headshot of candidate

Patricia "Patty" Nolan

She/Her

Currently
City Councillor
Election history
2nd term as a councilor; 14 years on School Committee

More about Patricia "Patty" Nolan

Patty Nolan grew up in Chicago and Connecticut. She first moved to Cambridge to attend Harvard, graduating in 1980. She then lived and worked in New York City, and attended Yale for business school. She has worked both in corporate consulting and the non-profit sector.

Patty returned to Cambridge in 1991, and has been actively involved in local politics since then, for instance serving on the Board of Cambridge School Volunteers. She was first elected to the school committee in 2005. In 2017, she was re-elected to the school committee in the first round of voting.

She is a landlord; she rents out the second unit in her two-family home.

Incumbent
Yes
Education
  • Harvard
  • Master's, Yale School of Management
Age
66 years, 9 months
Born in 1957
Voting
Reg. Oct. 5, 1992
History
  • 🗳️ 2022 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2022 General
  • 🗳️ 2021 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2020 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2020 General
  • 🗳️ 2020 Presidental Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2019 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2018 General
  • 🗳️ 2018 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2016 General
  • 🗳️ 2016 Presidental Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2016 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2015 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2014 General
  • 🗳️ 2014 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2013 Special Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2013 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2013 Special
  • 🗳️ 2012 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2012 General
  • 🗳️ 2012 Presidental Primary - Democratic

Where Patty Lives

Address
Owns at 184 Huron Avenue
Valued at approx. $1,860,000
Last sold April 17, 1996 for $383,000
inflation adjusted approx. $750,000

Patty on Housing

Proposal Supported?
AHO #3
2072 Mass Ave
AHO #2
AHO #1
+$20mil Housing Trust
10% Budget for Housing
NCD Reform

I want the city council to set the tone, and consciously and collectively stop ever vilifying those who hold opposing views. Stop with the YIMBY, stop with the NIMBY, stop with saying people are in the pocket of developers. Stop dismissing those of us with questions on developments like 2072 as not supportive of affordable housing. That doesn't help us. We need to set a tone of respect.

Patricia "Patty" Nolan

Are there squares or corridors in the city where such heights are appropriate? Yes, possibly. Are there squares and corridors across the entire city that should get that kind of height? Treating part of Concord Avenue with single and 2-family homes the same as Mass. AVenue is not appropriate.

Patty on Other Issues

Proposal Supported?
BEUD(ER)O
Sa/Su Car-free Mem Drive
Delay Mass Ave Bike Lanes
Remove Wires Before Bike Lane
CSO #2
Release Use-of-Force Names
No Parking Min.
Automated/Unarmed Traffic Enforcement
HEART Funding

Endorsements for Patty

Organization Cambridge? Union? View
Cambridge Residents Alliance on Sept. 30, 2023
Massachusetts Sierra Club this cycle
Cambridge Bicycle Safety on Oct. 6, 2023
Cambridge Citizens Coalition on Sept. 14, 2023
Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus this cycle

Q&A

Interviews with Patty

ABC Candidate Questionnaire 2023

Housing policy, development, governance questions

ABC Candidate Questionnaire 2023

Housing policy, development, governance questions

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Distribution of funds, non-profits and their position in Cambridge

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Distribution of funds, non-profits and their position in Cambridge

Cambridge Citizens Coalition Survey 2023

General. Note: only distributed in downloadable word or pdf documents.

Cambridge Citizens Coalition Survey 2023

General. Note: only distributed in downloadable word or pdf documents.

CEOC Questionnaire 2023

"questions about the issues that most impact Cambridge’s low-income populations" (available in several languages)

CEOC Questionnaire 2023

"questions about the issues that most impact Cambridge’s low-income populations" (available in several languages)

Quotes by or about Patty

[To] characterize any slate as anti-housing is unethical and wrong. I am in a stable housing situation. I am lucky. The increase in [housing] value has nothing to do with zoning policies.

Patricia "Patty" Nolan, Twitter

(Do you believe we have a climate obligation to pursue greater density and allow more people to live here?)

Generally Not. As with so much that requires critical thinking - the answer is: not necessarily.

