I want to thank you for your support and your belief in me. As I’ve said, I’m going to work my hardest for you. Because this is about all of us.
May 4, 2020
I stepped into my role as City Councilor during a pandemic. It was a bit of an unconventional experience, which I talked a little about on my Facebook page.
Still, despite the uncertainty around us. I am honored to serve during this time. For, I have seen the intense goodness in people throughout Somerville and our greater community, people genuinely concerned with their neighbors and the most vulnerable in our community. I’m sure you have witnessed all this, too. I ask you, please, to focus on that.
I know there’s a lot of massive change happening in a very short span of time. There’s a lot of loss around us, from jobs and revenue to illness and losing loved ones. Still, I urge us all to believe in the good. Believe in the compassion of humanity. Whatever the greater lesson of all this is, we will get through it.
I take my role as City Councilor extraordinary seriously. I am here to serve. Please let me know how I can. I want to hear from you. Please reach out to me, check in.
All my best,
I stepped into my City Councilor role during a pandemic. Some constituents sympathized at how upsetting that must be for me. But, I partially disagreed. Because there is great responsibility in stepping into a role like this at this historical time.
There is no time to get comfortable or “settle in” as the newest councilor. And, that, for me, is just fine. I won’t get lackadaisical. I never wanted to and I won’t even have the chance.
Because of COVID-19, there is no “settling in”. Lives are at stake. Our smaller businesses–our family owned restaurants, art galleries, Somerville-centric magazines and newspapers, immigrant owned businesses–are clutching on with all they have to survive. We have to do everything we can to prevent displacement and evictions. We have to act, swift, to prevent hunger and food insecurity. We have to do all we can to protect jobs. We have to make sure people have access to the supplies they need–like face masks–to proactively guard their health.
Getting residents the protective gear and food they need is critically important. During this shutdown, I’ve been out there in my free time distributing necessary needs for those with limited access. I’ve been calling around and driving all over the place making food deliveries to our most vulnerable residents. I will do so for as long as I have to. Because this is about all of us.
But, just as vitally important as getting to supplies, like PPE, is how we safeguard our community against the very items designed to protect us. And that’s why my very first order as a City Councilor was to address the uptick of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) litter in our city. The order asked that the Director of Communications to create signage that will remind the public of the PPE littering health risks. And, although I don’t want to go there–the financial penalties aka fines for intentionally littering any PPE.
Because, it doesn’t take even a long walk through Somerville to find disposable rubber gloves or masks along the sidewalks or in the grass or in parking lots. Disposed PPE lay along most roads and streets. This is a problem. Just think, if you have small children, some may even be compelled to pick up a disposed brightly colored purple glove.
And, aside from that, this order prompts our neighborhood to consider our city employees–specifically the ones that have to pick all of that litter. Or…if PPE is not picked up before it rains, the PPE litter is guided into our waterways into another source. All scenarios are very undesirable results.
So, the hope of this order is to address the basic concept of looking out for each other through considering our community. And, this is just one order. I’m just getting started.
I want to leave you with the idea that I’ve been blessed to see so much good in people through the horror of this pandemic. I bet you have, too. There’s a lot of good glowing out there. Let’s focus on that. And, let’s build each other up through all this.
Reach out to me and let me know how you’re doing out there.
[photo of City Councilor at Large Kristen Strezo speaking at a microphone]
Thank you, Somerville and the best of luck to Councilor Stephanie Hirsch in the next chapter of her life. I will be stepping into the role of City Councilor at-Large beginning the end of April, 2020
March 15, 2020
City Councilor Stephanie Hirsch has announced that she will be stepping down from her role as City Councilor at Large. I am grateful for her hard work and commitment to Somerville and wish her the best as she moves on into her next role.
As the next largest vote earner, I am thrilled to honor your past support as I step up to serve in Councilor Hirsch’s place. I am, as ever, wholeheartedly devoted to making sure you’re living your best life here. And while a goal that big is truly a community effort, as your City Councilor, I assure you that I will give you my all to make it happen.
I’ve listened to your priorities this past year and they included sustaining and building an affordable Somerville, a greener city and safely enhancing our many modes of transportation like walking, biking and public transit. I am committed to, and believe in, all of these values. Your priorities are my priorities.
Over the next several weeks, I am working to make this transition as seamless as possible. I am in the process of compiling and studying past agendas and diving in deeper into our most pressing issues like COVID-19 preparedness and response. If you’d like, please share any insights you may have on the topics that each committee is discussing. Your voice matters to me.
The city will be issuing me an official email address that I will send out in my next update. If you’d like to contact me immediately, the best way is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to collaborating with you in this lovely city of ours.