Somerville Alderman Candidate: Katjana Ballantyne
Katjana Ballantyne responds to questions about her background, Somerville and Ward 7's most important issues and why residents should vote for her.
Note: You may read a profile of Ballantyne here.
What are the two most important issues facing Ward 7 and Somerville right now, and what would you do on the Board of Aldermen to address those issues?
It keeps getting more expensive to live here in Ward 7 and Somerville, and we have no clear plan to turn that around. Somerville residents pay too much of the cost of city services alone, through taxes, fees and fines. We need to share those costs with more new businesses, and we need more local jobs. People here in Ward 7 also don’t want to be surprised anymore by the city’s decisions; like the decision to change zoning and to sell our public property at the Powder House School site. People here want to be involved in making decisions about their neighborhoods. That’s why I’ll work hard for affordability, local jobs and to make our local government open and inclusive, as my priorities. I’ll work to get people involved because that’s what people here want and we need everyone involved to make good decisions. I’ll keep reaching-out to residents as I have done in my campaign, I’ll listen and I’ll be responsive. As Alderman I’ll work hard to create an Economic Development Plan to promote our neighborhood squares for the right kind of development; so that new businesses will share the cost of city services and create new, local jobs. I’ll also fight for a jobs ordinance to require city contractors to make jobs available to residents.
Tell us about your background
In business, I’ve worked for twenty five years with international companies, start-ups and I’ve co-founded a local company. I’m working now to start a new energy-efficiency company in the new green economy, to provide living-wage jobs and to encourage local investment. As a board member and a past President of the Board of the Somerville Community Corporation, I worked to help make affordable housing and small business space in Somerville, and to teach financial literacy skills to help working people and their families in Somerville.I’m a long-time resident of Teele Square; I own a home here, I’m raising a family here, my two daughters are in our public schools, and I work here. I’ve done my best to show my commitment to our Ward 7 community by these choices and by volunteering in the public schools, tutoring adult English at SCALE and on the board of the SCC.
Why should Somerville residents vote for you?
As alderman I’ll be responsive to residents on the street-by street issues, and I’ll help us to focus on big picture issues as well. I’ll make sure that sidewalks, lights trees and quality of life are maintained in our neighborhoods, and I’ll work to keep residents informed and involved. I’ll also fight to get an economic development plan in place for more businesses and more jobs. My experience in both business and community development here in Somerville and my commitment to Ward 7 qualify me to help us make a great place to live even better.