headshot of candidate

Sumbul Siddiqui

She/Her

Currently
City Councillor
Also
Attorney in Legal Aid
Election history
2nd term in office

More about Sumbul Siddiqui

Sumbul Siddiqui's family immigrated to the United States from Pakistan when she was 2, and they moved to Cambridge when they got a lottery spot in Cambridge's affordable housing system. She is a graduate of CRLS, Brown University, and Northwestern.

While attending CRLS, she co-founded the Cambridge Youth Council (then the Cambridge Youth Involvement Subcommittee), a way for students to engage with city government and policy.

In addition to serving on the council, she is an Attorney at Northeast Legal Aid, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance. Prior to her election, she was on the board of the Cambridge School Volunteers and was a member of Cambridge's Human Services Commission.

She and Alanna Mallon have been producing a podcast together since January 2018.

Incumbent
Yes
Education
BA, Brown University; JD, Northwestern University
Age
33 years, 9 months
Born in Karachi, Pakistan (moved to Cambridge at age 2) in 1988
Voter Registration
June 6, 2006

Where does Sumbul live?

Address
Owns at 283 Sidney St. #3 Cambridge, MA 02139
Valued at approx. $670,000
Last sold Nov. 2, 2018 for $460,000
inflation adjusted approx. $468,600

What are their housing positions?

Proposal Supported?
2072 Mass Ave
AHO #2
AHO #1

Q&A

Interviews with the candidate

ABC Candidate 2021 Survey

Housing policy questions

ABC Candidate 2021 Survey

Housing policy questions

Cambridge Bike Safety Pledge 2021

They asked candidates to sign a pledge, which starts: "I support rapid implementation of the citywide network of protected bicycle lanes..."

Cambridge Bike Safety Pledge 2021

They asked candidates to sign a pledge, which starts: "I support rapid implementation of the citywide network of protected bicycle lanes..."

Vision Zero Coalition 2021

Reduction in traffic injuries and deaths

Vision Zero Coalition 2021

Reduction in traffic injuries and deaths

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition 2021

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

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition 2021

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

Quotes

Also, we have to have more diversity on the council. I think it’s very important that we have more women, and that we have more women of color. I think someone who is a qualified public attorney who happens to be a Muslim woman of color, you talk the talk for diversity and all that stuff, but this is a time that we can actually make it happen.

Sumbul Siddiqui, Harvard Crimson Profile

In September 2019, I voted in favor of the Sullivan Courthouse project and requested that additional affordable housing units be added along with more money to the affordable housing trust. Leggat McCall won the right to redevelop the Sullivan Courthouse in late 2012 but there were various legal battles. I was considered a swing vote. I spent many hours meeting with residents on each side of the issue, and ultimately, I felt that there had been enough process and that another many years of litigation would be a disservice to members of the community, and that getting more affordable housing from the project was the best choice. Although it may upset certain voters, I know the necessity and importance of affordable housing in Cambridge; it is not only a choice of mine to continue fighting for it but a duty in order to ensure equity of our city.

Press

Articles about the candidate

The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui Seeks Reelection

As mayor, she helped forge an agreement between the city and the Rindge Associates Limited Partnership to preserve 504 units of affordable housing at Fresh Pond Apartments. Siddiqui listed the agreement — announced on Oct. 13 — as one of her most significant accomplishments.

Siddiqui said she is also proud of her role in leading Cambridge through the pandemic.

Oct. 27, 2021 — Rohan Rajeev, Sophia C. Scott
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui Seeks Reelection

As mayor, she helped forge an agreement between the city and the Rindge Associates Limited Partnership to preserve 504 units of affordable housing at Fresh Pond Apartments. Siddiqui listed the agreement — announced on Oct. 13 — as one of her most significant accomplishments.

Siddiqui said she is also proud of her role in leading Cambridge through the pandemic.

Oct. 27, 2021 — Rohan Rajeev, Sophia C. Scott
The Harvard Crimson Incumbent City Council Candidates Focus on Housing Crisis, Voter Engagement in Reelection Campaigns

Previously, the council put forth policies in an attempt to make housing more affordable. Siddiqui discussed the recent preservation of 504 units in the Rindge Towers — an affordable housing complex — which were at risk of being priced at market rate.

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

Previously, the council put forth policies in an attempt to make housing more affordable. Siddiqui discussed the recent preservation of 504 units in the Rindge Towers — an affordable housing complex — which were at risk of being priced at market rate.