Patricia "Patty" Nolan, ABC Survey 2021

Consistently over the past year as the council discussed proposed amendments, I insisted that since the emission pollution is local, only local offsets should be allowed. People countered “but there are no Cambridge Offsets.” I have proposed that we create local high-quality offsets – ones that are additive, verifiable, immediate and durable. How? My proposal is to allow any Cambridge property owner who can’t or won’t reduce their own emissions to get credit for reducing emissions of any affordable-housing project or any property serving environmental justice residents anywhere in Massachusetts. And we would define that reduction as an allowable offset.

Press

Articles about or by Patty

The Harvard Crimson Patty Nolan ’80 Charts the Middle Course in Run for Third Term on Cambridge Council

“I have been definitely a candidate who is very, very effective on the many issues facing us,” she said. “Yet I feel that what distinguishes me is that I bring nuance and a really thoughtful balance to these issues.”

Oct. 30, 2023 — Samuel P. Goldston
The Harvard Crimson Patty Nolan ’80 Charts the Middle Course in Run for Third Term on Cambridge Council

“I have been definitely a candidate who is very, very effective on the many issues facing us,” she said. “Yet I feel that what distinguishes me is that I bring nuance and a really thoughtful balance to these issues.”

Oct. 30, 2023 — Samuel P. Goldston
Boston Globe In Cambridge, a battle over affordable housing revives longstanding political tensions

“The first [affordable housing overlay] basically tore the city apart — we should not be here again,” said City Councilor Patricia Nolan, who opposes the amendments. “We have been doing a good job of building both market rate and affordable housing. Of course we need more, but a policy like this that decreases public input and dramatically increases building densities at the same time is not the way to do it.”

Oct. 15, 2023 — Andrew Brinker
Boston Globe In Cambridge, a battle over affordable housing revives longstanding political tensions

“The first [affordable housing overlay] basically tore the city apart — we should not be here again,” said City Councilor Patricia Nolan, who opposes the amendments. “We have been doing a good job of building both market rate and affordable housing. Of course we need more, but a policy like this that decreases public input and dramatically increases building densities at the same time is not the way to do it.”

Oct. 15, 2023 — Andrew Brinker
Cambridge Day Statements by five Cambridge city councillors on the attack on Israel

Oct. 13, 2023 — E. Denise Simmons, Patty Nolan, Paul Toner, Burhan Azeem, Marc McGovern
Cambridge Day Statements by five Cambridge city councillors on the attack on Israel

Oct. 13, 2023 — E. Denise Simmons, Patty Nolan, Paul Toner, Burhan Azeem, Marc McGovern
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Activists Protest Council Candidates After Racist, Transphobic Social Media Activity Comes To Light

Patricia M. “Patty” Nolan ’80, one of only two incumbents endorsed by the CCC, said she found some of the tweets offensive.

Oct. 2, 2023 — Muskaan Arshad, Julian J. Giordano
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Activists Protest Council Candidates After Racist, Transphobic Social Media Activity Comes To Light

Patricia M. “Patty” Nolan ’80, one of only two incumbents endorsed by the CCC, said she found some of the tweets offensive.

Oct. 2, 2023 — Muskaan Arshad, Julian J. Giordano
Boston Globe Cambridge enacts ambitious building emissions reduction standards

“It’s really quite groundbreaking,” said Councilor Quinton Zondervan, who helped lead the push in concert with Councilor Patricia Nolan, Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, and activist groups like the Sunrise Movement, 350.org, and Mothers Out Front.

July 8, 2023 — Maliya Ellis
Boston Globe Cambridge enacts ambitious building emissions reduction standards

“It’s really quite groundbreaking,” said Councilor Quinton Zondervan, who helped lead the push in concert with Councilor Patricia Nolan, Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, and activist groups like the Sunrise Movement, 350.org, and Mothers Out Front.

July 8, 2023 — Maliya Ellis
Cambridge Day District’s backsliding on eighth-grade algebra must be stopped for the good of all CPS students

I have written to the School Committee and superintendent with a plea, and I hope all in Cambridge stand with me. The issue: The district should establish a clear commitment that within three years every third grader in Cambridge Public Schools will read and write at grade level, and that every eighth-grader will successfully pass a full Algebra I equivalent and be prepared to start high school math with geometry or Algebra II. No exceptions.

May 2, 2023 — Patty Nolan
Cambridge Day District’s backsliding on eighth-grade algebra must be stopped for the good of all CPS students

I have written to the School Committee and superintendent with a plea, and I hope all in Cambridge stand with me. The issue: The district should establish a clear commitment that within three years every third grader in Cambridge Public Schools will read and write at grade level, and that every eighth-grader will successfully pass a full Algebra I equivalent and be prepared to start high school math with geometry or Algebra II. No exceptions.

