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Why do you identify as a Democrat?

Kathie Tovo

City Council, District 9

I believe that the Democratic Party is the party of fair play, equity, community, and working families. I am a Democrat because I believe in and share those values.

My parents both worked in the public school system – after earning a GED, my father became the only member of his immediate family to finish high school and then had a career as a public school educator, and my mother worked as a public school nurse. During that time, I remember watching my mother working with her nurse colleagues to help organize a union and to push for better labor standards for her colleagues and a better learning environment for the students; my father was a life-long advocate for public education.

As a young woman, I don’t know that I fully appreciated the impact of their work at the time. But looking back now, I realize that those early experiences instilled in me many of the values that I believe in today: the need for fair and equitable treatment, the power of community, the critical importance of quality public schools, and the belief in the rights of working families.

It is also clear to me that many of our state and federal officials do not share these values and are actively working to undermine our progress. For instance, last session the state legislature heard about a concept the city was considering — the possibility of funding affordable housing through “linkage fees” on new construction. At the time, this was just a basic concept without any firm details – and yet the legislature still moved ahead and pre-emptively banned such a program.

In this challenging atmosphere, we need to elect local leaders who will fight for our progressive values and who have the experience necessary to be effective.

My Council leadership – rooted in lifelong Democratic values – has helped us make real progress on providing affordable housing, pushing for equity in city programs, protecting workers’ rights, serving residents experiencing homelessness, and expanding our use of renewable energy, among many other things.

However, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Given my values, my record, and my experience, I believe I am the District 9 Democrat best positioned to fight successfully to  adopt progressive policies and do everything I can to protect those policies from state attacks. I look forward to continuing to work on these efforts.