Leland Cheung

Leland Cheung
2011 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
157 Garden St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Contact information:
Tel: 617-444-9080 (cell)
website: www.electleland.org
e-mail: leland@electleland.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/electleland
Twitter: @lelandcheung

Send contributions to:
Committee To Elect Leland Cheung
157 Garden St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Why I'm Running:
When my father immigrated from China to Cambridge to pursue his American dream, he found a community here very different from all that he had known. He became determined to pass on to me the same appreciation he felt for the uniquely American values we hold dear. Every few years he would take me to China to visit relatives so I could compare my life to theirs. There, I learned how special our Democracy is, giving us freedom, opportunity and the awesome responsibility to participate in shaping our government. After moving across the country, my parents pushed me out the door to volunteer at the Y to teach me the value of community and to draw strength from it by first contributing to it. Seeing my parents lift themselves up using the opportunity America offered them taught me the power politics has in governing the future, catching people when they fall, and helping people create a better life for their children. I chose to move to Cambridge, settle down, buy a house and get married because our community exemplifies my belief that government can be a force for good. Working together, we can solve problems today and lay plans for a better future. The values of inclusive government, the importance of community and the creation and safeguarding of opportunity direct my work as your City Councillor. Please vote Leland Cheung #1 so I may continue working for you. To learn more about my accomplishments this past term, please visit my website: http://www.ElectLeland.org.

Leland is currently serving his first term as City Councillor and is working hard for Cambridge. Leland advocates for job growth, education, and affordable housing across Cambridge. He fights for accessible government and a more open, engaging City Hall. Leland is constantly thinking about how to sustain and support the 'community feel' we cherish in Cambridge and how we can build an even stronger community moving forward.

As Chair of the Economic Development, Training and Employment Committee, Leland has supported local businesses and entrepreneurs to ensure Cambridge remains a hub of innovation and a place where businesses thrive. As Chair of the University Relations Committee, Leland has striven to connect colleges and universities with the community as a whole. Furthering Leland's commitment to public service, he serves on the Policy Committee on Personnel and Labor Relations for the Massachusetts Municipal Association and served as a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay.

Leland is the oldest of two children. He is the son of an engineer and homemaker. His father immigrated from China and his mother immigrated from Canada to pursue opportunity in America. Leland graduated from Stanford with a BA in Economics, a BS in Physics and a Masters degree in Aerospace engineering. Before he was elected to City Council in 2009, Leland served as a Chief Information Officer of Space Adventures, Senior Associate to a Cambridge-based venture capital firm and was a summer fellow at the Department of Energy ARPA-E. Leland is currently pursuing a dual degree MBA / MPA at MIT Sloan and the Harvard Kennedy School part-time.

Leland and his wife Yin are newlyweds. Yin is an Associate at WilmerHale in Boston. They are both proud to call Cambridge home.

Throughout Leland's time as City Councillor, he has demonstrated that he places the needs of Cambridge and its residents first. As a student and young professional, Leland brings a fresh perspective, accessibility and leadership to City Hall. These are qualities Leland believes are vital in making Cambridge a better place.

To learn more about Leland, visit his website.

Top priorities & Issues:
Create Jobs and Grow the Economy – I believe that creating and sustaining jobs is the key to turning around the economy. As Chair of the Economic Development, Training and Employment committee, I serve as a partner and advocate for local businesses. During my time on the Council, I led efforts to make Cambridge more business-friendly by reevaluating out-of-date laws that hinder business growth, worked behind the scenes to keep companies like Novartis in the city, and partnered with Boston City Councillor Mike Ross in a joint initiative to hold the first ever Boston/Cambridge hearing on economic development. Previously, I worked at the Department of Energy and as a venture capitalist in Cambridge investing in startup companies and know what it takes to grow businesses in the city.

  • Created a Public-Private-Academic partnership for the Entrepreneur Walk of Fame to celebrate entrepreneurship and encourage job creation in Cambridge.
  • Led efforts to involve Cambridge in Global Entrepreneurship Week 2011 to spur new ideas, develop the economy and foster the entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Reevaluated out-of-date laws that hinder business growth.
  • Worked to protect the jobs of unionized workers at MIT.
  • Supported a budget that maintained Cambridge's AAA bond rating and kept property taxes the lowest in the state.
  • Led a reform to begin storing tax-payer money in local banks as opposed to an overseas bank as it has been.

To learn more about Leland’s record on job creation, visit his website.

Improving and Investing in K-12 Education – I won't have the opportunity to work on directing the schools to re-focus on the basics unless I happen to be elected mayor. In the meantime, I have been a strong advocate for parents working with the School Committee. For example, this past year I successfully worked with a group of parents seeking approval for a full-immersion Mandarin program. I also worked to bring parents from Fletcher-Maynard (my neighborhood school) to be included in the Innovation Agenda discussion. As Chair of the University Relations Committee, I focus on day-to-day basics that cumulate in a complete education and get more people involved in the process.

