Larry Ward would like to involve the Harvard community in many of the ideas he hopes implement should he return to the Cambridge City Council after the November election.
“Mr. Ward wants Harvard students to engage with the community, and he is committed to finding different ways to do that,” says Jeffrey F. Solnet ’12, who is a member of Ward’s campaign.
Breeanna M. Elliott ’14, who is campaigning for Ward, says that she thinks that Ward is partially motivated to court students more heavily than other candidates because he does not already have a solid campaign base as he is not an incumbent. Ward replaced Vice Mayor Brian P. Murphy ’86-’87 in March of 2009 when Murphy left to work in the office of transportation. Ward finished out the term and lost in the Nov. 2009 election.
For incumbents there isn’t a need to stray from their usual constituency, Elliott says.
“Mr. Ward is trying to reach out to Harvard, MIT, and Wellesley. He is looking to improve and expand the electorate, and not to just maintain it,” she says.
Ward is also looking to engage high school voters.
“People write the younger generation off, they see them as people who won’t vote,” says Ward. “We have registered as many as 70 students down at the high school.”
Ward is active in the Cambridge community, a member of many charitable organizations, working especially with the Cambridge youth. As City Councilor in 2009, Ward founded the Cambridge Ink Recycling Program to recycle ink cartridges from schools and businesses and give the money back to Cambridge youth centers, a program which has raised $8,000 in its first year.
Ward also currently acts as the statewide coordinator for the Massachusetts Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education, an organization aimed at reforming Massachusetts standardized testing and improving the overall quality of public education.
Looking forward, Ward hopes to work with the Harvard members of the Phillips Brooks House Association in order to form new volunteer programs and greater opportunities within Cambridge.
“A significant portion of students are already involved in the community through PBHA programs, and Mr. Ward wants to expand those programs,” says Elliott.
Specifically, Ward plans to improve the Cambridge teen centers with the help of college volunteers. Ward believes that the centers are currently underutilized and no longer satisfy the evolving needs of the teens in Cambridge.
One idea that Ward proposed was to turn a teen center into a recording studio, where youth could go to learn about the different aspects of the growing industry. “We need to feed and lead our young people in to careers,” says Ward.
Additionally, Ward hopes that Harvard students can volunteer in a wide range of areas in the teen centers. Ward envisions students from the Design School working in the Visual Arts Center, while the teens could make great use of Harvard’s Astronomy observatory.
“Ward wants to create avenues for students to become involved,” Solnet says.
As the election approaches, Ward is attending frequent get-togethers to discuss his policies one-on-one with voters, hosted by Cambridge residents committed to the campaign.
At one such gathering, Ward addressed the importance of the composition of the next City Council, as it will most likely have to replace Robert W. Healy Jr.
“This City Council will potentially face the toughest decision it has faced in the past 30 years,” he said. “I will bring a voice of reason to make sure the selection process is authentic, and that we select the person who is best for Cambridge.”
Ward stresses the difference between people and constituents, as he believes it is the City Council’s job to represent everyone in Cambridge, whether or not they are voters.
“Cambridge is a very diverse city in terms of strong opinions. If you elect me, you get someone who will listen,” Ward says.