Why I am running
My name is Sean Tierney and I am running for Cambridge Cambridge City Council. I hope you will consider me for your #1 vote on November 7th.
I believe that an effective City Council must bring together people with the knowledge and skills to tackle the issues facing our City. I stand out from other current candidates for the Council because of my experience as a lawyer working on tax and housing policy for the State of Massachusetts. I believe that Cambridge will benefit from policies that create housing and job opportunities for a diverse array of people. I will make a unique and valuable contribution to the Council because of my understanding of how housing and tax policy can be used to further these civic goals.
My connection to Cambridge runs deep. I grew up on Appleton St., near the corner of Huron Ave, in the house where my dad, Teddy, grew up and where he lives today with my mother, Mary. My dad was a salesman and my mother ran a family day care out of our house for twenty-five years, after which she worked as a school nurse at the Morse Elementary School and Fletcher-Maynard Academy.
As a child, I went to the Peabody School and then the Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School. From both teachers and peers, I learned about other cultures and identities; I was exposed to the realities of economic diversity. I learned that in Cambridge, we don’t shy away from conversations about gaps in opportunity and the roots of inequality and privilege. Instead, I was taught to examine my life in the context of our community. I learned respect, empathy, and compassion. I learned not to judge, but always to listen. These are the values I want to bring to the City Council.
After college, I worked for Harvard University’s Institute of Politics where I ran the JFK Jr. Forum, Harvard’s well-known public affairs venue. I hosted national and international leaders and learned about the importance of strong and effective leadership. Inspired by President Kennedy’s famous words that an “educated citizen has an obligation to serve the public,” I decided to attend law school with the goal of serving my community.
While in law school, I continuously committed myself to public service opportunities. I taught Constitutional Law and coached a moot court team at City on a Hill High School in Roxbury, I researched election law issues for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, and I served as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy for the Attorney General. My first job after law school was as Deputy Legal Counsel for the State’s Revenue Committee where I helped draft the Fair Share Amendment to the State Constitution to fund universal pre-K and transportation improvements.
Currently, I am working full-time in state government as the Research Director & Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts Committee on Housing. Every day I work to create smart growth, affordable, and middle-income housing opportunities. I also help create policies to improve public housing and prevent homelessness and I work with nonprofits to protect tenants from eviction.
I have a passion for our city and its people. I’ve volunteered for Food For Free, participated in the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program, worked for the city’s Recreation Department, and taught swim lessons at both the Gold Star Pool and the War Memorial pool at the high school.Today, I continue to volunteer as a coach with the high school football team.
As a lifelong resident of Cambridge, I have watched the city change. While growth and development have brought many improvements, they have also led to a crisis in the housing market, which threatens the diversity and opportunity that have been such an important part of Cambridge’s history. Rather than simply bemoaning the housing crisis, I believe that I have the professional knowledge and skills to affect change.
As a public service lawyer, I’ve worked on state tax and housing policy. I have the legal training and professional experience to make an impact not only through fresh ideas, but with a broader perspective of how the city interacts with the state and how to leverage state resources to help us move forward in improving housing, transportation and education.
My housing plan lays out a number of specific ideas for how the city could use state programs to help us foster “smart growth” in underdeveloped areas of Cambridge, creating sustainable, mixed-use communities tied to public transportation, and to help us increase our stock of low-income and affordable housing.
I am running for City Council because I want Cambridge to be an inviting place for young professionals, but also a place for families, diversity, and opportunity. I want Cambridge to be a leader in confronting the complex problems facing cities. I have the policy experience and the cross-cultural community connections to build consensus and make problem-solving inclusive, reasonable, and respectful.
I would welcome hearing your thoughts and concerns. Please reach out to me with questions about my platform. I hope I can earn your #1 vote on November 7th.