A life-long Cambridge resident, Marc currently lives in Central Square with his wife and children, the fifth generation of his family to reside in his home. He descends from a long line of community activists - from his grandmother who was one of the first members of the Riverside Neighborhood Association to his mother who helped form the Cambridge Women’s Commission and Cambridge Alternative Public School (now Graham and Parks), to his father who was a teacher and City Council candidate. As a young man, Marc was surrounded by people who taught him the importance of giving back to the community and striving to leave the world a better place.
For the past 20 years, Marc has worked tirelessly with at-risk children and families, advocating, problem solving and working to ensure that those facing challenges have an equal chance at success. Marc's career in social work continues to shape his views on the issues facing Cambridge. On the City Council, Marc's ability to mediate, work effectively with those of different backgrounds, and listen to and understand the needs of families has proven invaluable.
In his four terms on Cambridge School Committee and two on City Council, Marc has earned a reputation as a rational, common sense leader, able to collaborate with every one of his fellow Committee or Council members. In this past term as Vice-Mayor, Marc has taken concrete action to bolster affordable housing, tackle issues of poverty, homelessness and hunger, find and create resources for immigrant families, advocate for animal rights and champion the rights of Cambridge workers. His goals are and have always been to be an effective representative for the citizens of Cambridge and serve with integrity, action, and compassion.
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Affordable housing continues to be the #1 issue facing Cambridge. More and more residents, whether they have been here their entire life or just a few years and are looking to stay, find themselves unable to purchase a home or rent an apartment in an overpriced market.
So what should we do?
1. We need to build more housing. In the ten years following the loss of rent control, we’ve seen that when we take housing stock away, rent prices go up. When we add housing stock, prices go down. Building houses works and it is a realistic way to keep families and individuals living in Cambridge.
2. We need to preserve existing affordable housing. One of the biggest issues facing the City today is the pending loss of over 500 units of affordable housing at Rindge Towers, which is slated to lose its affordable status in 2020. We cannot lose these units.
3. We need to be more aggressive at purchasing property. Over the past two terms I was a leader in directing the City to take Vail Court by eminent domain, and purchasing property on Concord Ave. If we control the property then we can control what goes there.
4. We need to reassess our overall zoning and offer incentives to build affordable housing throughout the city.
Here are a few highlights from my past two terms as an advocate for Affordable Housing:
◈ Called for tripling the Incentive Zoning requirement that raised the amount of money developers must pay the City from $4.58 per square foot to $15 per square foot.
◈ Co-Chaired the Housing Committee with Mayor Simmons which took the recommendations of consultant Karl Seidman and turned them into formal recommendations to raise the percentage of affordable housing developers must provide the City from 11.5% to 20%. The new recommendations will also require developers to build affordable 3 bedroom units to assist low income families and require that the City review this ordinance in no less than 5 years, so we can do even more.
◈ Led the City in taking the dilapidated Vail Court property by eminent domain in order to build affordable housing on the site.
◈ Called on the City to study building 100% below market rate housing on City owned parking lots in Central Square.
In this time in our country’s history it is vital that cities and towns resist the hatred that is coming out of Washington D.C. Cambridge, although far ahead of other cities when it comes to being a welcoming and diverse community, still has work to do to ensure that every member of our community, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation is safe from discrimination and has an equal opportunity to succeed.
As a social worker for the past 25 years, I have dedicated my life to fighting for social justice. Here are just a few things I have done as a member of the City Council:
◈ Filed the policy order that called on the City to recommit itself to remaining a Sanctuary City despite threats from the White House.
◈ Created a Liaison for Immigrant Affairs position to support undocumented individuals and families fearing deportation working out of the Vice-Mayor’s office.
◈ Worked with the City Manager to turn the Liaison for Immigrant Affairs position from a volunteer position to a full-time City position.
◈ Have led the way as Finance Chair of the City Council to increase funding for training and support programs addressing domestic and gender based violence, trauma informed training for our Police Department, and called on Cambridge to address issues of homelessness and drug addiction.
When people think of Cambridge, they tend to think about our great universities, our thriving biotech industry and increasing housing costs. It would be easy for people to think that everyone in Cambridge is thriving. That, sadly, is not the case. A study by the City in 2014 showed that despite increased wealth in our community, our poverty rate increased to above the State average. There are many in our community who are struggling: struggling to pay their rent, struggling to pay their bills and struggling to put food on their tables.
This is why I called for the creation of the Mayor’s Commission on Income Insecurity. As Chair of this commission, I worked with city officials, nonprofit leaders and members of the community to answer the question: “What does it really cost to live in Cambridge?” We then looked at how many families are “Income Insecure”, meaning they may not be “In poverty” but still do not earn enough money to meet their daily needs. To review this document please click here.
Here are a few of the ways I have tried to battle for Economic Justice and against income insecurity:
◈ Called on the City to provide free breakfast and lunch to all children in the Cambridge Public Schools who fit a “Cambridge Income Limit” and not the federal poverty guidelines.
◈ Co-Chaired the Minimum Wage Task Force working on raising the minimum wage in Cambridge to $15 per hour.
