headshot of candidate

Denise Simmons

She/Her

Currently
City Councillor
Election history
8th term in office

More about Denise Simmons

Brought up in Cambridge, Denise Simmons has been a active in the Cambridge community for many years.

Denise Simmons previously served 2 terms as mayor, which made her both the first Black, openly-lesbian mayor in the United States and the first Black woman to be mayor in Massachusetts. In the 2017 election, she was one of two candidates elected outright on the first count of ballots.

Incumbent
Yes
Education
BS - Sociology, UMass Boston; MS - Pschotherapy, Antioch College
Age
68 years, 2 months
Born in Cambridge, MA in 1951
Voter Registration
June 1, 1987

Where does Denise live?

Address
Lives at 188 Harvard Street #4B Cambridge MA 02139

Endorsements

Q&A

Interviews with the candidate

Vision Zero Coalition 2019

Asking candidates about how to reduce Cambridge to zero fatalities or serious injuries on the road

Vision Zero Coalition 2019

Asking candidates about how to reduce Cambridge to zero fatalities or serious injuries on the road

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Long form responses about equality and housing

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Long form responses about equality and housing

Harvard Grad Student Union Guide

The Harvard Graduate Student Union-UAW's guide to municipal elections in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston for City Council and Somerville Mayor.

Harvard Grad Student Union Guide

The Harvard Graduate Student Union-UAW's guide to municipal elections in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston for City Council and Somerville Mayor.

Quotes

I often say: Northern Born and Southern Raised

Denise Simmons, Backyard Cambridge

I do not want us to become a city of the haves and the have-nots, and I do not want the rich people on one side of town, and the poor on the other side

Press

Articles about the candidate

The Harvard Crimson McGovern and Simmons Most Favored On Cambridge City Council Per Resident Survey

In a poll of registered voters in Cambridge released Monday, Mayor Marc C. McGovern and City Councilor E. Denise Simmons garnered the highest approval rating among their peers, polling at 42.5 percent and 40.7 percent, respectively.

Sept. 11, 2019 — Declan J. Knieriem
The Harvard Crimson McGovern and Simmons Most Favored On Cambridge City Council Per Resident Survey

In a poll of registered voters in Cambridge released Monday, Mayor Marc C. McGovern and City Councilor E. Denise Simmons garnered the highest approval rating among their peers, polling at 42.5 percent and 40.7 percent, respectively.

Sept. 11, 2019 — Declan J. Knieriem
MIT News Art and dirt: Bringing the Cambridge and MIT communities together

Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons reflected on the event: “This celebration is about positive things happening in our community.”

Regarding the new graduate student housing, she said: “Some of you might not think that’s much of a big deal, but let me tell you why it is. Placing more graduate students in campus housing relieves pressure on the housing market in Cambridge. That’s good for everyone. Thank you to MIT.”

Oct. 23, 2017 — MIT News Office
MIT News Art and dirt: Bringing the Cambridge and MIT communities together

Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons reflected on the event: “This celebration is about positive things happening in our community.”

Regarding the new graduate student housing, she said: “Some of you might not think that’s much of a big deal, but let me tell you why it is. Placing more graduate students in campus housing relieves pressure on the housing market in Cambridge. That’s good for everyone. Thank you to MIT.”

Oct. 23, 2017 — MIT News Office
Wicked Local Cambridge Why a record number of Cambridge women are running for City Council

“I do not want us to become a city of the haves and the have-nots, and I do not want the rich people on one side of town, and the poor on the other side,” wrote Mayor Simmons. “I want us to be able to cater to all, to have a mixing and mingling of people from all rungs on the socio-economic ladder. I want housing that is affordable to the families that have been here for generations.”

Oct. 3, 2017 — Amy Saltzman
Wicked Local Cambridge Why a record number of Cambridge women are running for City Council

“I do not want us to become a city of the haves and the have-nots, and I do not want the rich people on one side of town, and the poor on the other side,” wrote Mayor Simmons. “I want us to be able to cater to all, to have a mixing and mingling of people from all rungs on the socio-economic ladder. I want housing that is affordable to the families that have been here for generations.”

Oct. 3, 2017 — Amy Saltzman
Wicked Local Cambridge ‘Safe Streets Now:’ Cambridge City Council endorses safety measures following fatal bike crash

The meeting drew an intense response from Cambridge residents. More than 44 people signed up to speak during the public comment section of the meeting, said Mayor E. Denise Simmons, most of whom urged the council to pass the package of proposed cycling safety measures.

