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Incumbent Cambridge city councilor Timothy J. Toomey, Jr. is seeking another term on a platform advocating for increased affordable housing and socioeconomic and racial diversity.
Toomey — a former State Representative and member of the Cambridge School Committee — first began serving on the City Council in 1989. He said his extensive background in city government and roots in East Cambridge inform his approach to serving on the Council.
“I think I have a pretty good background of the workings of the city government and what the residents, you know, need and expect from their elected officials,” he said.
This election cycle, Toomey said he will continue to prioritize his connections with constituents, referencing his office on 550 Cambridge St. and his longtime residence in the city.
“Obviously being someone who’s grown up in the city, I’ve been aware of the dynamics of the city. I’ve seen how the city has changed from a real working class, multi-ethnic city, to a very expensive city to call home now, so there’s no question about that,” Toomey said.
Though the city has met some of its inclusionary housing goals, Toomey said he would like to expand the policy to include family-style units for the middle class. Toomey is one of nine candidates endorsed by A Better Cambridge Action Fund, an organization committed to electing progressive pro-housing candidates.
“Everybody says that we need more affordable housing, but then there’s a caveat: ‘not in my neighborhood though,’” Toomey said. “What I and others have been trying to achieve is that all neighborhoods should have some affordable housing.”
“There are some opportunities, I think, in the other neighborhoods to expand on the affordable housing stock in the city,” he added.
Toomey is one of several Cambridge politicians working to build the Grand Junction Multi-use Path, a proposed multi-use trail for bikers and joggers that will run from the Boston University Bridge to Somerville. He said he is excited about the progress on the path thus far.
“Right now it’s very difficult to get from East Cambridge to the Cambridgeport to the Charles River. This way it’d be a straight route down the path,” Toomey said. “I think it’s something to knit the neighborhood together.”
Toomey added that private sector institutions like MIT — which has committed $8.5 million to construct a portion of the path — have supported the path alongside the city.
“We are working very hard to make that a reality,” Toomey said.
Toomey also cited his efforts to support local businesses, noting that he shares office space with the president of the East Cambridge Business Association. He cited initiatives including the Small Business Recycling Pilot, a program which provides small businesses with free recycling collection, and the Storefront Improvement Program, a city grant that finances storefront renovations.
Asked about Harvard’s relationship with Cambridge, Toomey said he thinks it could improve.
“Clearly, we always feel that the University can do more,” he said.
Toomey also spoke about his history with Harvard. He said that, as a child, he received tutoring at a Phillips Brooks House Association program.
“It really opened my eyes and it exposed me to a whole ’nother world that I hadn't experienced in my neighborhood,” Toomey said. “In public schools, the achievement gap is really glaring, and so the more that the universities can provide, especially educational resources to our students, is really very, very important.
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