Former Defense Department General Counsel Appointed Harvard’s Top Lawyer


Democracy Center Protesters Stage ‘Emergency Rally’ with Pro-Palestine Activists Amid Occupation


Harvard Violated Contract With HGSU in Excluding Some Grad Students, Arbitrator Rules


House Committee on China to Probe Harvard’s Handling of Anti-CCP Protest at HKS


Harvard Republican Club Endorses Donald Trump in 2024 Presidential Election

Cambridge City Council Candidate: Leland Cheung

By David Song, Crimson Staff Writer

If reelected for a second term on the Cambridge City Council, Leland Cheung says he will be an advocate for government transparency.

“On the council, I have been a loud and passionate voice for government that is transparent and accountable,” Cheung says, citing his initiative to have government contracts available to the public.

On the issue of transparency, Cheung hopes to generate more public participation and dialogue on the renewing of the City Manager’s contract, which will expire next year.

“You’re going to want all hands on deck, with city councilors who have an open, inclusive process for this manager issue,” Cheung says of the contract renewal. “We have to be making sure we have an open and honest process for whatever we do moving forward.”

As a former entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Cheung also places emphasis on job creation in Cambridge. He plans to continue pushing for more business-friendly policies and a reevaluation of old laws that he says hamper business development.


Cheung, currently enrolled at both the Harvard Kennedy School and the MIT Sloan School of Management, had previously worked at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. and Space Adventures, a venture capitalist firm based in Cambridge, before serving his first term on the council. Cheung says that one of the many things that inspired him to initially run was the fact that “there really wasn’t anyone else on the Council representing people that were young professionals, such as those involved in the local tech community, or even students.”

Cheung is the first Asian-American as well as the first student to ever serve on the Cambridge City Council.


In his push for transparency during his first term, Cheung introduced the “Good Government” rule change. With the change, the council is now required to post any new City Manger’s contract for public viewing 96 hours before they vote on the contract.

Cheung also introduced legislation that led to the creation of BridgeStat, a crime-reduction program modeled after Baltimore’s CitiStat, involving prediction and information of criminal activities to the public. Cheung pushed for BridgeStat to keep the public better informed of how Cambridge police are targeting crime, as well as information on crime data. The program received an award from the International Association of Crime Analysts.


During his first term on the City Council, Cheung was chair of the Economic Development, Training and Employment Committee. He introduced various policies to attract businesses and jobs to Cambridge as well as began initiatives to encourage entrepreneurs in the city, such as Entrepreneur Walk of Fame in Kendall Square.

Cheung also helped lead a joint hearing with the Boston City Council on economic issues, the first joint initiative of its kind between the two cities to develop a partnered strategy in attracting jobs to the area.


Supporters note that Cheung is very accessible to his constituents.

“He was always responsive when they needed something done in the neighborhood,” Cambridge resident Elizabeth Manchester says. “He’s doing what constituents actually want him to do ... daily living up to his commitments.”

Manchester also notes Cheung’s policies with public spaces, such as bringing more accessibility and additions such as WiFi to public parks.

In his first two years on council, Cheung passed more legislation than any other previous council member.

“He resets the bar for what a City Council member needs to do,” North Cambridge resident Chris Russkellogg says.

Most of the policy changes that Cheung made in direct response to residents’ concerns were specific, local issues, such as fixing physical problems on certain streets and addressing particular parking issues to encourage more people to patronize area restaurants.

Cheung explains that he did not set out to introduce a higher number of legislative measures than his colleagues.

“I tried to make the most of the opportunity to help as many people as possible, so it just resulted from my drive to respond to the community,” Cheung says.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

City Politics