I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to those of you who don’t know me. I grew up in New Jersey but have lived in Newton for over 20 years and consider Newton my true home. I’ve been a homeowner in West Newton since 2008. I have spent many years volunteering on both the local and school levels but am looking at this run for City Council as a way to make a difference to my fellow residents in the biggest way I can.
My husband, Braden Houston (who ran for this same seat in 2017), and I are raising two wonderful and active girls with a sense of civic duty and political knowledge. Beckett, age 12, attends the 6th Grade at Day Middle School while Blake, age 6, attends Pierce Elementary. I am very active in the Pierce PTO as a 2-year Board member of the Social Action Committee, developing and running many charity drives with the Peirce students. In addition, this year I began volunteering with the Day PTO.
I currently work in Boston as the Director of Marketing for a small architectural firm. My first passion, however, is historic preservation. In 2001, I earned a graduate degree in historic preservation at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 2018 was appointed to a three-year term on the Newton Historic Commission, where I frequently vote to preserve historically significant buildings and maintain our City’s architectural culture.
I am running for City Council because I feel that our City government is on the wrong path. And as I have spoken to neighbors, friends, and residents across the City, I feel that a significant number of voices are going unheard by our current body of Councilors, especially in regard to the many large developments, like Riverside, Needham Street, and several Washington Street projects, that are being fast-tracked through City Council with little consideration for the concerns of neighborhood residents who will be impacted the most by them.
I am running to encourage right-sized development instead of oversized developments that will overwhelm our schools, roads, public safety, and public works systems. I believe that every development proposal that comes in front of the Council for approval should foster the City’s economic development to build our tax base, diversify our housing stock, while also considering the needs of residents who already live here.
I also want to use my influence on the Council to persuade the Planning Department to create a zoning redesign plan that makes it undesirable to knock down naturally affordable houses, and preservers the unique feel and sense of place of our villages. I want to advocate for enriching the quality of life for seniors wishing to remain in Newton, doing more to foster affordable, properly-sized, and accessible development that can meet the rising demand of senior residents wishing to downsize. In addition, enriching opportunities and programs for this section of our community would be a priority for me.
I want to continue the progress that the current City Council has made in expanding environmentally-friendly services, energy programs, and transportation options, and take it to the next level. I would also like to see the City emphasize the creation and/or conservation of more green space in the City.
And, of course, I pledge to help my constituents navigate City Hall when needed, respond to requests large and small that relate to their quality of life in Newton, and serve all of my constituents, from young to old, the best way I can.
If I am elected, I intend to fully represent the voices of the people that will have entrusted me to speak up for them. I will strive to bring back the transparency and accountability people feel are missing in today’s City Council. I hope you will support me in this effort and spread the word about me to your friends and neighbors. I hope you will take the time to read more about me on my campaign website (www.jenniferbentley.org) and feel that I am worthy of your support.
On November 5, 2019, I hope I will be able to count on your vote and look forward to meeting many of you over the coming months.
Thank you for your support.