Newton Candidate Patch Profile: Madeline Ranalli For City Council –


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NEWTON, MA — Newton will have two contested races in this spring’s Special Election. Among the candidates vying to replace the late Newton City Councilor Jay Ciccone in Ward 1, is Madeline Ranalli.

Ranalli, 20, grew up in Newton and lives at home with her parents Jill and Ralph, younger sisters Lillian and Eleanor, and their puppy Mavis (named after Mavis Staples).

She graduated from Newton North in 2019, and is attending Harvard studying government, energy and environment.

This is the first time she’s run for city office, but has been a legislative advocate for the past three years.

Ranalli is facing off against John Oliver for the seat in the March 16 election.

Patch asked candidates in the contested races to answer questions about their campaigns and will be publishing candidate profiles as election day draws near.

Here’s what Ranalli had to say:

Why are you seeking elective office?

I am running for Newton City Council because we are in the midst of crises which require urgent actions and fresh, bold solutions. My parents, both newspaper journalists, moved to Newton for mobility and opportunity through access to our city’s schools and public resources, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for middle-class families to do the same thing.

I want to ensure that every family has access to our city’s resources—from housing and education to community programming and access to transportation—which make Newton so special. I am also running because I hope to bring issues facing young residents of Newton, especially students, to the political forefront. Because over two thirds of our current City Council is over the age of 50, issues facing Newton’s youth often do not get the political deliberation and legislative action they deserve. This is why it is important for young leaders to step up to both bring their skills and knowledge to local government, but also set a precedent for youth political participation and public service.

Finally, I am running because of the many urgent issues of our time that require brave leadership from the generation that has the most to lose from inaction. From addressing climate change, our housing shortage, and racial injustice, Newton has the power to set an example of bold action for other municipalities and meet the urgency that this moment requires.

The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

An equitable recovery from COVID-19.

Whether it’s supporting our seniors, aiding our local businesses or ensuring a safe return to in-person learning in our schools, there is tremendous work to be done to help our city get to the light at the end of the tunnel.

The safe return to in-person learning must be a priority.We also must continue to enforce common sense precautions like mask wearing and social distancing and aid residents in accessing vaccine appointments. Small businesses have suffered greatly from the pandemic, so we must support them through the detailed plan presented by our city’s Economic Development Commission. In addition to this, we must support the mental and emotional health and recovery of Newton residents, from students to city workers, especially now due to the trauma and loss that we’ve all felt during the past year.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

My understanding of both the depth and breadth of the issues facing our city and the policies necessary to address them is a critical difference between me and my opponent.

I’m prepared to tackle issues ranging from supporting residents with disabilities to our city’s arts community, and the policies that I’ve proposed take into account the complexity of the problems we are facing as well as the synergetic solutions we need to push for.

We need to tackle these issues urgently, as the crises we face require bold, progressive solutions from candidates with lifelong commitment to these values. Additionally, I am the only candidate in this race running a positive, issue-based campaign. Unlike my opponent, I do not rely on disinformation, fear-mongering, and other Republican-style tactics to further my campaign.

I also bring the legislative experience necessary to work effectively on the Newton City Council through my work with March For Our Lives Massachusetts and in Senator Ed Markey’s office. This work had a tangible and positive impact on the lives of others, and I will bring this experience to legislate empathetically at City Hall.

If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)

I am running for an open seat.

How do you think local officials performed in responding to the coronavirus? What if anything would you have done differently?

Cities like Newton were put in a difficult position from the beginning of this pandemic by an absence of robust state and federal leadership and resources, which left municipal governments to fend for themselves. While not abdicating us of our local responsibility, this has left us playing catch-up from the beginning.

We did not plan and communicate early enough in order to coordinate a safe return to in-person learning in our schools, which left many teachers and families in the dark about the courses of action being pursued and the conditions under which we would take various steps. I am really pleased to see the formation and work of our medical advisory group, which I believe should have existed in a formal capacity from the beginning of our reopening process.

We also have tremendous work to do to support our local businesses facing the economic impacts of COVID-19. We have seen too many empty storefronts and, too often, have unfortunately allowed short-term concerns over fiscal irresponsibility blind us from providing the relief necessary to ensure that cornerstones of community revenue and vibrancy are protected in the long-term. Local initiatives like our Emergency Housing Relief Program have provided critical aid to residents, and I hope that we seize opportunities to expand and continue financial assistance programs for housing, local businesses and more, especially with policies of federal reimbursement from the Biden administration.

Go to… to read more about my vision for an equitable recovery from COVID in our schools and local economy.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.

We need to act urgently to combat our current housing shortage, using every tool in our toolbox to increase Newton’s housing supply and housing diversity. We must allow our city’s employees and local business owners to live in the city that they serve and build deeply affordable housing to support low-income households.

I also believe we need to work more aggressively to combat the climate crisis and pursue environmental sustainability in Newton, because cities like ours with the capacity to make necessary investments in green energy and infrastructure need to lead the way and achieve carbon neutrality before our target of 2050. In addition, we also need to expand access to public transportation across our city, and ensure that train and bus service around Newton and into urban hubs are equitably distributed across Newton.

Our city should work diligently to extend and connect walkways and protected bike lanes and make our village centers and routes to school safer for all residents.

It is also crucial that we answer the call to racial justice in Newton by ensuring that we implement and enforce protocol for incidents of hate and bias in our schools, that we pursue more equitable hiring processes for municipal contractors and city staff, make it easier for residents of color to start businesses in our city, and to reimagine how we administer public safety in a way that makes residents of color feel safe. A large part of this pursuit will be the recognition and reconciliation with Newton’s dark history of residential segregation, which we are beginning to chip away at through our ongoing zoning redesign process.

Finally, because young residents have not had representation on the Council to act on their concerns and advocate for issues they care about—whether it be lowering our municipal voting age, bolstering mental health resources for youth in Newton, or expanding the work of our Youth Services Department—young residents of Newton deserve elected leaders who will act on the issues they advocate for.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

My work as the Political Director of March For Our Lives: Massachusetts has prepared me well for the work I would do on our City Council. In my work, I have learned how to strategize around a policy aim, build a coalition, and shepherd a bill through the legislative process.

In addition to working on legislation, I have also coordinated and led direct actions like the 50 Miles More March of 2018, to bring public awareness to the manufacturing of assault weapons in Massachusetts with other youth gun violence prevention leaders. My work bringing together different stakeholders and community members at both March For Our Lives and the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence will be valuable to my work as a legislator.

And I believe that this experience is not limited to just myself and the work that I’ve done. Generation Z has had to grow up remarkably fast politically and we have learned how to make impactful change on the issues before us because the need for urgent leadership is a shared understanding. I hope to bring this perspective as well to the work I would do on Newton’s City Council.

The best advice ever shared with me was:

This quote from John Wesley shared with one of my Environmental Science and Public Policy classes last year:

“Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.”

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

I am running a positive, issues-based campaign focused on progress and policy. To read my full policy platforms, head to Please never hesitate to reach me anytime at [email protected] or at 617-833-7965 to ask questions, share concerns or just to talk!

Campaign website


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