E. Denise Simmons for City Council, 2021
Incumbent first elected in 2001 and seeking her 11th term in office
Background: Small business | Focuses: Small business, interfaith communities, housing
From A Better Cambridge, Sept. 19: What’s the No. 1 strategy or policy you want the next City Council to pursue on housing?
I do have a large number of priorities I want to achieve. But if I was forced to choose just one, it would be choosing our next city manager – one that has my commitment to creating affordable housing and increasing the ability of longtime Cambridge residents from all walks of life and all incomes to remain as part of our bright, vibrant community. I want to choose someone who demonstrates a real commitment to reasonable, pragmatic and collaborative governance to address our affordable-housing issues, our public safety concerns and our equity issues.
From the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition: How would you increase the diversity of voices on city projects and as members of Cambridge boards and committees?
The pandemic opened an avenue for civic engagement by allowing people to participate remotely even if they had young children at home or might be tethered to their jobs or to caretaking. There are still too many people locked out of our public discussions and viewpoints not being taken into consideration. I’ve been working with civic engagement specialists who suggest creating a “civic engagement czar” to more methodically meet the people where they are, including by cultivating neighborhood ambassadors to spread and solicit information and to bring more people into the conversation. I would push for this to become a reality in the coming term.