As anyone who has ever run for elected office knows — along with going out and shaking hands, having coffee with anyone who is anyone, participating in forums, organizing mailings and lawn signs — there are a seemingly endless stream of questionnaires by specialty groups to fill out.

As a example, below is the questionnaire form a group called Progressive Newton, a local chapter of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide grassroots organization. The organization says all answers will be posted on its website and distributed to Newton residents via email.  Some of these questions seemed to me to be a little far afield from the job of city councilor and especially school committee (for example, city councilors don’t negotiate with unions and school committee members have nothing to do with 40B). Some just seem curious. But what do you think?

Progressive Newton 2017 Municipal Candidates’ Questionnaire


  1. How will you approach collective bargaining with public unions and how will you weigh the value of well paid, skilled union labor against potential cost savings from outsourcing?
  2. What value do you place on increasing affordable housing in Newton, and what concrete steps will you take to expand affordable housing?
  3. Do you support the welcoming city ordinance? What other steps will you take to make our city welcoming to all, regardless of race, class, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other discrete characteristics?
  4. What concrete steps will you take to combat global climate change, increase renewable energy, and decrease energy consumption in Newton?
  5. What does Black Lives Matter mean to you?
  6. Would you support a zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory language by city employees?
  7. What concrete steps will you take to address income inequality in Newton?
  8. Under what circumstances would you support an override?
  9. What steps would you take to assist seniors, millennials, and others who might be cost-burdened? HUD defines cost-burdened as paying more than 30% of their income for housing.
  10. How would you improve access to transportation? What do you see as Newton’s role in advocating for expanded transportation?
  11. What do you believe the role is of local elected leaders in promoting progressive policies at the state and national level?
  12. Why are people poor?


YES/NO (Massachusetts state legislature bill numbers follow in parentheses, where applicable):

  1. Do you support or oppose a $15/hour minimum wage? (S1004 / H2365)
  2. Do you support or oppose paid family medical leave? (S1048 / H2172)
  3. Do you support or oppose the 2018 ballot question to place a 4% increased tax rate on taxable income over a million dollars per year?
  4. Do you support or oppose the 2018 ballot question to roll back protections for transgender individuals in public accommodations?
  5. Do you support the safe communities act? (S1305 / H3269)
  6. Do you support the great neighborhoods bill? (S81)
  7. Do you believe Newton has met its obligation to provide affordable housing under MGL Chapter 40B?




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