Praise from Councilor Niedergang

Note: Councilor Mark Niedergang, who is not seeking reelection, has chosen not to make an endorsement prior to the Sept. 14 primary, but instead offered positive assessments of both Beatriz and one other candidate. His note on Beatriz is reproduced in full here, with boldface added.

I’ll start with Beatriz Gomez Mouakad, since I have known her longer. (Full disclosure: Beatriz was a member of my “Kitchen Cabinet,” for three years. This is a group of about two-dozen, mostly-Ward 5 residents that I convene a few times a year for frank discussions and to give me advice on politics and policy.)

Beatriz is a long-time Ward 5 resident who has been deeply involved in the community life for 15 years. She’s served on several City and non-profit boards. She has a down-to-earth, on-the-ground understanding of and engagement in key issues in Ward 5 such as safe streets and traffic calming, open space and trees, and the small local businesses in Ball and Magoun Squares. For many years, she has been communicating with me about various City and Somerville Public School issues. We have had many long discussions about these issues. While I haven’t always agreed with her, I have always found what she has shared with me to be valuable.

Beatriz would bring a special perspective to the City Council in two key ways: she has experience in government and other large organizations as well as expertise about construction and buildings. She is an architect and works as a project manager on large construction projects. She worked for MassPort, for Just-a-Start (an affordable housing developer) and currently she’s overseeing a major construction project for a hospital. Some of the biggest issues and problems in our city right now concern City-owned and School buildings. There is also a lot of infrastructure construction going on and under our streets, as well as a huge amount of private real estate development that is regulated and overseen by City staff. Beatriz would bring expertise on construction and building issues that would be a huge asset on the Council.

Beatriz is from Puerto Rico and is a native Spanish speaker, with strong ties to the Latino community in Somerville. This community is among those most in need of help from the City government. Beatriz would offer, as a City Councilor, both representation and an ear for Latinos in Somerville. She would also provide deep insight into the challenges faced by Latinos from different countries, cultures and backgrounds.