A progressive voice for Ward 3. Let’s work together for development that truly serves the needs of our diverse community! I’m running for Somerville Ward 3 Alderman because I want us to work together for development that benefits everyone in our diverse city. There are big changes planned for Union Square, and I want the community to have a strong voice at City Hall. Ben Ewen-Capen is a long-time resident of Union Square and is running for Ward 3 and is an active member of the community. He seeks to promote the policy goals of transparency and accountability, to address skyrocketing rent and housing affordability, and fair development of Union Square. He wants and believes he can bring true and driven results for the community to have a greater number of affordable housing and an equal benefit of business development to the community and the town. He sees these hopes and plans as a guiding light to improve the lives of the community and bring greater prosperity to the town.
- What legislation have you been excited to be involved with/pass?
I’m particularly proud of the steps that we have taken in Somerville to address our housing crisis, both to protect vulnerable tenants and to make sure that new development serves the community rather than just a developer’s bottom line. Over the last two years, we created and fully staffed a new Office of Housing Stability to assist residents in need and to develop new policies, we have passed a desperately needed update to our condo conversion regulations to increase tenant protections, and we have passed real estate transfer fee to fund affordable housing, which is now at the State House for approval. We have forced the Union Square “master developer” to sit down and negotiate a Community Benefits Agreement directly with vulnerable local residents and businesses, and we have brought new transparency and accountability to the powerful appointed boards that make many of the major development decisions in our city.
In addition, I am very proud to have led the charge to make Somerville one of the first cities in the country to ban Facial Recognition Technology, a powerful new surveillance technology that is being rolled out across the country without any regulations or guidelines. This was just one part of a larger movement to bring transparency to the process for approving new technologies by our police department.
- What did it mean to have Mass Alliance’s endorsement?
As a first-time candidate challenging a well-connected incumbent, the training and endorsement we received from Mass Alliance were absolutely essential to the success of our campaign. The values, policies, and platform of our campaign were ours, but it was Mass Alliance that gave us skills and tools to bring that message to the voters in an effective, grassroots campaign. Mass Alliance has also continued to help me connect with other progressive legislators across the state, to continue building our broad, people-powered movement for improving people’s lives in our state.
- How did having the Mass Alliance endorsement help your victory?
Mass Alliance was indispensable to helping us turn our progressive values and our policy platform into a clear and compelling message that would resonate with voters. My campaign was entirely funded by small-dollar donations from supporters who believe in our values, which means that we always have to be very strategic and efficient in how we reached out to voters – Mass Alliance was indispensable in helping our campaign stay focused, energetic, and committed to winning on progressive values.
Endorsed in 2017