Sunday, May 26, 2024

As the calendar turns to 2020 and a new City Council gets ready to be sworn in, I have been reflecting on the work of the Mayor’s Office over the past two years. There were certainly some challenging times. We had divisive conversations on affordable housing in our neighborhoods and racism in our public schools, and we gathered for far too many vigils.

Despite these trials, much was accomplished. We opened the first warming center for the homeless, providing shelter to hundreds during the winter months. We launched the Immigrant Legal Defense Fund, helping to support local immigrants with legal advice and representation. We brought free breakfast to every public school student and expanded free lunch to hundreds. We brought the Pathways program to Cambridge to help young adults find jobs in the trade unions to help them move from poverty to well-paying careers. We partnered with Dr. Darnisa Amante for Cambridge Digs Deep, a series of community conversation on race and white privilege in our city. We authored first-in-the-nation ordinances on surveillance and bike infrastructure, both now serving as models for other cities across the country. We created road maps for dealing with tenant displacement, the arts and substance use disorder. And maybe most importantly of all, we helped hundreds of individuals with issues from housing to jobs to addiction to hunger.

In Cambridge’s political system, once the council is elected in November, the internal race for mayor begins. While I am eager to carry on my work, I have decided to throw my support behind my colleague and friend Sumbul Siddiqui for mayor. Over and above her tremendous results in the past two elections, I believe her deep connections to the community, commitment to our most vulnerable and the leadership she has shown on the council are the ingredients for an excellent mayor. I also believe that as our city and schools continue to address issues of race in our community, having a mayor who can see these issues through a personal lens and who co-sponsored the Cambridge Digs Deep series with me will be vitally important to these conversations.

As I return to the council, my commitment to social and economic justice will not change. As a social worker of 25 years, this has been my life’s work. I will continue to address issues of affordable housing, substance use disorder, homelessness, income insecurity, immigration, early childhood education, climate and constituent services. Cambridge is an amazing city and there is a great deal to be proud of, but we also have a lot of work to do if everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, ZIP code or sexual identity has equal opportunity to access the prosperity that surrounds us. I remain committed to this work.

I want to thank my staff, past and present, for all their support on the above issues and so many more. I want to thank my colleagues for giving me this opportunity and for their hard work over the past term. I want to thank the city manager, his team and all the support staff who make our city run every day, but who rarely get the appreciation they deserve. And of course, I want to thank my family – especially Mary Anne, my wife – and my children Nicolas, William, Connor, and Addison, who have made this all possible.

I look forward to a productive next two years and will continue to work hard for the people of Cambridge.

Marc McGovern is mayor of Cambridge.