2021 City Council Endorsements

A Better Cambridge is proud to announce our endorsement of 9 pro-housing candidates for this November’s City Council elections, as well as our support for all three charter questions. Please vote for all 9 in the order of your choice by November 2nd!

We want to thank every candidate who participated in our endorsement process, including our questionnaire and our candidate forum. We are thrilled that every single candidate responding to our questionnaire supports a tenant’s right to counsel, that the vast majority support building on the Affordable Housing Overlay to approve developments like 2072 Mass Ave, and that so many of them have expressed serious interest in ending exclusionary zoning.

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, Tonia Hicks, Alanna Mallon, Marc McGovern, Joe McGuirk, Sumbul Siddiqui, Denise Simmons, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, and Paul Toner - represent all cross-sections of the city, and bring 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.

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

In addition, ABC supports a "yes" vote on Questions 1, 2, and 3, which will appear on November's ballot in addition to the City Council and School Committee races. They would add language to Cambridge's charter (the city's constitution) to require that (1) the City Council vote whether to approve each of the City Manager's appointments to city boards and commissions; (2) the City Council review the City Manager's performance every year; and (3) a citizen committee advise every ten years about making other changes to the city charter. We believe that voting "yes" on these Questions will help make Cambridge government fairer and more accountable to residents.

More About The Candidates:

Burhan Azeem is an MIT-graduated engineer and volunteer EMT who grew up with housing insecurity. A former ABC board member and founder of Abundant Housing Massachusetts, Burhan is experienced in advocating for housing at the local and regional levels. As a councillor, he will push for Cambridge to use every tool in the toolbox to fight the twin climate and housing crises, as well as to transform public safety with an alternative unarmed response.

Tonia Hicks is committed to making politics and policy more accessible for “we the everyday people”, working with many local stakeholders and lifting up community voices. She is focused on the issues of inequality that are felt broadly across the community, especially housing stability, food security, youth and young adult investment and environmental justice.

Alanna Mallon is serving her second term on the Cambridge City Council and is currently the Vice Mayor. Her lived experience with both food and housing insecurity has given her the insight to represent and provide direct aid for the most vulnerable in our City. She is a leader on the council on food insecurity, affordable housing, the arts, and supporting small businesses.

Marc McGovern is a 5th-generation Cantabrigian, father and social worker. A 4th-term city councillor and former mayor, he has consistently focused on fighting the disparities that exist across our community, whether through housing, homelessness, human services, education, or income insecurity. Marc was a leader on the Affordable Housing Overlay and has been a steadfast voice for more housing in Cambridge.

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 people and working people has motivated Joe to get involved to be a voice on the City Council. 

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.

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 the Affordable Housing Overlay to passage, 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 addition to his experience working at a land policy institute, he brings the urgency we need to the housing, transportation, and climate crises, and in his first term on the Council he has led on causes like bike lanes, affordable housing, ending parking minimums, and community land trusts.

Paul Toner has devoted his career to public service in Cambridge as a teacher and leader of the Cambridge Education Association and the Massachusetts Teachers Association. With deep roots in the city and state and a reputation for integrity, he knows that Cambridge’s housing crisis tears at the fabric of our community. While we disagree with Paul’s positions on parking, he is a strong supporter of affordable housing and transit-oriented development, and we believe he will be a reliable voice on the Council for our housing values.