  • Fought for housing aimed at keeping graduating students – tomorrow's workforce – in the community and making sure that the city provides affordable housing options for students.
  • Partnered with the Election Commission to develop a bi-annual program to educate students on their voting rights and encourage youth participation in government (at the same time educating them on rules of the road for bikes.)
  • Made information for college students more accessible on the city website and developed a flyer that advertises the city website.
  • Made campus safety one of my highest priorities by evaluating university safety policies and analyzing national campus crime statistics.

To learn more about Leland’s efforts to invest in education, visit his website.

Protecting Affordable Housing – In order to keep as well as attract new residents to Cambridge, housing prices must remain affordable for everyone at all stages and walks of life. In my last term, I reached out to community groups to work on providing low-cost housing where it is needed most. Reducing the foreclosure rate and stabilizing the housing market has been a top priority. I remain committed to providing affordable options so that everyone in Cambridge has a place to call home.

  • Took a strong stand against repealing 40B to protect affordable housing and worked with community activists.
  • Supported efforts to ensure that Craigie Arms remains a key long-term affordable housing resource.
  • Organized a discussion focused on future housing needs for senior citizens and called on a panel of housing experts to work towards solutions.

To learn more about Leland’s commitment to keep housing affordable, visit his website.

Keeping City Hall Honest – I believe keeping City Hall transparent is necessary to foster trust in government. Building on this mission, I introduced a 'Good Government' rules change requiring the City Council to publicly post any new City Manager's contract 96 hours before it is voted on. In order to make the city website accessible to residents with disabilities, I developed a live-streaming video of Council meetings on the city website that worked with all, not just some, computers. I am also introducing a non-emergency phone line (311) that connects residents to the services they need more efficiently. I apply the same rule of transparency to myself and encourage residents to call my cell phone if they have questions or concerns about items that are before the Council.

  • Advocated for transparency in government by working with the Police Department to develop BridgeStat – a crime analysis report modeled after Baltimore's CitiStat to prevent crime and keep citizens informed.
  • Developed a plan to provide more city services online.
  • Investigated voters being incorrectly labeled inactive or registered under the wrong address.

Conserving Energy and Protecting our Environment – Promoting an eco-friendly way of life is the key to living healthy and sustainable lives. We only have one environment and I took steps this past term to preserve our surroundings by investing in parks, hybrid taxis, and open space to maintain our community feel. I also led the policy initiative to develop a curbside composting program to reduce waste, cut down on greenhouse gases and delay the need for new landfills. Everyone can help reverse the damage done to the environment and take small steps to practice green initiatives.

  • Working to develop a curbside composting program to eliminate greenhouse gases and protect the environment.
  • Led initiative to preserve the large trees in front of the old Cambridge Library.
  • Advocated using canvas bags instead of plastic bags at grocery stores.
  • Made parks more inviting by installing barbeques and Wi-Fi.

To learn more about Leland’s mission to protect our environment, visit his website.

Investing in Parking and Transportation – Cambridge is the fifth most densely populated city in America and the second most densely populated city in Massachusetts. The large number of cars, buses, bikes and trucks are equally matched by the number of pedestrians who walk the sidewalks. This past term, I voted to invest in infrastructure, ensuring that drivers, walkers and bikers can get to their destinations safely. I am also spearheading the bike-share program on this side of the Charles which will begin this fall and give residents the ability to rent bikes from one of 14 solar-powered stations around the city.

  • Supported the MassDot Green Line extension plan.
  • Fought to grant the benefit of doubt to residents who had difficulty with the traffic department.
  • Fought to reduce congestion, speeding, and crowding of parking on our streets.

To learn more about Leland’s efforts to improve infrastructure, visit his website.

Encouraging Civic Participation - Too often we are willing to let someone else be concerned about the direction the city is headed. When it comes to civic participation, each and every one of us plays a crucial role. Building on my record for fostering civic participation, I make every effort to hold events to meet with residents and engage them in conversations about our government. I believe change requires work by many people and that thousands of voices calling for change can make a huge impact in the world around us.

  • Introduced a flyer distributed by the universities to provide voter information and educate new students about Cambridge history and the social norms here.
  • Introduced "Cambridge Local Economy Week" September 26th - October 2nd.
  • Personally brought people in to participate in our local government.

To learn more about Leland’s efforts to foster civic engagement, visit his website.

To learn more about me and the issues I care about, please take a moment to visit my website at http://www.ElectLeland.org. I am always looking for eager volunteers to join my campaign. Take the first step and sign up today. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will join me on November 8th to make Cambridge #1!

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Page last updated Tuesday, October 4, 2011 0:15 AM Cambridge Candidates