◈ Advocated for the City to provide $10,000 to make up for State cuts for the SNAP-MATCH program that allows low income residents to double their SNAP benefits at farmers markets.
◈ Worked with Food For Free and the City to increase funding to the Weekend Backpack Program that provides nutritious foods to low-income Cambridge Public School children over the weekend.
Despite a great deal of wealth in Cambridge, our homeless population continues to grow. I have spent much of my time on the Council working to combat this epidemic. We know that the best way to resolve homelessness is to build more homes, but that is complicated and takes time. Sadly, our homeless don’t have time.
This is why I created the Metro Boston Homeless Summit, a series of meetings held between the cities of Cambridge, Boston, Somerville, Medford and Malden to address homelessness on a regional basis. If we are going to move our homeless off the streets then we need a coordinated and shared effort.
Here are some of the things I have done to address homelessness:
◈ Had $250,000 allocated in the FY18 budget to support a Homelessness Warming Center to keep our homeless safe and warm during the cold winter months.
◈ Called for the creation of a Homelessness Jobs Program to help our homeless find meaningful work.
◈ Called on the City to create a landlord incentive program to help find housing for homeless veterans.
◈ Called on the City to create a new plan to end homelessness in Cambridge.
Cambridge is often considered the hottest real estate market in the country. Development is happening all around us and will likely continue. We need to shift the conversation about development from the divisive, “winners/losers” or “good guy/bad guy” narrative to one in which developers and the community have goal-oriented, honest conversations about how development affects the community and how we can minimize the negative impacts. As I have often stated, “I want developers to scream but not run away.”
When it comes to housing development, we need more housing of all types in Cambridge. People are moving to Cambridge for all types of reasons: employment, safety, schools, standard of living and just because we have an incredible city. That is not going to change. If we don’t supply more housing costs will rise and more people will be displaced. We need to concentrate greater density around transit hubs. This is good for the environment and good for housing.
Development is neither all good nor all bad. Without question the boom in development has changed the landscape of the City and we must do all we can to ensure that developers are carrying their fair share of responsibility to the city. With that said, without development, especially in Kendall Sq., Cambridge would not be able to fund all the amazing city services and programs that we can offer our residents.
Here is what I have done since joining the Council regarding development:
◈ Led the charge to push the Mass and Main development from 14% affordable housing to 20%, adding much needed affordable units.
◈ Pushed Boston Properties development in Kendall Sq. from 14% affordable housing to 25% affordable housing.
◈ Filed a policy order changing the rules of the Planning Board to require developers to hold community meetings prior to submitting plans to the Planning Board.
◈ Filed an ordinance to fine developers who “landbank” their property at community expense.
As a graduate of the Cambridge Public Schools, parent of 4 CPS students, and a 4 term Cambridge School Committee member, I have a deep knowledge of the CPS system and am deeply committed to public education. One of the reasons I ran for City Council was because it is my belief that if we are going to close the achievement gap then we need to expand and provide high-quality, affordable early childhood education. That’s why one of my first orders of business when joining the Council was to call for the creation of an early childhood education task force. As a result the City formed a task force which issued a report with a series of recommendations. Click here to read the report. We are currently in year two of a 5 year plan.
Here is what I have done regarding education since joining the Council:
◈ Called for the creation of an Early Childhood Education Task Force.
◈ As Finance Chair included funding of $2.3 million dollars to support the first two years of the Task Force’s recommendations.
◈ Supported free T-passes for low income high school students.
◈ Worked with the School Department to expand the income eligibility guidelines for free breakfast and lunch to ensure more children have at least two healthy meals per day.
◈ Worked with the City to ensure that all students, regardless of their special needs, are included in City run after school programs.
As a father I am terrified at the world my children will inherit. It is unfathomable that as a nation we are still discussing if climate change is real. Over the past two terms I have worked closely with environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and Mothers’ Out Front on a number of issues, including the banning of plastic bags, identifying gas leaks, moving Cambridge toward 100% renewable energy, creating a solar incentive program and expanding charging stations for electric vehicles.
Cambridge is doing many great things when it comes to combating climate change, but we cannot be complacent. We must take bold and aggressive action when it comes to environmental protections and we must work closely with other communities in this effort because Cambridge cannot do it alone.
Here are some of the things I have done regarding climate change since joining the Council:
◈ Worked with the Department of Public Works and the Community Development Department to create a solar incentive program.
◈ Added amendments to the plastic bag ban and polystyrene ban to strengthen environmental protections.
◈ Worked with DPW, Mothers Out Front and Eversource to identify gas leaks in Cambridge and work toward addressing these environmental hazards.
◈ Worked with the Sierra Club calling for more electric car charging stations to be established in Cambridge and calling on the City to change our vehicle fleet to electric vehicles.
◈ Co-sponsored a policy order calling on Cambridge to convert to 100% renewable energy.
I have always loved animals, and since I've been on the City Council, I've been an advocate for animal rights and welfare, taking on the pet shop lobby and bad breeders and working for more parks for our city's dogs. In March 2016 my family and I adopted a rescue dog named Bunker, who, if not for a series of lucky breaks and the dedication of some extraordinary people, would have never had a happy ending.
