headshot of candidate

Denise Simmons

Currently
City Councilor

More about Denise Simmons

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

As one of the more experienced candidates, Denise Simmons is currently serving her 2nd term as Mayor of Cambridge, unanimously selected by the city council, and her 8th term on the Cambridge City Council. She is also the first openly lesbian African-American mayor in the United States.

Incumbent
Yes
Education
BS - Sociology, UMass Boston; MS - Pschotherapy, Antioch College
Age
68 years
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

  • Local 26
  • Insulators Local 6
  • Sprinkler Fitters Local 550

View on their site »

Q&A

Interviews with the candidate

Harvard Square Neighborhood Association

Harvard Square and all things about it

Harvard Square Neighborhood Association

Harvard Square and all things about it

The Whistler

Introduction to the Candidates

The Whistler

Introduction to the Candidates

Cambridge Bike Safety

Supports safe biking infrastructure for all ages and abilities. Asked Candidates for statement on CBS's platform.

Cambridge Bike Safety

Supports safe biking infrastructure for all ages and abilities. Asked Candidates for statement on CBS's platform.

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Long form responses about equality and housing

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Long form responses about equality and housing

ABC Candidate 2017 Survey

A Better Cambridge is a local housing/growth-and-development focused group. They used their questionnaire to determine their endorsements.

ABC Candidate 2017 Survey

A Better Cambridge is a local housing/growth-and-development focused group. They used their questionnaire to determine their endorsements.

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

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

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
Scout Cambridge City Council Candidate Profiles, Group 1 of 5

What are three specific new programs or changes you would make if elected?

I am looking to establish an Affordable Housing Ombudsman for the City, I am looking to formally institute the yearly practice of holding Information Fares for Service Providers to the Senior Community (as I’ve held each of the past two years), and I am going to keep pushing until we finally see a Cambridge Police outpost or substation established in or near Carl Barron Plaza to finally improve the sense of safety and security in that area. I am also looking to establish a Cambridge Museum, as well as pilot the Commonwealth’s very first LGBTQ-Friendly Senior Housing building.

Oct. 2, 2017 — Reena Karasin
Scout Cambridge City Council Candidate Profiles, Group 1 of 5

What are three specific new programs or changes you would make if elected?

I am looking to establish an Affordable Housing Ombudsman for the City, I am looking to formally institute the yearly practice of holding Information Fares for Service Providers to the Senior Community (as I’ve held each of the past two years), and I am going to keep pushing until we finally see a Cambridge Police outpost or substation established in or near Carl Barron Plaza to finally improve the sense of safety and security in that area. I am also looking to establish a Cambridge Museum, as well as pilot the Commonwealth’s very first LGBTQ-Friendly Senior Housing building.

Oct. 2, 2017 — Reena Karasin
Cambridge Day Superintendent’s district plan denied vote, mayor seeking roundtables for the specifics

A three-year plan for Cambridge Public Schools, which took the superintendent roughly the past year to put together, was blocked from a School Committee vote of acceptance Tuesday by Mayor E. Denise Simmons.

There wasn’t enough to vote on, she said.

June 22, 2017 — Jean Cummings
Cambridge Day Superintendent’s district plan denied vote, mayor seeking roundtables for the specifics

A three-year plan for Cambridge Public Schools, which took the superintendent roughly the past year to put together, was blocked from a School Committee vote of acceptance Tuesday by Mayor E. Denise Simmons.

There wasn’t enough to vote on, she said.

June 22, 2017 — Jean Cummings
The MetroWest Daily News Mass. cities poised to lead on climate policy despite Trump HIDE CAPTION Protesters gathered outsid

“Cambridge working alone to decrease our carbon footprint and commit to more environmentally sound policies would never be enough to have an appreciable positive impact in preserving our planet,” Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons said Friday. “But Cambridge working in concert with cities like Boston, New York, Salt Lake City, Tallahassee, Orlando, Chicago, and the ever-growing list of communities across the nation can and will have a meaningful impact.”

