Village 14 is inviting all candidates for mayor, city council or school committee to submit a single guest column between now and Aug 1.
I’m running for Mayor because there’s a lot at stake for Newton – for our schools, for our neighborhoods and village centers, and for our taxpayers.
Our next Mayor must build on the strong tradition of progressive leadership to ensure all residents have access to the great schools and livable neighborhoods that make this a special place to live.
Our next Mayor must prepare responsibly for the financial and strategic challenges to come.
Most of all, our next Mayor must listen, to give citizens in all parts of Newton – from the Lake to Oak Hill, and all parts in between – a voice in the decisions that shape our future. That’s why I have already knocked on doors in all 13 villages and all 8 wards and 32 precincts.
That is the kind of Councilor I have been and the kind of Mayor I intend to be.
But before I get into my background and my vision for Newton, I want to hear your ideas. Please contact me any time by emailing me at [email protected]
For 30 years, I have worked as a strategic planner for the private, non-profit, and public sectors. I first got involved in public service in Newton as president of my local neighborhood association to ensure our community had a voice. Then, as Vice-Chair of the Newton Citizen’s Advisory Group, I worked to create a plan addressing long-term structural challenges facing our City.
That’s why becoming a City Councilor in 2010 was a logical next step – strategic planning has been my focus for years and I wanted to put those skills to work for Newton.
On the Council, my focus has been in three areas – investing in our public schools, modernizing our infrastructure, and serving as a fiscal watchdog for our taxpayers. And I’ve always brought people together to get things done.
I was the only elected official to serve on all three school building committees for the Angier, Zervas, and Cabot elementary school projects, working closely with parents and teachers.
I helped create long-term investment plans for water, sewer, and stormwater systems – work that has and will continue to save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I also serve as Chair of the Financial Audit Advisory Committee and Vice Chair of the Finance Committee, where my job is to make sure our money is spent wisely, to increase our cash reserves, and to protect our AAA bond rating.
My vision for Newton:
• The best schools in Massachusetts
Newton Public Schools should always be a beacon that attracts families to Newton. As Mayor, I will make sure Newton’s teachers and students have the resources to succeed. That includes attracting and retaining the best teachers to Newton, holding the line on class sizes, ensuring every student has the opportunity to learn in a modern classroom, and getting schedules right for every student – from kindergarten to high school.
• The strongest financial outlook
Newton is facing long-term fiscal challenges, including a $1 billion debt to retirees. We must deal with these challenges honestly and responsibly so they don’t threaten our schools or our taxpayers. That means managing the city effectively and giving citizens a real voice in prioritizing investments.
• Livable neighborhoods & village centers
I will preserve the character of our residential areas and improve our 13 unique village centers through zoning reform. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach – it has to come from people like you making your voices heard – but the goal should be walkable, age-friendly villages with a variety of small businesses. This includes affordable housing options for working families and seniors who want to downsize.
I’ll also work to make Newton greener and more sustainable by making sure public buildings are green and energy efficient, by ensuring our parks and playgrounds are well-maintained, and by using planning and technology to reduce traffic congestion.
Also, I will prioritize maintenance to our streets, sidewalks, and City infrastructure.
Want more details? Please visit my website, www.ruthannefuller.com, to learn more.
Together, we can make this vision a reality.
The Preliminary Election is on Tuesday, September 12th and I ask for your vote. I have a clear vision for Newton and the experience to deliver.
But, I also hope you will contact me to share your ideas and opinions – because the more I hear from you, the better Mayor I will be.