Monday, June 24, 2024

Vice mayor Alanna Mallon, second from left, with her family in a photo released Thursday with an announcement she would not run for reelection.

The first public announcement for November elections is out – and it’s word that vice mayor Alanna Mallon has decided against running for reelection.

“After months of careful thought and reflection, I have decided not to seek another term,” Mallon said in a Thursday email. “As you can imagine, this was an extremely difficult decision to make.”

There was no specific reason cited in the email. Later, by phone, she confirmed there was really none to cite – no specific signal or new development that convinced her to end her time on the council. “It’s been six years serving, including during Covid, and that was incredibly challenging in many ways,” Mallon said. “Those two years took a lot out of all of us. It’s very different serving the public now.”

In addition to the council, Mallon has been working with a hunger nonprofit “to make sure kids have enough to eat,” and that work continues to take up a lot of her energy, she said.

Mallon first ran for and was elected to the council in 2017 after founding the Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program to feed hungry schoolchildren, working as a program director at the Food for Free nonprofit and serving as education liaison for the final mayoral term of councillor David Maher. She has served as vice mayor for the current and prior term.

As a candidate, she never set a limit on how long she would serve, Mallon said Thursday, but six years seemed like enough.

“While I am not sure what the next chapter of my life looks like, I know that after a decade of committing to this community that I love, service will be a big part of what is next,” Mallon said in her email.

In addition to her focus on hunger and constituent services, Mallon became known as the “arts councillor,” chairing a Mayor’s Arts Task Force, fighting for funding for creative nonprofits struggling to survive during the Covid pandemic and asking sharp questions around former leadership at the Multicultural Arts Center in East Cambridge – though her questions could be sharp on any number of topics.

With councillor Sumbul Siddiqui being elected mayor at the start of the 2020-2021 term, then reelected as councillor and mayor, Mallon has had four years as vice mayor and partnered with Siddiqui on a podcast, “Women Are Here,” which was produced at Cambridge Community Television starting in January 2018.

“She has been a great work best friend, and we’ve been lucky to have a public servant like her on the City Council,” Siddiqui said by phone on Thursday. “She works tremendously hard, and has for the past six years.” (On social media, that was phrased as: “I couldn’t have asked for a better work bestie!”)

Siddiqui said she wasn’t “blindsided” by the announcement, but left further details on the decision to Mallon.

“I look forward to finishing out this term, and working hard to complete the initiatives that I have started with my City Council colleagues, local partners and city staff,” Mallon said in her email. “Serving this community on the Cambridge City Council has been an incredible honor, and representing my constituency has been deeply rewarding in so many unimaginable ways. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity.”

“Whether it was through large progressive policy changes, or direct constituent services, impacting the shape of our collective and individual futures was a gift that I will never be able to repay,” Mallon said. “I want to express my deepest gratitude to the voters of Cambridge for putting your trust in me for the past six years. I also want to publicly thank my family for supporting me in this endeavor without reservation, for always having my back and for making a collective sacrifice to ensure I always had what was needed to be successful in this position.”