Where I stand
As City Councilor At-large, I will work to engage with my neighbors from all over the city to meet the challenges of this crucial moment in history. The choices we make now as a community will determine whether we emerge from this period of global and national crisis stronger or more divided. I will ask, in every instance, if the city's actions under consideration move Northampton toward equity, sustainability, and social justice. Here's where I stand on some of the city's most important issues.
As the climate crisis results in changing temperatures, weather patterns, and more intense and a higher frequency of major storms, I am committed to Northampton being part of the climate solution.
As a City Councilor, I will support and continue to implement the elements of the Sustainable Northampton Plan. I will push the city to not only fulfill the Northampton Climate Resilience & Regeneration Plan, but to exceed its benchmarks. We must act urgently to ensure that all city government buildings and operations are net carbon neutral well before 2030. That's completely in the hands of local government, after all. And I believe by working together we can get Northampton, as a city, to net carbon neutral decades before the Plan's stated goal of 2050. We can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 85% by increasing building efficiency, replacing sources of electricity generation with renewable energy sources, shifting toward electric vehicle use and alternative forms of transportation, and ensuring that land use patterns in Northampton support the City’s goals of becoming net carbon neutral.
Because climate change impacts our most vulnerable residents more significantly, it is essential to incorporate equity and environmental justice principles as a top priority in Northampton’s environmental planning and implementation. This includes social investments to ensure that vulnerable residents have options when extreme temperatures, storms, and flooding occur.
While Northampton is just one city, we can achieve greater impacts by collaborating regionally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase the use of renewable energies, shore up essential infrastructure, and support our most vulnerable residents.
I support full and rapid implementation of the recommendations of the Northampton Policing Review Commission. As a fundamentally safe and supportive community, Northampton has an opportunity to be a leader in police reform. Like many others, I believe that public health and public safety must be collaboratively and holistically addressed. As City Councilor, I will advocate for full funding and implementation of the Department of Community Care as an urgent priority. I also support the calls by the Commission to maintain police response to violent crimes and serious felonies, but we must insist on the highest degree of professionalism and integrity from the police serving our community.
As a criminal defense attorney, I have seen first-hand how poor police practices result in injustice and undermine public safety. I will support efforts by the police department to train and address issues from within, provided those efforts are consistent with the calls of the city it serves to truly protect and serve equitably and without racial bias.
We urgently need sustainable and equitable housing in Northampton. I support in-fill development and creative zoning reform that allows us to build new homes on existing infrastructure. As a member of the Planning Board, I supported legislation allowing for 2-family by right homes in all areas of the city and as City Councilor At-large, I would advocate for more creative solutions like this.
I believe we need to actively reform zoning laws which have historically acted to entrench segregation and look for ways to build into the zoning code our city's goals for addressing the climate crisis.
I support the development of municipal broadband. Though we will need to be thoughtful in how it’s implemented (the economic feasibility of developing a new program is different than keeping a longstanding municipal utility going), but I believe there is great value to retaining local control of vital infrastructure. Municipal control is how we ensure we have a broadband network that is responsive to local concerns and operated according to our community's values.
Main Street Redesign
Of the options offered for the project to reimagine Main Street, I favor option 3. But I believe we can do even more. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make our downtown a truly sustainable, safe, and just plain nice place to live, visit and work now and in the future. As City Councilor I'd work to make not just the currently favored plan a reality, but push to make it even better with creative ideas like those offered by Main Street for Everyone.