May 2, 2023 — Patty Nolan
Cambridge Day Local offsets are possible in amending Beudo: Councillor calls the idea feasible and impactful

We know the climate situation is dire. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report led the United Nations secretary general to plead for all rich countries to get to net zero by 2040 and net zero electricity generation by 2035. Cambridge is one of the richest cities in one of the richest states in the richest country in the world. And our city is home to some of the richest universities and biotech companies in the world. Cambridge is uniquely suited to take on this dire call to action. Net Zero by 2035 has to be doable for Cambridge. If we can’t get there, the world will not meet its goal of 2050. We can’t give up. There is a path for Cambridge to be a leader.

April 24, 2023 — Patty Nolan
Cambridge Day Local offsets are possible in amending Beudo: Councillor calls the idea feasible and impactful

We know the climate situation is dire. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report led the United Nations secretary general to plead for all rich countries to get to net zero by 2040 and net zero electricity generation by 2035. Cambridge is one of the richest cities in one of the richest states in the richest country in the world. And our city is home to some of the richest universities and biotech companies in the world. Cambridge is uniquely suited to take on this dire call to action. Net Zero by 2035 has to be doable for Cambridge. If we can’t get there, the world will not meet its goal of 2050. We can’t give up. There is a path for Cambridge to be a leader.

April 24, 2023 — Patty Nolan
The Harvard Crimson Running on 'Good Governance,' Patty Nolan Seeks Reelection to City Council

"I got elected, I had big plans," Nolan said. "Covid completely threw this out the window. We were all Covid, all the time."

Nolan described the city’s Covid-19 response as "incredible in so many ways," though she acknowledged she was once critical of the city’s outdoor mask mandate in the early stages of the pandemic.

Oct. 28, 2021 — Katherine M. Burstein, Kaleigh M. Kuddar
The Harvard Crimson Running on 'Good Governance,' Patty Nolan Seeks Reelection to City Council

"I got elected, I had big plans," Nolan said. "Covid completely threw this out the window. We were all Covid, all the time."

Nolan described the city’s Covid-19 response as "incredible in so many ways," though she acknowledged she was once critical of the city’s outdoor mask mandate in the early stages of the pandemic.

Oct. 28, 2021 — Katherine M. Burstein, Kaleigh M. Kuddar
The Harvard Crimson Incumbent City Council Candidates Focus on Housing Crisis, Voter Engagement in Reelection Campaigns

"The reason we have an affordable housing crisis — and it sounds kind of simplistic but people, I don’t think, talk about this as much — is that we have an income crisis," she said. "If you could afford houses in Cambridge, the affordable housing crisis wouldn’t be here."

Oct. 21, 2021 — Sarah Girma, Jennifer L. Powley
The Harvard Crimson Incumbent City Council Candidates Focus on Housing Crisis, Voter Engagement in Reelection Campaigns

"The reason we have an affordable housing crisis — and it sounds kind of simplistic but people, I don’t think, talk about this as much — is that we have an income crisis," she said. "If you could afford houses in Cambridge, the affordable housing crisis wouldn’t be here."

Oct. 21, 2021 — Sarah Girma, Jennifer L. Powley
Wicked Local Cambridge Affordable Housing Overlay proposal not ready for prime time in Cambridge

I’m not a housing expert but can think of several promising options....

And please, let’s all model respectful behavior. Don’t denigrate anyone on any side of this debate.... Yes, in many places zoning was put in place to exclude and is racist and elitist. That does not mean all zoning regulations and limits are racist and elitist.

Aug. 6, 2019 — Patty Nolan
Wicked Local Cambridge Affordable Housing Overlay proposal not ready for prime time in Cambridge

I’m not a housing expert but can think of several promising options....

And please, let’s all model respectful behavior. Don’t denigrate anyone on any side of this debate.... Yes, in many places zoning was put in place to exclude and is racist and elitist. That does not mean all zoning regulations and limits are racist and elitist.

Aug. 6, 2019 — Patty Nolan

Campaign finance

How much Patty has raised and spent

$10,940
Current balance
$12,006
Balance at the start of 2023
$26,758
Raised in 2023
$27,824
Spent in 2023