June 3, 2017 — Gerry Tuoti
The MetroWest Daily News Mass. cities poised to lead on climate policy despite Trump HIDE CAPTION Protesters gathered outsid

“Cambridge working alone to decrease our carbon footprint and commit to more environmentally sound policies would never be enough to have an appreciable positive impact in preserving our planet,” Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons said Friday. “But Cambridge working in concert with cities like Boston, New York, Salt Lake City, Tallahassee, Orlando, Chicago, and the ever-growing list of communities across the nation can and will have a meaningful impact.”

June 3, 2017 — Gerry Tuoti
The Boston Globe ‘It went up in a heartbeat’: 10-alarm blaze devastates Cambridge neighborhood

Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons tweeted to thank the community for inquiries about where to drop off clothing and other material goods, but asked that people instead donate to the Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund at City Hall.

Dec. 3, 2016 — Laura Crimaldi, Nicole Fleming, Felicia Gans
The Boston Globe ‘It went up in a heartbeat’: 10-alarm blaze devastates Cambridge neighborhood

Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons tweeted to thank the community for inquiries about where to drop off clothing and other material goods, but asked that people instead donate to the Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund at City Hall.

Dec. 3, 2016 — Laura Crimaldi, Nicole Fleming, Felicia Gans
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
Spare Change News Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons Talks to Spare Chance News about housing, homelessness, and linkage f

SCN: What type of development would you like to see implemented in Central Square?

DS: First of all, I want development that’s going to have as much affordable and moderate income housing as possible. I want development that has a diversity in its ground floor retail. I want housing that discourages the use of cars. And we’re moving more and more toward that, reducing the number of parking spaces that are required. I want to see Central Square come back to where it once was, teeming with people. I want to be able to eat, shop, and participate in some level of entertainment in Central Square because I am 10 minutes away from it. I don’t want to have to get in my car.

The C2 plan talks to that, and so we really have to be a little bit more aggressive at implementing, particularly the non-regulatory parts. More active spaces, affordable and moderate income housing. A little bit more density, bringing more people in to the square, and this is where the ground-floor retail comes in. You want the ground floor retail to be such that it speaks to the needs of a wide range of people. If I had my way, on Sundays Central Square you couldn’t even drive it. It’d just be a public plaza, teeming with activities: vendors with pushcarts, and all kinds of activity, trying to breathe life into Central Square.

April 14, 2016 — Adanya Lustig, Robert Sondak
Spare Change News Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons Talks to Spare Chance News about housing, homelessness, and linkage f

SCN: What type of development would you like to see implemented in Central Square?

DS: First of all, I want development that’s going to have as much affordable and moderate income housing as possible. I want development that has a diversity in its ground floor retail. I want housing that discourages the use of cars. And we’re moving more and more toward that, reducing the number of parking spaces that are required. I want to see Central Square come back to where it once was, teeming with people. I want to be able to eat, shop, and participate in some level of entertainment in Central Square because I am 10 minutes away from it. I don’t want to have to get in my car.

The C2 plan talks to that, and so we really have to be a little bit more aggressive at implementing, particularly the non-regulatory parts. More active spaces, affordable and moderate income housing. A little bit more density, bringing more people in to the square, and this is where the ground-floor retail comes in. You want the ground floor retail to be such that it speaks to the needs of a wide range of people. If I had my way, on Sundays Central Square you couldn’t even drive it. It’d just be a public plaza, teeming with activities: vendors with pushcarts, and all kinds of activity, trying to breathe life into Central Square.

April 14, 2016 — Adanya Lustig, Robert Sondak
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
CNN Cambridge mayor: Gates' arrest shouldn't have happened

The mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, said she is going to meet with the city's police chief to make sure the scenario that caused the arrest of a prominent black Harvard University professor does not happen again.

July 23, 2009 —
CNN Cambridge mayor: Gates' arrest shouldn't have happened

The mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, said she is going to meet with the city's police chief to make sure the scenario that caused the arrest of a prominent black Harvard University professor does not happen again.

July 23, 2009 —

Campaign finance

How much the candidate has raised and spent

$17,447.12
Current balance
$0
Balance at the start of 2019
TBD
Raised in 2019
TBD
Spent in 2019