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A resident of Cambridge for the past 10 years, Adriane Musgrave is a former management consultant who hopes to ensure that housing in Cambridge is affordable. She wants to establish universal pre-kindergarten in Cambridge and develop road infrastructure to bring bike commuting into the mainstream and promote safe practices for all citizens. Focused on economic inequality, she is on the executive board of Interise, a national economic development nonprofit headquartered in Boston. A Better Cambridge, a group that focuses on sustainable growth, has endorsed Musgrave.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
THE HARVARD CRIMSON: What do you think are the biggest issues facing the Cambridge City Council?
ADRIANE MUSGRAVE: It's probably no surprise to you affordable housing is the bigger issue that everyone is talking about and it's been this way for a really long time. I think the three things that I talk a lot about are we need to look all across the city and strategically add density where possible. You know, as density is diversity and the opportunity of living in our city is so high, and so we need a citywide affordable housing overlay. We need to explore property tax reduction for residents who offer below-market rates and explore the use of our parking lots for middle income housing. We need to take a good hard look at our zoning code to reform it so that it's more equitable for our affordable housing groups.
I think we should explore ways to use property tax credit for homeowners who would offer either rooms or housing units at below-market rates as a way to incentivize individuals to bring more housing on the market.
THC: Why should Cantabrigians vote for you over other candidates?
AM: I think of all the new candidates I have the strongest grasp of where we are and the challenges of the issues we're working with. And I worked really hard to make sure that when elected, I can hit the ground running. I’m on the board of a national economic development nonprofit called Interise. We're headquartered in Boston and we work in over 75 communities across the country and we work with small business owners to get them the tools to succeed to grow their business. It's a really innovative way of addressing poverty and inequality and through my work on the executive board of this organization I've come to really understand the levers that we have in order to help families build family financial stability, which is so crucial here in Cambridge. A lot of folks don't realize that we have 18 percent of our kids and nearly 40 percent of our single moms living in poverty. And so there are many things that we should be doing to make sure that everyone at Cambridge has access to economic opportunity. And that's the core part of my platform and is quite frankly something not a lot of the candidates are really talking about and I have a unique perspective and experience to bring to help.
THC: How do you think Cambridge should respond to President Donald Trump’s policies?
AM: Here in Cambridge we will fight really hard to maintain the values and the culture that we believe in and that we care about here. And so we have worked very hard to maintain our status as a sanctuary city because it was decided by the Supreme Court that they're not allowed to take away funds because of our sanctuary city status. We've worked very hard to find creative legal ways to establish funding for DACA. And it's not just Trump, it’s the full Republican Congress. So earlier this month the Republican Congress let the child health insurance program expire. This is a program that serves tens of millions of children all across the country in making sure that children and lower-income families have access to primary care and preventive health. Here in Massachusetts, our funding will run out by March of next year. Again, when we have 18 percent of our kids here in Cambridge who are in poverty and using those programs, it’s important for the next City Council to figure out and think about these funding mechanisms and think about the kind of federal programs that our residents are benefiting from.
That said, I think there's a risk actually of focusing too much on national issues. Quite frankly I think we have been talking about universal early childhood education—you know, Pre-K for all—for a really long time and we haven't made a lot of progress on that. We don't need to wait on the federal government to do that; we can do that here in Cambridge.
THC: Back to more local issues, how do you think Cambridge should balance the need for more bike lanes and concerns from residents who say the lanes take up their parking space?
AM: I am a long time bike commuter and road cyclist and I am thrilled with the bike infrastructure that we’ve put in place. Adding in bike lanes makes it safer for cyclists, it makes it safer for pedestrians, and it makes it safer for drivers here in the city. I think we need to continue to keep in mind that we have lots of different people in our city and lots of different uses for a streets. I think we need to continue to keep in mind that we have lots of different people in our city and lots of different uses for a streets. Figuring out how to integrate all of these things is something that I think we should continue to work on but it doesn't mean that we should stop adding bike lanes throughout the city.
THC: How do you think Cambridge should regulate the use and distribution of recreational marijuana?
AM: In Cambridge we already have a medicinal marijuana shop. Not many communities have that, not many communities have a needle exchange. Again forward-thinking public health and forward-thinking sort of community needs or wants is something that I think we do pretty well at. So I'd like to see it possible here in Cambridge—I don't think we should exclude it, I also don't think we wanted to become ever-present all throughout the city.