We don't know all of the details of Bunker's story, but he do know that he was found filthy and starving on the streets in Tennessee and brought to a kill-shelter where he was days away from being 'put down.' Through a network of volunteers, he and a few of his fellow, soon-to-be-euthanized neighbors at the shelter were transported from Tennessee to a loving foster home in New Hampshire where we found him. He has adjusted beautifully to living with us and now, instead of worrying about his basic survival, Bunker's biggest concerns are figuring out how to get an extra treat and in which directing he wants to go for his walk on a given day.
My work and advocacy for animals earned me the honor of being named the MSPCA’s 2016 Local Legislator of the Year. I am truly humbled by being recognized by such an amazing organization as the MSPCA and I will continue to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Here are some of the things I have done regarding animal rights and welfare since joining the Council:
◈ Wrote an ordinance banning the exploitation of exotic animals in the City of Cambridge.
◈ Wrote an ordinance banning the sale of dogs, cats, small mammals, birds and spiders from Cambridge pet shops due to the epidemic of “bad breeders” supplying these stores.
◈ Worked with the City to open dog parks in Cambridgeport, North Cambridge and East Cambridge.
The streets of Cambridge were not built for the volume and multiple modes of transportation we see today. Simply put, our streets are not safe for drivers, bicyclists or pedestrians. I have supported various initiatives such as the Safe Routes To School Program, Vision Zero, the Inman Square Redesign, and pop up bike lanes on Cambridge St. and Mass Ave. to ensure that we are moving Cambridge forward to becoming a City that is truly safe for various types of transportation.
We need to come together as a community in our shared commitment to public safety. Drivers can no longer be unwilling to hold on to parking at all costs. Bicyclist need to support a network of separated bike lanes and not expect one on every street. The divisiveness and political posturing during these conversations is keeping us from making the progress we need. The City needs to continue to invest money in safe street infrastructure and do so at a more aggressive pace. People’s lives depend on it.
Here are some of the things I have done regarding safe street infrastructure since joining the Council:
◈ Filed a policy order calling on Cambridge to join the Safe Routes To School Program
◈ Supported Cambridge becoming a Vision Zero community
◈ Supported budget allocations to pay for improved bicycle infrastructure
◈ Supported the pop up bike lanes on Cambridge St. and Mass Ave.
◈ Filed the policy order that led to the Inman Square Redesign
8 August, 2017
25 April, 2017
16 February, 2017
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"Marc and I have similar values. We both advocate fiercely for the most vulnerable. We have joined forces on such important issues as battling opioid addiction, raising the age to purchase cigarettes to 21 and immigrant rights.
Knowing I can count on Marc on the local level helps me do my job."
- Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
"In the middle of the winter my furnace broke. My children were sleeping in hats and gloves. We were freezing. Our landlord told us it would be weeks before we would have heat. I went to Marc's office hours to ask for help. He spoke with the management company of my building and our heat was fixed the next day. Marc saved our lives."
Marc McGovern is intelligent, hard working and completely committed to a diverse and equitable Cambridge. His leadership on affordable housing in particular has been indispensable. Many candidates share my progressive values but Marc is the one candidate who best knows how to both maintain his principles and work with others to get important things accomplished on the critical issues facing Cambridge.
- Ellen Shachter
"I was in and out of homelessness for 20 years before I met Marc. At the time I was living in a rat infested boarding house in Everett. Marc didn’t have to help me. I couldn’t vote for him. I didn’t have any money to give, but none of that mattered. With his help I received a Section 8 voucher and found a safe place to live. I’m stable again, working, and have never been better. Cambridge needs Marc."
Marc stood by me and my family through some very tough times. He believed in me and wouldn’t let me fail. I don’t know what I would have done without his encouragement. We need Marc on the City Council.
He really cares about the people of Cambridge.”
- K. Spencer
With all the current political divisiveness and gridlock, Cambridge is lucky to have someone like Marc, who knows how to bring stakeholders together and take concrete action for progress.
Many people are all talk, Marc is all action.
- Congresswoman Katherine Clark
Marc has been a tremendous local partner of mine, particularly working with me to improve Magazine Beach. Marc has earned my endorsement because of his tireless and thoughtful efforts to improve Cambridge.
- Jay Livingstone, MA State Rep.
“I’ve known Marc since we were in high school. His commitment to Cambridge is unmatched. To Marc, being a Cambridge City Councillor is about making his community better and helping his fellow residents. You won’t find a harder working, more dedicated City Councillor than Marc McGovern.”
-Sal DiDomenico, MA State Senator
“I have been an advocate for Cambridge seniors for two decades. What I have found is that most elected officials only visit seniors around election time, but not Marc McGovern. Vice-Mayor McGovern has broken from that practice. He visits with seniors often. Not only does he listen to their concerns but acts on them. I can personally vouch for Marc's empathy, caring and sincere action when it comes to seniors in Cambridge.”
-Emmanuel "Manny" Lusardi
“I am supporting Marc because he has been a steady, consistent voice and champion for the most vulnerable in our community. His experience is important moving forward to continue the work and understanding the needs of underserved members of our community.”
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