Oct. 9, 2016 — Joanna Duffy
Wicked Local Cambridge ‘Safe Streets Now:’ Cambridge City Council endorses safety measures following fatal bike crash

The meeting drew an intense response from Cambridge residents. More than 44 people signed up to speak during the public comment section of the meeting, said Mayor E. Denise Simmons, most of whom urged the council to pass the package of proposed cycling safety measures.

Oct. 9, 2016 — Joanna Duffy
Wicked Local Cambridge Cambridge mulls Airbnb regulations as short-term rentals soar

At a recent meeting of the Cambridge City Council, Mayor Denise Simmons said that while looking at Airbnb, it’s important to also discuss condo conversions. According to Simmons, some condo conversions are likely being done in order to be marketed as Airbnb rentals.

June 30, 2016 — Natalie Handy
Wicked Local Cambridge Cambridge mulls Airbnb regulations as short-term rentals soar

At a recent meeting of the Cambridge City Council, Mayor Denise Simmons said that while looking at Airbnb, it’s important to also discuss condo conversions. According to Simmons, some condo conversions are likely being done in order to be marketed as Airbnb rentals.

June 30, 2016 — Natalie Handy
Wicked Local Cambridge Cambridge City Council names Denise Simmons mayor

Denise Simmons has been elected mayor for the second time in a unanimous vote by the Cambridge City Council at its inaugural meeting Monday morning, Jan 4.

“We are here for one purpose and one purpose alone, and that is to serve the citizens of Cambridge,” Simmons said at the ceremony. “It is our job to make sure people have jobs that pay a fair wage and that no one is denied a service because of the color of their skin, who they choose to love, their age, gender or zip code.”

Jan. 6, 2016 — Natalie Handy
Wicked Local Cambridge Cambridge City Council names Denise Simmons mayor

Denise Simmons has been elected mayor for the second time in a unanimous vote by the Cambridge City Council at its inaugural meeting Monday morning, Jan 4.

“We are here for one purpose and one purpose alone, and that is to serve the citizens of Cambridge,” Simmons said at the ceremony. “It is our job to make sure people have jobs that pay a fair wage and that no one is denied a service because of the color of their skin, who they choose to love, their age, gender or zip code.”

Jan. 6, 2016 — Natalie Handy
WBUR As Cambridge Builds And Builds, City Seeks Hike In Affordable Housing Fees

Denise Simmons, one of the city councilors pushing the hike in linkage fees, said Cambridge's residents should "gain some benefit from [developments'] presence here, their longtime presence in our city. ... We want the innovation, but we also have to live with the innovation."

She said the plan to raise linkage fees wouldn't scare away developers.

Simmons, who spoke with us next to a construction site, added: "What makes Cambridge so special is its diversity, its cultural and its economic diversity. That will not maintain itself without deliberate action."

July 31, 2015 — Deborah Becker, Shannon Dooling
WBUR As Cambridge Builds And Builds, City Seeks Hike In Affordable Housing Fees

Denise Simmons, one of the city councilors pushing the hike in linkage fees, said Cambridge's residents should "gain some benefit from [developments'] presence here, their longtime presence in our city. ... We want the innovation, but we also have to live with the innovation."

She said the plan to raise linkage fees wouldn't scare away developers.

Simmons, who spoke with us next to a construction site, added: "What makes Cambridge so special is its diversity, its cultural and its economic diversity. That will not maintain itself without deliberate action."

July 31, 2015 — Deborah Becker, Shannon Dooling
Pride Who the F Is … Politician E. Denise Simmons?

Choice quote: “People coming into my office come for housing or some other issue. They don’t care if I have polka dots and a pointed head, they care about services.” – Simmons to Passport in 2008

May 30, 2014 — Trudy Ring
Pride Who the F Is … Politician E. Denise Simmons?

Choice quote: “People coming into my office come for housing or some other issue. They don’t care if I have polka dots and a pointed head, they care about services.” – Simmons to Passport in 2008

May 30, 2014 — Trudy Ring

Campaign finance

How much the candidate has raised and spent

$23,427
Current balance
$4,292
Balance at the start of 2019
$37,943
Raised in 2019
$18,807
Spent in 2019