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Cambridge Councillor Launches Campaign for Lieutenant Governor

By Robert J Lemos
By Conor J. Reilley and Zohra D. Yaqhubi, Crimson Staff Writers

Cambridge City Councillor Leland Cheung, a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School, launched a campaign for lieutenant governor Friday morning in Central Square.

Last week, Cheung, a former venture capitalist, said that his prior experiences in municipal politics were what led him to contemplate the bid.

“I’ve learned a lot over the last four years as a Cambridge City Councillor,” Cheung said in an interview Feb. 4. “The issues that I’ve been tackling as a Cambridge city councillor and the challenges and opportunities that we’ve faced in the city are the same ones that exist in the Commonwealth.”

Cheung noted that, if elected, he hopes to continue the work of outgoing Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick ’78 in advancing infrastructure and education.

“That’s the biggest choice that we face in the election this yearare we going to continue the work that Governor Patrick has started...or are we going to go backwards?” Cheung said.

Cheung began serving on the Council in 2009, while pursuing his Masters in Public Administration at the Kennedy School. He also holds a degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

“The education and experience really provided my framework for evaluating policy,” Cheung said of his time at the Kennedy School.

During his two terms on the Council, Cheung has passed more legislation than any of his peers. Cheung has championed the need for increased government transparency to improving methods used by Cambridge police as how to predict and gather data on crimes.  He also served as chair of the Economic Development, Training, and Employment Committee, introducing policies to help make Cambridge more attractive to entrepreneurs.

Cheung secured his seat on the Council for a second term after winning more votes than any other candidate for the nine-person Council in November 2013.

Cheung says those two terms have provided him with experience that he believes will serve to his advantage when he runs for state office. He now calls his city level experience “invaluable—not just in terms of thinking about what's right, but thinking about how you can actually make it happen.”

“People talk about helping the poor and investing in education. But working on a city council you get to see it face to face,” Cheung said. “You’re there working with teachers, you’re there working with kids who are trying to get into the innovation economy. You’re working with families that are trying to provide a better education for their kids, a better life for their family.”

The field of candidates vying for Lt. Governor will be considerably smaller than that of the Cambridge City Council election this past fall, with only six formal contenders as of Saturday.  Included are James Arena-Derosa, a former USDA administrator, Jonathan Edwards, a member of the Whately Board of Selectman, Steve Kerrigan, former CEO of the Democratic National Convention and a co-chair of the Obama’s second Presidential Inaugural Committee,  and Michael Lake, director of development for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

—Staff writer Conor J. Reilley can be reached at

—Staff writer Zohra D. Yaqhubi can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @zohradyaqhubi.

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PoliticsHarvard Kennedy SchoolCambridge City CouncilState Politics

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