By Amy Mah Sangiolo
Hello. I am Amy Mah Sangiolo and I’m running for mayor. I am an attorney, an at-large City Councilor and the longest serving Asian-American elected official in the commonwealth. Prior to my service on the council, I worked with non-profit and environmental organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation, successfully lobbying on Capitol Hill for National Flood Insurance Reform. In 1995, I purchased a two-family home in Auburndale with my husband and raised three children who attended and attend the public school system. For the past 20 years, I have been a staunch advocate and policy maker on behalf of children, seniors, taxpayers and neighborhoods. I have held leadership positions serving as Vice President of the Council for two terms and as Chair of two Committees — the Committee on Community Preservation and the Programs and Services Committee, which has legislative oversight and budgetary review of over 10 different municipal departments, including the Newton Public Schools.
I am running because I care about the future of this city. Like many, I want a world-class educational system and a safe and healthy community — but like everything — it will take a large investment of resources and people power to get there. I have the ability, skills and experience to bring people from all walks of life together. I am smart, tough, forward-thinking and creative. I will work collaboratively with our residents, non-profit/educational institutions, local businesses and international partners to make long-term investments to build a thriving community.
With 13 villages, there are distinct opportunities to create dynamic relationships between our local businesses and our residential neighborhoods. We need to make strategic investments to build our local economy and businesses that are the fabric of everyday life and drive diversity to have more choices. Through community based planning on the local neighborhood/village level, we can work together to incentivize businesses to locate in our village centers and provide services that will complement each other and fulfill the needs of our residents.
Commercial corridor development will require the city to get in front of the planning process. We need to work collaboratively with our residents and our businesses to proactively shape the development we want. Plans must include the size and scale of buildings, the mix of uses — existing and proposed and how they interrelate and serve the abutting neighborhoods and the community as a whole, assessment of existing and potential transportation services and roadway access, incorporate transportation management measures and sustainable building design and ensure the city’s infrastructure can support any proposed development.
Our limited manufacturing districts, Wells Avenue and the Riverside T Station offer tremendous opportunity for corporate/industry growth. Each will require significant capital investment and commitments from the state in order to provide additional access and egress.
How do we spur economic development? Move forward with zoning reform and the creation of clear zoning regulations and guidelines, with predictable timetables. Revising our ordinances, as we’ve recently done with rDNA facilities and removing the special permit requirements is one step in the right direction. Evaluate our strengths and weaknesses. Listen to our business community and learn from their experience — what works and what doesn’t, what they need to succeed and how we can assist. Build partnerships with our neighboring communities. Focus on complementing rather than competing with each other as we each move forward to meet our communities’ needs. Work collaboratively with institutional partners. Develop and foster internship, externship, and entrepreneurship programs and utilize research capabilities with our high schools, colleges and institutions. Significantly expand outreach to local, national, and international businesses, industry organizations and leaders. Embrace creative ideas — food trucks in our office parks should have been allowed years ago. Make the commitment to our business community that the city is willing to assist and help make the necessary investments to help each other prosper.
I ask for your support and vote on Sept. 12.