Commitment to Cambridge
Now 57 years old, Craig and his wife, Hope live in North Cambridge with their two sons, Robbie (22) and Cooper (20). The friendly neighborhoods, dynamic schools, bustling shopping areas, wonderful parks, impressive libraries and great people have earned Cambridge a special place in Craig’s heart. After ten years of advocacy in his local neighborhood group, Craig was elected to Cambridge City Council in 2005 and he has been helping Cambridge meet the 21st Century’s economic, housing, transportation and educational challenges ever since.
Craig understands that Cambridge, and the entire region, faces a real housing crisis. He feels strongly that the Affordable Housing Overlay, as written, was poorly drafted and would have had many negative consequences, including the redevelopment of eastern Cambridge’s livable low-scale affordable housing developments into dense, multi-story complexes with minimal open space, no parking and no interesting architectural features. Craig understands that increased density is how Cambridge, and the region, will help meet our housing needs and he has supported good zoning that promotes appropriate development. He wrote, and got passed, zoning to legalize and regulate short-term rentals like AirBnb, legislation that will return hundreds of units back to the traditional rental market. He also wrote and got passed zoning to make it easier to develop auxiliary dwelling units throughout Cambridge.
Sustainability and Resiliency
Craig was a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School in Municipal Resiliency and Democratic Institutions. He understands the tension between annual budget cycles, two year election cycles and a climate change timeline that is impacting us now and will continue to do so for the indefinite future. To help meet our climate change and sustainability challenges, Craig has supported a stronger tree protection ordinance and funding to expand our tree planning and canopy maintenance programs. He wrote and got passed an ordinance to help counter the threats posed by the invasive species of running bamboo, proposed zoning to incentivize carbon emission reduction in existing buildings, supported zoning to mitigate flooding issues in places like Alewife and chaired a Mayor’s Special Task Force on Municipal Resiliency to map out ways Cambridge can mitigate the Urban Heat Island effect, build stronger communities and address larger issues such as the fragility of our electrical grid.
Craig and his wife have been car-free for over a decade. He, and his whole family, bike all over Cambridge. He sees the possibilities, and the challenges, associated with Micromobility devices like Ebikes and scooters as tools to cut congestion associated with our last-mile transportation needs. He supports expansion of MBTA facilities, including more and better bus options, more effective and comprehensive traffic enforcement and education and more aggressive infrastructure improvements to create and maintain safe spaces for cyclists and pedestrians.
- Chaired the Council’s Traffic, Parking & Transportation Committee for his first three terms.
- Currently chairs the Council’s Public Safety Subcommittee, where he has focused on surveillance issues, police oversight and legalizing and regulating short-term rentals like AirBnB.
- Co-chairs the Council’s Ordinance Committee, working on cannabis equity, modernizing our zoning code and strengthening our tree protection laws.
- Has chaired the Veterans’ Committee.
- Served on a variety of other Council and City committees, including chairing the Mayor’s Special Advisory Committee on Neighborhood-Based Resiliency during his 2016-2017 term.
- As the leading voice for cyclists on the City Council (Craig has been without a car for the past 12 years) Craig works locally and regionally to:
- promote safe biking in all its forms
- allow Cambridge to prosper without creating street chaos caused by the expanding Delivery Economy and increased use of New Urban Mobility devices.
Craig maintains dozens of email lists focused on City-issues and also publishes articles on his blog and LinkedIn. He has written and published an environmental novel and co-authored a book on environmental compliance.
Cambridge Public Schools
- Served for years on the Maria L. Baldwin School Advisory Council, in addition to his City Council duties.
- Understands the importance of the “A” in STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, Math.
- Is an active supporter of all things having to do with visual and performing arts, both in and out of the Cambridge Public Schools.
- Craig’s family had a fabulous and successful CPS experience.
- Is emphatic that public schools exist to serve all students, not just those coming from a position of privilege.
- Has been consistent and data-based in his critiques of Cambridge’s unequal educational results, often being the only “No” vote on the City Council when he thought the CPS budget was insufficiently supporting our most disadvantaged students.
- Has argued for stronger school climate and classroom management programs throughout the District.
- Recently proposed a CPS version of the City’s “Participatory Budgeting” process, to help ensure that the wider school community gets the ability to suggest and evaluate innovative educational ideas.
Craig believes that vibrant local democratic institutions and the give-and-take of honest, robust dialogues, in person or on-line, are crucial to the health of not just Cambridge but the entire United States.
Transparency, accountability and openness are the cornerstones of good government. In keeping with these democratic truths, Craig regularly attends public meetings, maintains dozens of topical email lists and is exceptionally accessible to his constituents as he walks or bikes around town. He is renowned for his constituent services efforts and his ability to effectively and quickly communicate complex civic issues to the general public.
Special interest money funneled into politics via PACs, whether in Cambridge or in Washington, DC, subverts the core values of democracy and stratospheric campaign spending, regardless of where the money comes from, leads people to feel that the general public is being squeezed out of politics at all levels. Craig has been both a vocal advocate for local campaign finance reform and a personal example of how candidates can run successful City Council campaigns without raising and spending the vast sums of cash that, essentially, freeze many would-be contenders out of politics because the entry price is too high.
Besides playing board games with his wife and children, Craig enjoys canoeing, bicycling, hiking, reading and writing. See https://www.facebook.com/craig.kelley.967 for more.