Ben Ewen-Campen and his wife Alex
 

I’m running for Ward 3 Alderman because I believe that Somerville is facing a crisis of affordability. I believe that by working together, we can do much more to keep Somerville liveable and to prevent displacement. I grew up about ten minutes away, just outside Central Square in Cambridge, and in my old neighborhood young families are being priced out every day. It has been hard to watch Cambridge losing the fight for housing affordability; I’m running for Alderman because I want to prevent the same situation from happening here in our city.

I’m a biologist at Harvard Medical School. My career is about tackling tough problems and digging for answers. I think we need new voices at the table, who are committed to looking for real answers and taking the long view. I will bring a fresh perspective to the issues facing our community. I believe that we need scientists running for office at all levels of government, and I’m proud to be doing so in my own community.

Being a scientist is about more than analyzing data and digging for evidence. It is also about collaboration and mentoring the next generation. In my own career, I have mentored many young scientists, including high school students in the Dana Farber CURE Program, which provides innovative educational opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds, and I will work hard to represent all of the residents here.

I was raised to fight for social, economic, and environmental justice. My father is a lifelong advocate for affordable housing in the Boston area, serving on the board of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, and working in particular for racial justice in housing policy. My mother is an educator, activist, and artist with a studio at Brickbottom. I was educated in public schools, and I will always be a strong advocate for our schools, our libraries, and our green spaces.

It was in the public schools that I first discovered my passion for both science and for writing. Through my work I have been published in Slate and Popular Science. I love teaching. I love learning about the nitty-gritty details, and providing a working knowledge to the public. As Alderman, I plan to communicate the major decisions taken by the Board of Aldermen and subcommittees. I’ll be sending newsletters, and knocking on doors. I will actively seek out meaningful community input on the big issues and the small issues. I want to empower the neighborhoods to have real decision-making power, and to not just learn about new projects when they hear construction break ground outside their apartment. I will be someone who keeps the neighborhood informed and engaged on all the local issues.

After graduating from Swarthmore College, I worked as a biologist in Montana and Alaska, and moved back in 2009. Somerville is where I’m going to spend the rest of my life. My wife Alex and I got married in April on Prospect Hill and we are planning to raise a family here. Alex is a research administrator and a local artist. She has a studio at Washington Street studios just outside of Union Square.  I want to fight to keep this an affordable, diverse, inclusive community. We plan to send our kids to Somerville public schools here. We want a city where our teachers can afford to live here as well.

I talk about affordability so much because we actually do need to be building more housing, and more commercial properties to offset our taxes and provide jobs, more green space, better infrastructure, and more investment in the future. But we need to be doing it in a way that prioritizes people over profits, and gives the people who live and work here a real voice in the process, and protects people who are really feeling the squeeze.

Somerville is at a vital crossroads, but I know we’re going to tackle affordability head-on and come out on top. I know Somerville can be a national leader on affordability and all the issues we face, because we are blessed with an unbreakable political spirit here, and an unbelievable brain trust of brilliant, hard working people. With your help and your support, I would be humbled and honored to work hard every day to serve our community as your Alderman.

 

Sincerely,

Ben Ewen-Campen
Ward 3 Somerville Candidate
28 Warren Ave. #5

 

 

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