Sunday, July 14, 2024

For the Cambridge Citizens Coalition

A warm thank you and congratulations to all the newly elected City Council and School Committee members. And a huge thanks to everyone who ran in these elections. Elections are an individual and a team event. Our citywide voting system with its complicated “at large” selection process of transfer votes makes elections difficult for candidates and voters alike. This year we were fortunate to have so many talented and accomplished individuals running from all parts of the city and being endorsed by various groups. It speaks to how important we all feel governance issues are. Running for election is mentally and physically exhausting work for candidates and supporters. The process is made even more nerve-wracking since the final results are rarely clear during the course of the campaign until the final tally is announced.

We are happy to have advanced our mission this year by increasing our numbers on the City Council – retaining two great incumbents and adding two extraordinary newcomers. Several of our council candidates also were endorsed by other groups. 2023 was our first foray into the School Committee election, and we are delighted to have two remarkable individuals succeed – an incumbent and a newcomer. All these candidates ran extraordinary campaigns. 

As we think back on this election, what stands out are the wonderful experiences we all had along the way. Walking the streets of this incredibly dense city and its beautiful and diverse neighborhoods, knocking on doors and talking to potential voters makes one realize how little most people know about what is happening in the city and how important it is to get more involved. When one meets another canvasser or candidate along the way, one puts aside differences over policy issues and enjoys a fellow campaigner and what we have in common. This was true during the long hours at the polling places around the city. We remember not only the warm conversations with supporting and competing candidates, but also with their families, friends and supporters. Those hours are some of the things that we all will cherish most. 

Thank you to everyone who ran for elected office in 2023: A special thank you to those who did not win this year. Each of you was part of the larger process of helping other candidates who share some or most of your views. Thank you to the candidates who agreed to be part of our and other group endorsements. Without you none of the endorsement groups would have been successful. Thank you to the many advocacy group leaders and workers. This is not easy work. Thank you to the many family members of candidates and campaign workers alike. Your support and willingness to give up critical time with those you love helped to make this election possible. Thanks to the Election Commission, polling workers and police officers who kept the process working and polling places open – making it possible for us to cast our votes. Thank you especially to all the voters of Cambridge who made the effort to vote, whether by mail-in ballot, early voting or in person.

Cambridge is a truly extraordinary city. We are fortunate to have the opportunity every two years to try to make it the best place possible for all our residents. 

Suzanne Preston Blier is a Harvard Professor who teaches a course on Cambridge history and civic matters and also leads several groups in the city.