Oct. 21, 2021 — Sarah Girma, Jennifer L. Powley
Wicked Local Cambridge ELECTION 2021: Cambridge City Council candidate statements

I have had the honor of serving on Cambridge City Council since 2018 and as your mayor since January 2020. As mayor, I have helped lead Cambridge through the COVID-19 crisis, and I hope to earn your No. 1 vote on Nov. 2 to continue working toward recovery.

My experience in community advocacy and my perspective as a Pakistani immigrant who grew up in Cambridge affordable housing guide my work.

Oct. 21, 2021 — Community Content
Wicked Local Cambridge ELECTION 2021: Cambridge City Council candidate statements

I have had the honor of serving on Cambridge City Council since 2018 and as your mayor since January 2020. As mayor, I have helped lead Cambridge through the COVID-19 crisis, and I hope to earn your No. 1 vote on Nov. 2 to continue working toward recovery.

My experience in community advocacy and my perspective as a Pakistani immigrant who grew up in Cambridge affordable housing guide my work.

Oct. 21, 2021 — Community Content
Wicked Local Cambridge Cambridge councilors write in support of 2072 Mass. Ave. affordable housing project

In short, this building is everything we’ve stated we want as a city: affordable, family-sized homes that are transit oriented, on a major retail corridor, beautifully designed, and environmentally sustainable. This is a project that meets all the city’s major goals, and it should be applauded.

May 17, 2021 — Sumbul Siddiqui, Alanna Mallon, Denise Summons, Marc McGovern
Wicked Local Cambridge Cambridge councilors write in support of 2072 Mass. Ave. affordable housing project

In short, this building is everything we’ve stated we want as a city: affordable, family-sized homes that are transit oriented, on a major retail corridor, beautifully designed, and environmentally sustainable. This is a project that meets all the city’s major goals, and it should be applauded.

May 17, 2021 — Sumbul Siddiqui, Alanna Mallon, Denise Summons, Marc McGovern
Commonwealth Magazine Support black-owned cannabis shop in Harvard Square

We must act to undo decades of damage caused by the War on Drugs and play a proactive role in supporting minority-owned businesses in Cambridge by taking steps to fuel their success and swell their ranks. As Cambridge officials, we urge you to join us in supporting the project by speaking during public comment periods in upcoming hearings and/or emailing the Planning Board.

Feb. 27, 2021 — Sumbul Siddiqui, Alanna Mallon, Quinton Zondervan, Marc McGovern
Commonwealth Magazine Support black-owned cannabis shop in Harvard Square

We must act to undo decades of damage caused by the War on Drugs and play a proactive role in supporting minority-owned businesses in Cambridge by taking steps to fuel their success and swell their ranks. As Cambridge officials, we urge you to join us in supporting the project by speaking during public comment periods in upcoming hearings and/or emailing the Planning Board.

Feb. 27, 2021 — Sumbul Siddiqui, Alanna Mallon, Quinton Zondervan, Marc McGovern
The Boston Globe Local elections hinge on housing this fall

A first-term Cambridge city councilor, Siddiqui has emerged several times as a swing vote on housing issues, most recently the controversial plan to sell the shuttered Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse in East Cambridge to a developer, for use mainly as an office building. Some in Cambridge wanted to block the deal, saying the public building should be used for affordable housing or something else with public benefits, instead of being turned into pricey office space near Kendall Square.

As a key vote approached last month, Siddiqui was undecided. Two influential groups that had endorsed her two years ago — the Cambridge Residents Alliance and the Bernie Sanders-affiliated Our Revolution Cambridge — told her they would withhold endorsements this time if she supported the project, according to Siddiqui. But she also heard from residents who wanted something to happen with the decaying building, widely decried as an eyesore. So Siddiqui negotiated with the developer to double the amount of affordable housing it would hold — to 48 units — before casting a decisive sixth vote in favor of the plan.

Oct. 28, 2019 — Tim Logan
The Boston Globe Local elections hinge on housing this fall

A first-term Cambridge city councilor, Siddiqui has emerged several times as a swing vote on housing issues, most recently the controversial plan to sell the shuttered Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse in East Cambridge to a developer, for use mainly as an office building. Some in Cambridge wanted to block the deal, saying the public building should be used for affordable housing or something else with public benefits, instead of being turned into pricey office space near Kendall Square.

