Avowedly representing a minority in Cambridge politics, Jens says he believes he can sneak onto the council without majority support through Cambridge’s proportional representation voting system, and temper the city’s liberalism with his quiet voice and right-wing stance.
Against a crowd of seven incumbents and 11 other challengers, most with more endorsements, more popular platforms, and more experience, the young torchbearer for Libertarian Republicans faces a tough fight for his niche. Nine candidates will be elected to the council in elections on Tuesday.
“I think it will be close one way or another,” Jens says. “There are several people who could go either way and I think I’m one of them.”
With his Winnie the Pooh tie and a bowl haircut, the 25-year old Jens enters his first race for public office after having served on a number of local Republican committees.
The 1998 MIT graduate, who spent the past three years as a computer programmer, places property concerns at the top of his agenda.
He points out with alarm what he perceives as the leanings of Cambridge’s current City Council to interfere with private property rights, and says he will relax zoning laws and simplify permit processes to allow more rapid development by property owners in Cambridge.
“I think most of the time capitalism works out for the best,” he said.
For Harvard, long fenced in by Cambridge zoning restrictions, Jens’ principles would green-light expansion.
“People say if Harvard wants to develop it must benefit neighborhoods. I say as long as they don’t screw the neighborhood, it’s fine,” he says.
Jens places development high above open space or affordable housing—two staples of most council candidates’ platforms—on his list of priorities.
“I’m not in favor of paving over parks, but I don’t think we need any more,” he says. “People come to Cambridge because it’s crowded and if they don’t like it they can go somewhere else.”
A founder and chair of the Committee to Oppose the Community Preservartion Act, Jens strongly opposes the referendum proposal, which will add a three percent property tax surcharge to support a fund dedicated to open space, historic preservation and affordable housing if Cambridge voters approve the measure on Tuesday.
He argues that the tax will drive small businesses out of Cambridge.
Affordable housing, a key issue for most council candidates, is also not a priority for Jens.
“Affordable housing certainly affects a small group of people very strongly, but it doesn’t affect the whole constituency. I’ll concentrate on more general problems like road paving and straightening sidewalks,” he says.
Cantabrigians Seek Fair Rent From HarvardMore than 70 students and members of the Cambridge community gathered in Sever Hall last night to discuss Harvard's management
The Candidates: Who They Are, Where They StandKatherine Triantafillou, 49 Endorsements: Lavender Alliance, Greater Boston Labor Council, Massachusetts Women¹s Political Caucus, NOW, New Party Painters and Allied
University to Fund Affordable HousingHarvard President Neil L. Rudenstine is expected to announce a multi-million dollar initiative today to use University money to fund
It Takes Two: Harvard and Cambridge Forget Their Differences and Unite to Build Affordable HousingPutting aside months of tension, representatives of the University and the city of Cambridge met yesterday to celebrate the purchase
Mayor Focuses on Education in State of the City AddressIn the first known Cambridge "State of the City Address" last night, Mayor Anthony D. Galluccio lauded the city's efforts
Grogan To Head Boston FoundationPaul S. Grogan will become the new president of a major Boston philanthropic organization this summer, ending his brief tenure