We have invited all candidates running for contested seats in the upcoming Newton election to submit a guest post to Village 14. The format and content of the post is entirely up to them.
City Council candidate Carolina Ventura, who is running for the Ward 3 ward seat, has submitted the following post.
Thanks to Village 14 for the opportunity to introduce myself here, I greatly appreciate it. For those of you who I haven’t had a chance to meet yet, my name is Carolina Ventura, and I am running for the Ward 3 City Council seat being vacated by Councilor Brousal-Glaser.
As an attorney, I’ve had over a decade of experience and am skilled at advocating for my family, community, and clients. A working parent of two small children, I am committed to keeping Newton a wonderful and dynamic place to grow up.
Throughout the course of this campaign, I have been out knocking on doors all over Ward 3, and have met with people in their homes, on their front porches, and at events throughout the community. It has been so humbling to see the response that this campaign has received. It is also incredibly heartening to see the level of engagement in this race. I have heard from people on countless issues that are important to them, all of which are important to me. Here are just a few of the many issues I care deeply about:
There is no question that we are facing a regional housing crisis, especially in Newton, where affordable housing is nearly impossible to find. Affordable housing is an initial step to promoting economic and racial diversity. It is also unacceptable that our educators and first responders cannot afford to live in the city that they so tirelessly serve. Older adults who want to downsize and continue to make Newton their home also have severely limited options. The Council must continue to ensure that new projects include as many affordable units as possible. That said, we should be using all of the tools at our disposal to tackle this issue. Relying solely on private developers will not create sufficient affordable housing in Newton. The City itself should innovate, problem solve, and seek to invest in its own solutions.
Simply trying to block change at every possible opportunity is not a sound or practical solution. Change will come whether we want it or not. Working together, we can enact the kind of change we want—change that benefits the community while keeping Newton the wonderful place that it is. Of course, no developer gets a blank check. If a proposal is inconsistent with our values or detrimental to our neighborhoods, I won’t support it.
The Washington Street Vision is a commendable attempt to be proactive about growth and development. I love that through this process, we have been able to bring the community together to create a cohesive, thoughtful concept for our future. That said, they are portions of the Vision that I do not support and that will require further consideration, including the Vision’s current concept for the area around Exit 16.
From a budget perspective, one of the city’s top priorities should be the continuing improvement and then maintenance of our roads and sidewalks and other municipal infrastructure. Years of deferred maintenance has left these assets in terrible condition, and it is imperative that we practice better stewardship now and in the years to come.
Another important priority is the school budget. One of the things that makes Newton such a prosperous and desirable place is the quality of our schools, and we cannot allow that to suffer as the city progresses and grows. As the parent of two children who will attend the Newton Public Schools, I have a personal interest in ensuring that the schools reach their full potential. In order to make this a reality, we must be making the proper investment not only in our facilities, but in the wonderful teachers who are the heart and soul of our school system.
Transportation has such a broad impact in our city. It touches everything from the environment, to quality of life and economic development. If
we are to truly be the inclusive community we want to be, we have to provide safe and practical transportation options for all of our residents, employees and visitors. That means protected bike lanes, safe crosswalks, improved traffic flow, and increased accessibility, just to name a few.
I believe that we are strongest when we are working together, and looking closely at all sides of an issue before jumping to a conclusion. In these divisive times, we need leaders who will take a thoughtful approach to the many challenging issues facing our community, and listen to all perspectives. I’m eager to have the opportunity to give back to the community that has been so good to me. If you live in Ward 3, I hope to earn your vote on Tuesday, November 5th. I also would welcome the opportunity to speak further with anyone who may have questions or concerns. Please check out my website, www.carolinaventura.com.