As a key vote approached last month, Siddiqui was undecided. Two influential groups that had endorsed her two years ago — the Cambridge Residents Alliance and the Bernie Sanders-affiliated Our Revolution Cambridge — told her they would withhold endorsements this time if she supported the project, according to Siddiqui. But she also heard from residents who wanted something to happen with the decaying building, widely decried as an eyesore. So Siddiqui negotiated with the developer to double the amount of affordable housing it would hold — to 48 units — before casting a decisive sixth vote in favor of the plan.

Oct. 28, 2019 — Tim Logan
The Boston Globe Cambridge has temporarily banished ‘Big Cannabis.’ Up next: lawsuits

Siddiqui said she believes Cambridge will be able to mount a strong defense against any lawsuits, noting that cannabis commission guidance recommends prioritizing empowerment applicants.

“This is something I’m willing to get sued on,” she said. “This industry comes with an ugly history of racial oppression that needs to be addressed.”

Sept. 23, 2019 — Dan Adams
The Boston Globe Cambridge has temporarily banished ‘Big Cannabis.’ Up next: lawsuits

Siddiqui said she believes Cambridge will be able to mount a strong defense against any lawsuits, noting that cannabis commission guidance recommends prioritizing empowerment applicants.

“This is something I’m willing to get sued on,” she said. “This industry comes with an ugly history of racial oppression that needs to be addressed.”

Sept. 23, 2019 — Dan Adams
The Boston Globe Long-stalled Cambridge courthouse project clears a crucial hurdle

The amount of office space in the tower will also drop, because Leggat agreed to double the number of affordable housing units in the building, to 48. The idea was proposed by Councilor Sumbul Siddiqui, considered the swing vote.

Leggat will also pay more into the city’s affordable housing trust fund, $15 million instead of $11.5 million.

Sept. 19, 2019 — Jon Chesto
The Boston Globe Long-stalled Cambridge courthouse project clears a crucial hurdle

The amount of office space in the tower will also drop, because Leggat agreed to double the number of affordable housing units in the building, to 48. The idea was proposed by Councilor Sumbul Siddiqui, considered the swing vote.

Leggat will also pay more into the city’s affordable housing trust fund, $15 million instead of $11.5 million.

Sept. 19, 2019 — Jon Chesto
The Harvard Crimson Sumbul Siddiqui (Profile)

I think it goes it back to my experience and professional background. I am the only woman running who has grown up here, so I think that’s very valuable in the sense that I have long-term roots. I’m not planning to go anywhere. This is a city I know.

---

I think we know that the elderly need parking. I think we know that if you’re disabled, you really need parking. So we have to prioritize those needs. At the end of the day, we have to make a compromise. If we want to be a city that is committed to fixing climate change, it’s better to bike. But we have to realize that not everyone can bike, so we have to recognize that some people have to drive.

Nov. 1, 2017 — A. Perez
The Harvard Crimson Sumbul Siddiqui (Profile)

I think it goes it back to my experience and professional background. I am the only woman running who has grown up here, so I think that’s very valuable in the sense that I have long-term roots. I’m not planning to go anywhere. This is a city I know.

---

I think we know that the elderly need parking. I think we know that if you’re disabled, you really need parking. So we have to prioritize those needs. At the end of the day, we have to make a compromise. If we want to be a city that is committed to fixing climate change, it’s better to bike. But we have to realize that not everyone can bike, so we have to recognize that some people have to drive.

Nov. 1, 2017 — A. Perez
Wicked Local Cambridge Why a record number of Cambridge women are running for City Council

Sumbul Siddiqui, a public interest attorney, is running because she wants to give back to the community that helped raise her.

“As a first-generation immigrant from Pakistan who has benefited from Cambridge’s public school system, public housing, and after-school activities, I am uniquely indebted to Cambridge’s tremendous resources,” she wrote.

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

Sumbul Siddiqui, a public interest attorney, is running because she wants to give back to the community that helped raise her.

“As a first-generation immigrant from Pakistan who has benefited from Cambridge’s public school system, public housing, and after-school activities, I am uniquely indebted to Cambridge’s tremendous resources,” she wrote.

Oct. 3, 2017 — Amy Saltzman

Campaign finance

How much the candidate has raised and spent

$34,331
Current balance
$15,624
Balance at the start of 2021
$33,382
Raised in 2021
$14,675
Spent in 2021