The League of Women Voters is publishing another election guide. They’ve asked all the candidates new questions. Below are my responses, which were limited to 40 words each.
- What should Town Council do to develop a diverse and representative pool of qualified candidates for the Planning Committee, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and other committees that it will appoint?
Councilors should actively recruit residents who represent a diverse cross-section of Amherst and a variety of perspectives and opinions to apply for committees. They should directly ask qualified residents to apply and use their networks to do the same.
- How would you prioritize and fund Amherst’s capital project needs? In particular, would you support an override?
Amherst’s neglect of its major capital infrastructure over the past decades means that several capital projects (schools, library, public works, and fire station) are equally necessary. None of them should be delayed further just to avoid an override.
- Specify one or more initiatives that you will support to increase affordable housing in Amherst.
I would support (1) increasing the housing supply across many types of housing, including studio apartments for low-income residents; (2) renovating the East Street School for affordable housing; and (3) developing a 40R district (permits denser development than bylaws allow).
- How would you address the effects of declining school-age populations and charter schools on the Amherst school systems?
(1) Increase Amherst’s housing supply and diversify the tax base to make family housing more affordable; (2) Support the School Committee’s elementary language immersion program plan; and (3) Oppose charter school expansions until the state funding formula is fixed.
- How can Amherst become a municipal leader for local efforts to mitigate climate change?
We need an energy policy that looks at the end-goal — shrinking Amherst’s carbon footprint — and establishes a comprehensive plan. To start, this includes the Zero Energy bylaw (recently improved), electric car charging stations, electric Town vehicles, and solar arrays.