Candidate Profile: Craig Kelley
“Marines tend to be harder-edged, more mission- and goal-oriented,” says Cambridge City Councilor Craig Kelley as he reflects on his experience in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Though Kelley is no longer in military service, he applies this mission-centered mentality to his current political campaign. The incumbent candidate, who has been on the City Council for six years, boasts a wide-reaching agenda for Cambridge, including plans to strengthen the relationship between the school system and local government and to increase safety for pedestrians and bikers.
Overall, Kelley unites his platform by framing his proposals as a new vision for Cambridge.
“We need to figure out how to have a one-theme view of forming a citizen,” he says. “We can’t make the world a perfect place, but we can be deliberate about our words and behavior.”
Focused initiatives and intentionality characterize Kelley’s approach to local issues. After serving in the Marine Corps for almost five years, the Wellesley, Mass. native shifted his attention to environmental concerns and worked for Greenpeace. He then pursued his interest in sustainability at Boston College Law School by joining the Environmental Law Society.
Since 2008, Kelley has worked as an environmental compliance specialist at Innovar Consulting.
In November 2005, Kelley successfully ran for a seat on the Cambridge City Council, and with another election now approaching, he acknowledges the wide range of problems facing Cambridge.
“We reflect a lot of society’s issues,” he says. “This is the place in the world to be someone making policy decisions.”
During his time in office, Kelley has worked on the transportation committee and helped develop a traffic enforcement and management tool for the police department. The new system is used to process queries about motor vehicle violations and compare activity at different intersections.
“This allows us to be more intentional,” Kelley says.
Additionally, he has led efforts to itemize funding in the schools’ transportation budget.
“We can’t give away money and have no idea what it means,” Kelley says. “We need to have discussions about spending.”
Education has played a major role in Kelley’s political career and is a key component of his current campaign platform.
“Cambridge is making the future,” he says. “These kids will be cosmopolitan leaders.” Nonetheless, Kelley notes that residents are leaving the Cambridge public school system for various reasons, including the lack of academic rigor, poor classroom management, and the need for improved training for teachers.
Kelley added that while watching the graduation ceremony at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in June, he observed that “most of the kids that had National Honor Society certifications looked like me.”