Denise Simmons

Denise Simmons
2005 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
188 Harvard Street
Cambridge MA 02139

Contact information:

Send contributions to:

  • Cambridge City Council 2002-2003/2004 -present
  • Cambridge School Committee 1992-2001
  • Serving as the Vice Chair 96, 98, 01
  • Cambridge Civic Unity Committee, City of Cambridge, Executive Director 82-02
  • License Insurance Broker and Owner, Cambridgeport Insurance Agency, est. 1983
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Notary Public

I am a lifelong resident of Cambridge with a deep commitment to improving the quality of life for Cambridge residents. I own a small business and am closely attuned to the needs of small business owners. I am raising my grandchildren who are currently in Cambridge public schools. My 10 years on the Cambridge School Committee attest to my commitment to the quality of our public schools. Prior to serving on the School Committee, I served as Executive Director of the Civic Unity Committee of the City of Cambridge, working on equity and fairness. I am also a Justice of the Peace.

I am currently serving my second term on the Cambridge City Council, chairing the Human Services Committee and the Committee on Cable TV, Telecommunications, and Public Utilities. I'm a member of the National Committee on Youth, Families and Education (National League of Cities); the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee; the Cambridge Kids' Council Board of Directors; the Massachusetts Municipal Association; and the NAACP.

I have been endorsed, to date, by: the Carpenters Union Local #40; Greater Boston Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Local Division 589 of the Amalgamated Transit Union AFL/CIO-CLC; Progressive Democrats of Cambridge (PDC); and the Sierra Club, Massachusetts Chapter.

Top Priorities:
Services to Neighborhoods, including a Strong Service Net for Families; Good Schools for All Children; A Diverse City that Insures Equity and Fairness for all Citizens through Affordable Housing and Access to Services.

Quality of Life and Public Safety:
Safety and a high quality of life are essential to all our citizens. I have specifically worked on this issue related to working with the police to increase foot patrols in Area Four and Cambridgeport. I advocated for state-of-the-art rodent control devices and more frequent trash pick-up to address the rodent problem and general cleanliness in our neighborhoods. I will continue to support increased safety as specific issues emerge, whether they are related to crime, traffic, or other threats to health.

Traffic, Parking, and Transportation:
I have advocated for more effective transportation, especially for Seniors. As a result of the first-ever Senior Town Meeting, which I sponsored in October 2004, there are now better taxi services for seniors and people with disabilities in locations around the city. I have also tried to promote more walking by our residents via the national Walk Your Child to School Day and the African American Parent Involvement Day.

Municipal Finance, City Budget, Assessments, and Property Taxes:
I will support a careful review of city-imposed taxation and will advocate for changes that address fairness, such as looking at other sources of revenues and bringing our concerns to the State level if necessary.

Land Use, Planning, Economic Development:
Increase public open space, aggressively pursue goals of the green space committee report on these issues. We must also include community gardens and make room for bicycles and pedestrians in our planning.

Human Services Programs:
After carefully reviewing childcare and after school programs, I am now prepared to advocate for better after-school services for younger students. Inter-agency collaboration is essential to improve services to children and I plan to work on this in my next term. Older children need better community services after school-- including sports, creative activities, and academic enhancement programs such as tutoring. I have advocated for more outdoor activity in our after school programs, emphasizing the 5-2-1 program: 5 fruits and vegetables, 2 hours less of TV, and 1 hour of physical activity each day. I will support such initiatives and initiate, especially, those related to helping our young people thrive in school and be prepared for college.

As a result of planning and running the Senior Town Meeting in October 2004, I have met with hundreds of seniors in order to hear their concerns. To that end, I have assured adequate taxi service for Seniors at the Porter Square shopping center so that seniors can use their taxi coupons. I have worked with the city to improve seniors' safety by posting traffic signs near senior housing complexes designed to encourage drivers to slow down. I am currently working to improve outreach to senior citizens who live on their own without the support of a community of seniors as neighbors. I have also worked to improve the meals program for seniors.

Open Space, Parks, and Recreation:
Our families and children deserve quality open space, fairly dispersed in all neighborhoods. I support the establishment and upgrading of parks and playgrounds, especially related to making recreational spaces safe and healthy.

Energy, the Environment, and Public Health:
I sponsored an Asthma Forum in October 2004 to address, especially, concerns about school environments. I will support all efforts to make our schools, other public buildings, and our air healthier. LNG busses are a great start. I support the conversion of school buses to cleaner fuels. I will continue to support “Cleaner Cambridge” initiatives.

As State and Federal funds for housing preservation and construction dry up, the City must continue to invest in housing for our low and moderate income tenants and homeowners. We should be very proud of our track record using Community Preservation Act funds that are matched dollar for dollar by the State. Cambridge needs a comprehensive housing policy to insure that the number of units of affordable housing increases. I will continue to work for low and moderate-income tenants, and to make home ownership available for those who cannot afford market prices-through limited equity coops and condos.

Arts and Public Celebrations:
Arts and public celebrations contribute greatly to the quality of life and sense of community in Cambridge. Through them we can celebrate our diversity, get to know each other, and have a good time. I will continue to support as wide a range of cultural activities as the City can afford.

University Relations:
Although our local universities contribute a great deal to the quality and fabric of life in Cambridge, I would like to see them support city services at a level more commensurate with their resources.

Civic participation:
I enjoy meeting with community groups as part of participatory government. I have met frequently with organizations, neighborhood groups, buildings residents, and individuals in order to hear their concerns. I plan to continue to do this. Please contact me!

Cambridge Public Schools:
Education is a passport to opportunity. To the extent that we fail to provide good schools for all our children, we effectively eliminate children's passports for success. It is imperative that we strengthen our public schools, particularly our middle schools, in order to serve our children effectively.

Economic Development, Workforce Issues:
I will work to support better economic development, workforce training, and jobs in order to keep Cambridge citizens employed.

Page last updated July 01, 2007 Cambridge Candidates