With Newton Mayor Setti Warren on the verge of ending his tenure, more than a few residents have thrown their hat into the ring. At the time of this post, six candidates have decided to run for Mayor of Newton. We’ve been in touch with four of them — Ruthanne Fuller, Scott Lennon, Amy Sangiolo, and Richard Saunders — to learn more. (We hope to reach out to the remaining candidates at a later date.)
I’ll be honest. I never paid much attention to local politics before. Sure, I vote in every election, but I never really understood (nor cared about) the intricacies of the local voting process before now. Thank you to candidate Richard Saunders for explaining it to me. According to Richard, “municipal elections give no consideration to party membership. Candidates do not appear on the ballot with any party affiliation next to their names. Candidates run on the strength of their character, their history and their positions on local issues.” All that said, we have included party affiliations where possible because we believe it provides a window into a candidate’s overall worldview.
** Preliminary Election: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
** Local Election: Tuesday, November 7, 2017
On Tuesday, September 12th, we will vote for our top choice for mayor. The top two vote-getters from the preliminary election will participate in a run-off on Tuesday, November 7th. What this means is it’s very important to vote on September 12th to give your preferred candidate the best shot at winning the seat.
In order to get a better sense of who they are and their plans for our city, we sent Q&A’s to each of the four mayoral candidates. We asked each candidate to tell us a bit about themselves, why they’ve decided to run for mayor, and what they perceive to be the major issues facing the Garden City. Here’s what they had to say (listed below in alpha order).
Why I’m Running
I’m running for Mayor of Newton because I love this city, and I want to ensure that all residents of Newton have access to what makes us so strong – great schools, safe streets, livable neighborhoods, and thriving local businesses. So much is going right, yet Newton is at a crossroads and faces real challenges – both fiscal and structural. I believe that I have the background, the experience, and most importantly, the vision to lead Newton forward. In 2009, I was first elected Alderman-at-Large for Ward 7, and I currently represent all of Newton as an At-Large City Councilor. Prior to serving on the City Council, I was asked to be the Vice-Chair of the Newton Citizen’s Advisory Group (CAG) – a group tasked with identifying ways to address Newton’s structural deficiencies. My work here and on the Blue Ribbon Commission helped put Newton in a better financial position, make government more responsive, and created a blueprint for moving forward. I’m proud that Mayor Warren has adopted many of the CAG’s recommendations, and as Mayor, I will continue to work to strengthen Newton as a community. On the City Council, I have prioritized building coalitions and finding consensus to get things done. As Mayor, I will continue this approach to government, and make sure that everyone has a voice and a seat at the table.
Why I’m Running
As a third-generation Newton resident, I have been invested in Newton all my life. My father was a Newton firefighter for 27 years, and every member of my family attended Newton Public Schools. I have been a dedicated community activist since serving on the Board of the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton at age 25. It was one way to give back to an organization that had given me so much throughout my most formative years. Newton has given me and given my family everything we have and every opportunity to succeed. We’ve experienced education, employment, community life, and services. I feel after all of my years here and even serving in an elected capacity that I still owe this city. I want every resident to have the same opportunity for success that my family has had in Newton. I believe that with my experience, serving as Mayor is the best way I can give back to a community that has provided so much for my family and I.
Why I’m Running
I have been serving as an at-large Newton City Councilor for 20 years. Like many others, we were attracted to Newton because of its excellent reputation for schools, for being a safe community, for its rich cultural, religious, economic diversity, for the character and quality of its neighborhoods and villages, and for its convenient location and public transit. Newton is a wonderful community but I believe it can be better. We can do more to achieve excellence in education. We need to do more than just rebuild and renovate our school buildings. We need to provide an innovative breadth of programs for our students and much needed resources for our teachers. I think we can do a better job in city planning by emphasizing respect for our villages and neighborhoods, ensuring real community engagement, and providing predictable zoning rules. Newton should lead on the environment by setting aggressive goals for renewable energy, conservation, and waste reduction to make a positive impact today on the environment for tomorrow.
Why I’m Running
I have long been a social and political activist who preferred to work behind the scenes. Last November, I found myself unable to support the candidates for President from either of the major parties who won their respective primaries. At 60 years old, that is the first time in my life that this situation occurred. Like a lot of people, at various times over the years, I lamented the lack of choices at the polls and wished that better candidates would stand up at all levels of politics, from local to national. I especially like to see new blood, not the same old entrenched politicians who run year after year. Our founders believed that there should not be a professional political class, those who make a career out of running and staying in office. The final push came during President Obama’s farewell address when he said “If you are unhappy with your political leaders, grab a clipboard, collect some signatures and run for office yourself!” I was generally happy with Mayor Warren’s time in office, and would have voted for him again; but since he is moving on and the seat is empty, I’ve decided to enter this race.
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter!
Our weekly newsletter will arrive in your inbox in the wee hours of the night on Saturdays. Unsubscribe any time. Gmail users: if you don’t see our newsletter, be sure to check your Promotions folder.