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It’s shaping up to be a busy election year in Somerville!
There are two new candidates running for mayor, as Mayor Joe Curtatone announced he would not be running for re-election, and seven new candidates that have declared runs for City Council seats. Two sitting city councilors have also declared they will not run for re-election — Mark Niedergang and Mary Jo Rossetti — and with Ward 7 Councilor Katjana Ballentyne running for mayor, there will be at least three new faces on the next City Council.
Now, it’s not time to print those ballots quite yet (literally). Nomination papers become available May 3, and are due back to the city by June 9. Papers are certified and filed by the Board of Election Commissioners by June 30.
So, without further adieu, here’s who’s in the race at the moment.
Current Ward 7 Councilor Katjana Ballantyne has served on the City Council since 2013 — including two terms as council president — and has lived in the city for over 25 years. She immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 4 years old, and eventually became the first in her family to earn her degree and an MBA.
Her platform highlights her time serving on the board of the Somerville Community Corporation, supporting the Mystic View Task Force, and her tireless work advocating for inclusive, open government, affordability and jobs, diversity, justice, responsible planning and economic development, and environmental sustainability.
Learn more: katjana.org
William “Billy” Tauro
A lifelong resident of Somerville, Billy Tauro is known about town as an outspoken critic of Curtatone, and the creator of the Somerville/Medford News Weekly website.
His platform includes rooting out corruption, prioritizing city beautification, and addressing health and safety issues, especially regarding rodents. He supports term limits, and also said he will seek to restore the chief of police position to the Civil Service process, to ensure accountability.
Learn more: www.billy4mayor.com
City Councilor At-Large
Born in Cambridge, Eve Seitchik has lived in the Boston area all their life and in Somerville for the past seven years. Seitchik is a transfeminine non-binary person and uses “they/them” pronouns. According to their website, they would be among the first openly non-binary city councilors elected in the country.
Seitchik is a community organizer, and two term chair of the Boston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. They are a healthcare tech worker and data scientist, with a background in advanced data analytics helping hospitals get claims paid by reluctant insurance companies.
Their platform highlights supporting a Green New Deal for Somerville, defunding the police, and ensuring housing for all.
Learn more: www.eveforsomerville.com
Willie Burnley Jr.
Willie Burnley Jr. is a Black community organizer, cyclist, and renter who signed his first lease in a Fellsway W apartment across from Foss Park. As a former journalist, and senate campaign staffer, and union steward with Teamsters 122, he’s worked in a number of areas.
His platform highlights his experience getting priced out of Somerville in 2017, when the company he was writing for cut the department and his rent was increased by several hundred dollars. He then fought his way back to the community, he said, by working in the back of a bakery.
He has worked with the Sunrise Movement, helped create Defund SPD, organized with the Community Action Agency of Somerville, Boston DSA, Union United, and Just Us Somerville.
His goal is to close the gap between the city’s stated priorities and the reality.
Learn more: www.willieforsomerville.com
Charlotte Kelly is a fourth generation Somerville resident, renter, and community organizer, as well as the former executive director of the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance.
At MEJA, Kelly led the Fund Our Future campaign to win the Student Opportunity Act, which secured more than $1.5 billion in public education funding to be distributed statewide. She is a member of Boston Democratic Socialists of America, worked at the State House in the Center for Education Policy and Advocacy, and served as field director for state Sen. Pat Jehlen’s 2016 campaign.
Her platform is broad, but includes three key issues: governance for public good, overhauling City Hall, and fighting alongside working people for environmental justice, affordable and public housing, a Green New Deal, and more.
Learn more: www.charlotteforsomerville.com
Justin Klekota has long been involved in local Democratic politics. He is representing the 2nd Middlesex district as Democratic State Committeemen, and has helped elect a number of Somerville’s elected officials, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, former Gov. Duval Patrick, and state officials Pat Jehlen and Christine Barber. Klekota co-authored the Green New Deal for Massachusetts, and is a staunch climate advocate.
Klekota has his doctorate from Harvard University, and performs medical research into preventing disease through treatments for breast cancer and life-saving vaccines to protect vulnerable populations.
His platform highlighted job creation, affordability, and climate legislation as priorities.
Learn more: electjustin.org
Ward City Councilor
Becca Miller, Ward 7
Becca Miller has lived in Massachusetts her whole life, and in Somerville for the past five years. She is a food justice advocate, renter, climate justice organizer, and member of the Boston Democratic Socialists of America.
She serves as a campaign manager for the Campaign for Health Incentives Program Funding, and her background is in policy advocacy and organizing.
Her platform includes priorities such as food justice, affordability, and climate legislation.
Learn more: www.beccaforsomerville.com
Judy Pineda Nuefeld, Ward 7
Except for a short stint in Florida, Judy Pineda Neufeld has lived in Somerville since 2001, and has lived in a handful of the city’s neighborhoods. She is a small business owner, community organizer, and former executive director of Emerge Massachusetts.
She is also the daughter of immigrants — her mother was born in Mexico and her father was born to Holocaust survivors in a displaced persons camp. She has been serving as the coordinator for Somerville’s Immigrant Services Unit since April 2020.
She identified four priorities in her platform: an equitable COVID recovery plan, safer streets for all, affordable housing, and healthier, connected communities.
Learn more: www.judyforsomerville.com
Tessa Bridge, Ward 5
Tessa Bridge has lived in Somerville for 11 years, and is raising her two children in the city. She is a racial justice and community organizer, as well as a small business founder and has served on the steering committee for Our Revolution Somerville.
In her December campaign announcement, Bridge said she is running on a platform of transparency and accountability and will fight for affordable housing, to fully fund schools and social services, and climate justice
Her platform priorities include investing in affordable housing, defunding the police to refund community wellness, an equitable COVID recovery, sustainable infrastructure, and more.
Learn more: www.tessaforsomerville.com
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