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Note: Village 14 has invited each candidate in next week’s special election to post another guest column about their candidacy. This one is from Madeline Ranalli, who is running for City Council from Ward 1.
Hi everyone! This is Madeline Ranalli, candidate for Ward One City Councilor-at-Large. Thank you to the Village 14 Team for this opportunity to make a guest post.
I am a political advocate, a lifelong Newton resident, and Newton Public Schools graduate. I’ve grown up around public and community service in Newton and my political background is primarily in legislative advocacy, where I have served as the Political Director at March For Our Lives: Massachusetts and on the board of the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. I have also worked in the Boston Office of Senator Ed Markey, in Iowa for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Presidential campaign, and at the Department of Energy in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
I’m running for Newton City Council because my parents moved to Newton for our city’s schools and public amenities, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for working-class families to do the same. I will work to ensure that every family has access to the resources — from housing and education to employment opportunities and a vibrant community life — that make Newton so special. I’m also running to give a voice to the underserved people in our city, including people of color, elderly residents, young people, and students. I would love to set an example for other young leaders, so they can step up and bring a new perspective to local government, but also become the building blocks for the next generation of political and social leadership. Finally, I am running because my generation has the most to lose from continued inaction on issues like the climate crisis, housing shortages, and racial and gender inequities, and we really have had no choice but to step up with brave leadership. Newton has always been a leader among the Commonwealth’s municipalities, and it has the power to set an example of bold action on a multitude of issues, which you can read about https://www.ranallifornewton.com/priorities.
First, we must ensure an equitable recovery from COVID-19 rooted in evidence-based solutions and broad community engagement. This includes aiding our local businesses, continuing to enforce common-sense precautions, strengthening our resources for mental and emotional wellbeing, and continuing to protect our seniors and other vulnerable populations. And as a recent graduate of our public schools and a sister of two current NPS students, I also understand the importance of getting our students back to in person learning safely, utilizing the guidance of the remarkable public health professionals we have in Newton, while making sure that we are also keeping teachers, staff, and families safe as well.
Next, we need to act diligently to combat our current housing shortage, using every tool at our disposal to increase both the diversity and supply of housing in Newton, to restructure our zoning code and fill in our ‘missing middle,’ to allow our city’s employees and business owners to live in the city where they work, and to build deeply-affordable housing to support low-income households. We also must leverage public funding through mechanisms like an affordable housing trust fund, and approach housing in a holistic way that complements our sustainability and accessibility goals.
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 to net-zero buildings and electrification, we also need to expand access to public transportation across our city, as well as extend and connect walkways and protected bike lanes to make our streets 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 protocols for incidents of hate and bias in our schools, pursuing more equitable hiring processes for municipal contractors and city staff, making it easier for residents of color to establish and run businesses in our city, and to reimagine how we administer public safety by implementing the recommendations of our Police Reform Task Force.
But I’m not the only one with a commitment to being part of the solution. There is broad public support in Newton for action on affordable housing, climate action, and racial justice — these are not radical or hyper-ideological views, they’re popular. But it’s up to us to step up in delivering the leadership to achieve tangible benefits for all residents of Newton.
I’ve also been disappointed that this election cycle has been marred by attacks, disinformation, and falsehoods, which have damaged our city’s civic discourse and distracted from the issues at hand. But I remain committed to running a positive, issues-based campaign and talking about the urgent problems we face and how we will tackle them together. Let’s work together to ensure that Newton is a welcoming, generous, and livable city for all of us. I humbly ask for your vote on or before Tuesday, March 16. You can reach me at [email protected] or @ranallifornewton to ask questions, share concerns, or just to talk. Thank you so much.
As we move on to the next post, may I add that geoFence helps stop foreign state actors (FSA’s) from accessing your information and that’s the truth!