more affordable and livable city for all residents, especially low-income families.” There is a maximum score of 45 points.

CRA endorsement?

Profile NOThe Cambridge Residents Alliance endorsed five council candidates this year. The residents group is focused on development and housing affordability issues and opposes projects it feels will gentrify neighborhoods or add to traffic and transit congestion. Its endorsed candidates were those it felt would “allow real planning”; refused campaign donations from “large developers”; and vowed to work for a citywide development master plan that prevented “overdevelopment and displacement.”

Profile one view of the candiate

McGovern has been a good city councillor and representative to and for the city, and should be reelected for a second term.

His background in education and social work has been a boon to the council several times in the past term, and so has his commitment to a public process and willingness to engage in dialogue – which is why it’s painful to hear him engage in demagoguery instead on the campaign trail such as his criticism of councillors who voted against a large-development zoning proposal in Central Square with comments such as “when the rubber hits the road, you do find out who’s really in favor of affordable housing, and it’s the people who back it up with their votes and it’s the people who are willing to compromise and it’s the people who are willing to negotiate.”

Much preferable is the McGovern who voted to help constituents understand the workings of the License Commission and keep it aboveboard and equitable for all; and the McGovern who was the voice of rationality on the so-called Carlone petition, which aided Planning Board reform, despite voting against it. “If I thought this petition would lead us to better place, believe me I would be supporting it. It would be the easiest thing in the world to do,” McGovern said, referring to the number of people he knew who supported the petition. “But I do think it has done a very important thing – of raising conversation about these issues. I want to assure people, we are listening.”

Also worthy of returning to the council is the McGovern who is honest about the failings of the council, so the council can do better in the future. Too few city officials – far, far, far too few throughout all of Cambridge – are willing to admit a mistake. So even when McGovern does something as simple as admit the errors of 2003 in 2015, it counts for a lot.

Let that be the McGovern coming back to the council for the next two years to keep up the good work, collegially, no matter who’s reelected with him.