I’m happy to announce that I’m running to be the next ward councilor for Ward 3. People from my ward and from other villages of Newton have been encouraging me to run this year – some urging me to represent my ward, others urging me to run at-large. Now that there is an open seat, it’s an easy decision to run for the ward seat. I worked hard on the campaign to save ward representation in our charter, and if elected, I will be proud to represent Ward 3.

I am running to represent residents who don’t currently feel listened to. I will talk to as many Ward 3 residents as I can between now and the November 5 election, and I hope to earn your vote.

I have lived most of my life in West Newton. I graduated from Newton High School, studied Economics at MIT and earned my MBA from the University of Chicago. I worked in finance until switching to a career as a photojournalist for the Lowell Sun.

I’m a longtime environmental advocate, and care deeply about open space, historic preservation, and maintaining Newton’s socio-economic and ethnic diversity. I’m a member of the Urban Tree Commission, and a founder and currently president of the Newton Tree Conservancy. I am committed to transparency and communication with my constituents — as a journalist, this is second nature. I already record many city meetings for which there would otherwise be no record, and share them with the West Newton google group and other online forums. Many people tell me I am their source for what is going on in Newton.

I’m alarmed by the rapid pace of urbanization, gentrification and displacement in our city. The negative impacts of developers’ agendas on our local democracy, cost of living, tax burden, fiscal debt, school overcrowding, traffic and quality of life are distressing to many Newton residents.  They tell me they worry about being pushed out of their homes, and out of Newton. I hear them, I want to help them, and I hope to represent them.

I’m also encouraged and inspired by a surge of interest among residents of Ward 3/West Newton in what’s going on in city government. Everybody’s busy — with jobs, kids, parents, volunteer activities — but more and more people are finding time to read zoning codes, write letters, go to meetings, and organize. For the last three months I’ve been active with the Unite! West Newton group, one of several new village-based groups that have organized to have a real say about the future of their villages.

This surge in local activism is because increasing numbers of residents around the city are concerned about the number of development and rezoning proposals, the rapid pace and difficulty of keeping up with the review process, and ‘visionings’  that end up more reflective of the administration and developers’ visions than the input of the community.

Voters want choices, and incumbents need challengers.

I am happy to see first-time candidates like Tarik Lucas and Jennifer Bentley stepping up to run in Ward 2, and hope more resident-focused candidates from other wards will venture to run after my announcement today. 

For more information about me, please visit www.juliamalakie.org. My door knocking begins this week and I look forward to meeting each and every Ward 3 voter — I am running to represent YOU!