2023 City Council Endorsements

A Better Cambridge is proud to announce our endorsement of 9 pro-housing candidates for this November’s City Council elections. Please vote for all 9 in the order of your choice by November 7th!

We want to thank every candidate who participated in our endorsement process, including our questionnaire and candidate forum. Housing is the number 1 issue facing Cambridge, and we are thrilled that so many candidates support ending exclusionary zoning, care about housing affordability, and favor strengthening tenant protections.

However, there are nine candidates who stand above the others, who we trust to prioritize ABC’s values of housing abundance, affordability, stability, and sustainability. These candidates - Burhan Azeem, Adrienne Klein, Marc McGovern, Joe McGuirk, Frantz Pierre, Sumbul Siddiqui, Denise Simmons, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, and Ayesha M. Wilson - represent the diversity of the city, bringing lived experiences as well as professional expertise to bear in support of effective solutions to Cambridge’s housing crisis. We urge you to support them this November.

Although we primarily focus on housing advocacy, ABC holds zero tolerance for slurs, racism, or harassment of any kind and expects its members and endorsees to meet basic standards of decency. In the context of some city council candidates previously posting offensive content, or sharing or liking posts from racist accounts, ABC reaffirms its commitment to Cambridge as an inclusive city. We call on organizations who endorsed those candidates to withdraw their endorsements. We may disagree on housing and other issues, but none of us should tolerate expression that demeans, harasses, or ostracizes any of us.

Don’t just vote for pro-housing candidates - tell your friends and neighbors, and volunteer to help us spread the word!

More About The Candidates:

Burhan Azeem is running for his second term on the Cambridge City Council. Councillor Azeem is an MIT-graduated engineer who grew up in an immigrant family fearing eviction. He currently rents. Before pursuing elected office, he was on the board of A Better Cambridge and founded a housing nonprofit called Abundant Housing. An engineer by day and a volunteer EMT at night, he has gotten to know Cambridge from inside an ambulance. In his first term, he co-sponsored the policy order that successfully ended parking minimums and fought for expanding the Affordable Housing Overlay. He supports ending exclusionary zoning and understands the critical role building more housing plays in fighting climate change.

Adrienne Klein is a dedicated public servant who is passionate about inclusive access to infrastructure and services including housing, transportation, and childcare. Adrienne spent the past three years helping Cambridge residents navigate the rental application process and apply for homeownership lotteries as the Director of Constituent Services for the Mayor. She supports expanding the AHO, ending broker fees, and strengthening the inclusionary zoning program. She envisions a Cambridge where opportunities are increasing, locally-owned businesses flourish, and all residents are represented by their government and service providers. 

Marc McGovern is a 5th-generation Cantabrigian, father, and social worker. Since joining the Council 10 years ago, he has led on housing issues, from raising the Inclusionary Zoning percentage, raising the linkage fee, to expanding the Affordable Housing Overlay. As a social worker of 30 years, he has worked with some of Massachusetts’ most vulnerable families and knows the difference stable housing can make in a person’s life. Marc understands that the  “character” of Cambridge is not the look of its buildings, but the character of the people who live in those buildings. Marc is committed to building more housing as the key to making Cambridge a thriving, diverse, multi-cultural city.

Joe McGuirk has spent the last 30 years tending bar in and around Cambridge, the city of his birth. He is a long-time renter and a thoughtful advocate for affordable housing, local businesses, and the vanishing middle class. Having seen the many challenges facing lower income and working people has motivated Joe to get involved to be a voice on the City Council. He supports ending exclusionary zoning to allow four-plexes across the city as well as stronger tenant protections, including establishing an Office of Tenants’ Rights, tenant right to counsel, and a landlord registration program.

Frantz Pierre has experience in housing advocacy as a housing specialist and care coordinator helping the elderly avoid eviction. He brings a lived experience of subsidized housing, having lived in Section 8 housing growing up and currently living in an inclusionary zoning unit. He is a member of Cambridge’s Haitian community and keenly aware of the burden rising housing costs place on families.

Sumbul Siddiqui led the city through unprecedented challenges as Mayor during the COVID-19 pandemic, launching a Disaster Relief Fund, organizing testing and vaccine sites, and chairing the School Committee through multiple school reopenings. As a Councillor and legal aid attorney who grew up in Cambridge affordable housing, she has advocated on behalf of Cambridge’s most vulnerable by repeatedly leading on displacement, tenant protection legislation, and the creation and preservation of affordable housing. She is also a passionate advocate for Cambridge’s income assistance and universal preschool programs.

Denise Simmons is a lifelong Cantabrigian who has served on City Council since 2002 and has served twice as mayor. As a longtime chair of the Housing Committee, she has been a key figure in shepherding both the original Affordable Housing Overlay to passage and its 2023 expansion to near-passage. She led on funding legal services for tenants facing eviction, increasing Cambridge’s inclusionary zoning requirements, and pushing for the creation of the Housing Liaison to the City Manager position. Denise is a proud member of the LGBTQ community and a staunch advocate for Cambridge’s senior population.

Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler is a renter, a tenant organizer, the son of an immigrant, and a democratic socialist, fighting for housing justice and tenants’ rights. In his 2020-2021 term as City Councillor, he helped pass the original Affordable Housing Overlay and increase the City’s affordable housing linkage fee. Since his previous term, he has worked as a governance director for the Working Families Party to craft legislation on affordable housing, childcare, and more. Jivan supports expanding the AHO, strengthening tenant rights, and utilizing Cambridge’s prop 2 ½ levy capacity to put millions more towards affordable housing each year.

Ayesha M. Wilson is a social worker and a teacher-counselor with the Cambridge Housing Authority’s workforce program. In her two terms on the school committee, she worked on the City’s new universal pre-K program, advocated for the Office of Equity Inclusion and Belonging, and secured funding for new school social workers. She is a lifelong Cambridge resident who grew up in the Jefferson Park housing development and held a Section 8 voucher. Through her work and lived housing experience, Ayesha understands the challenges faced by those who cannot afford childcare and housing in Cambridge and will center the voices of those who are forced to leave Cambridge because they can no longer afford to live here.