Teamwork is necessary to meet the challenges of the city

It’s a simple but powerful lesson for a future city councilor: people want to be heard. As I have walked over 60 streets in Ward 1 and k...

It’s a simple but powerful lesson for a future city councilor: people want to be heard.

As I have walked over 60 streets in Ward 1 and knocked on doors over the past two months, I have heard from many people concerned about global issues like the pandemic and the climate emergency.

Others wanted to make sure that I will be there when they call for quality of life issues in their neighborhood: affordable housing, dangerous intersections, snow removal and new sidewalks.

Northampton faces many, often overlapping, challenges as we grapple with the lasting effects of the pandemic, continue to reinvent public safety, care for the homeless, strategize to free ourselves from fossil fuels and redevelop the main street.

Tough times demand experienced and compassionate leaders who are passionate about public service and open to new ideas. That’s why I want to be a city councilor – to be present, to listen to all points of view, to communicate clearly and to work collaboratively.

Two years ago, I listened to high school students and non-citizens pleading for their right to vote in municipal elections. I was proud in 2019 to chair the charter review committee which made listening to traditionally marginalized communities a priority and produced far-reaching recommendations to expand the electorate and make it easier to vote in Northampton. Last year, the city council unanimously approved these reforms. It’s not just settling for the status quo, it’s working together for gradual change.

My 44-year career as a journalist – the last 42 at the Daily Hampshire Gazette – has given me not only an in-depth knowledge of Northampton, but also an understanding of how local government, at its best, helps uplift all community members, including the most vulnerable.

That is why I will advocate for federal COVID relief funds to be directed to help the individuals and families, essential workers and businesses most affected by the pandemic. This is a unique opportunity to help people of color, other underserved communities and workers who have been on the front lines for the past 19 months, and should be a top priority as the city determines how to spend the US $ 21.7 million bailout. My priorities are to help the unemployed, including vocational training; improve access to health and social services; fight against housing insecurity and homelessness; and paying bonuses to low-income front-line workers, including public health and safety workers, day care centers, farm workers, truck drivers, and grocery and restaurant workers.

I believe there is a connection between the city’s climate emergency response and racial equity. As Northampton moves towards its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 at the latest, we cannot create new burdens on people of color who are already disproportionately affected by climate change. The city must ensure that increasing energy efficiency in residential buildings does not decrease the number of affordable housing units and that public transport is equitably accessible to all.

I want the new community care department to have sufficient resources – money and personnel – to operate around the clock, so that trained and unarmed civilians are always available to respond to calls for help from homeless people, mental health crises and substance use problems.

And as Main Street is redeveloped, I will strive to make it safe and welcoming for everyone, including those in wheelchairs or those with low vision.

Teamwork is needed to meet these challenges, and I will be guided by what I have heard from people from all political backgrounds in Ward 1 – it’s time to lower the fire that fuels the division and to focus on finding common ground.

During this time, I will continue to walk and cycle in Ward 1, listening to my constituents talk about their neighborhood. This is the job of a city councilor.

Retired journalist Stanley Moulton, a candidate for Northampton Ward 1 city council, lives at 34 Perkins Ave. and has a website at

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Newsrust - US Top News: Teamwork is necessary to meet the challenges of the city
Teamwork is necessary to meet the challenges of the city
Newsrust - US Top News
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