Metro, Politics, Newton

Ward 4 Candidates

Ward Councilor

Christopher Markiewicz, an unopposed candidate for ward councilor and a Boston College alum, has been in this office since 2017. 

Since his initial election in 2017, Markiewicz has supported a variety of development projects and federal housing for seniors. He said that he wishes to continue his tenure as a Ward 4 councilor in order to make greater changes to the community. 

“There’s a variety of initiatives that are ongoing but I want to continue to work on, and those include everything from, you know, the environment to traffic and safety to development,” Markiewicz said. 

Markiewicz’s platform places great emphasis on updating antiquated zoning policies.

“The zoning rules are pretty old,” said Markiewicz. “They haven’t had significant revision since the ’80s, and they’re really out of step with what’s happening today. So as a result, we have a lot of exceptions.”

Protecting the environment is another focus of Markiewicz’ platform—his campaign emphasizing the need for both education and concrete policy. Markiewicz also highlights the importance of his relationship with the community and the need for transparency and accessibility. 

“I don’t see myself as a stage person,” he said. “I see myself as a representative. Not everybody looks at it that way, but I really see myself as a representative. So for that reason I do things like have office hours.”


Joshua Krintzman, a candidate for councilor-at-large for Ward 4, grew up in Newton and has been serving on the City Council since 2017. As a councilor, he’s sponsored legislation that placed local sales taxes on recreational marijuana.

“I’m very proud of that because I think that the people wanted to bring marijuana to the city and  into the state,” Krintzman said. “And I thought it was a common-sense policy to add the local tax, which again was a local option provided by the state … so that we can also begin to generate revenue for all the priorities that we have as a city, but also to help remediate some of the effects.”  

Krintzman got involved with local politics after having a career in government relations for a nonprofit health care organization. He initially joined the City Council in order to effect change in the community.

“As someone who has been very invested in public service for really my whole professional career, it made sense for me to want to be involved in local government,” he said. “I have greatly enjoyed my time on the City Council, and I highly value the ability to impact local decisions.” 

The councilor is running on the belief that climate, education, and transportation policies in Newton need to be updated in order to bring the city into this century. In terms of the climate, Krintzman supports various policies that would allow Newton to become more green and combat climate change, including the Climate Action Plan.

Krintzman’s campaign is based on openness with the community, which he said he believes allows him to have the best interest of Newton in mind.

“I am an honest, hardworking individual who is always thinking about the best interests of the city of Newton,” he said. “I care deeply about my community. I’m always happy to speak to residents of the city and constituents about how I feel and how I’m thinking about issues. And I believe that I make responsible decisions that help move our city forward.”

Leonard Gentile, another candidate for councilor-at-large, has been serving the community as a councilor since 1989, with a focus on education in his work. Gentile could not be reached for an interview.

In his time on the City Council, Gentile has served as chair of the Finance Committee and is a member of both the Real Property Reuse and Public Facilities committees. Gentile also works as the president of Preferred Mortgage Group, Inc. 

School Committee

Tamika Olszewski, a candidate for School Committee of Ward 4, moved to Newton in 2013 with her twin children. 

Her decision to run for School Committee was based on the high value she places on education and the well-being of Newton’s children. 

“A lot of what I’m about in my campaign is making sure that that the beliefs that are deeply rooted in my campaign are represented on the school committee, and those beliefs are that I view our differences as a point of pride,” Olszewski said. “I view our community as a source of strength. And I think we function best when we are all engaged civically.”

Olszewski endorses a variety of actions that support the social and emotional well-being of students in addition to their academic well-being. She wants the high schools to start later in order to benefit the stress levels and “social emotional learning” of the students, she said.

Olszewski is a former member of the PTO board, the current vice chair of the school council, and a board member of Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ). FORJ is a group that helps parents effectively talk with their kids about race with compassion and empathy, she said. Olszewski has worked as a professional attorney for many years, but now she chooses to focus on the schools and her children. 

“I’m an attorney professionally,” Olszewski said. “I am a member of the bar in both Maryland, where I came from, and Massachusetts. However, I don’t work outside of the home. I’ve been fortunate to be able to really devote myself to supporting all of those efforts in the schools, and it’s just been an amazing amount of giving back.”

The basis of Olszewski’s campaign is an understanding of people’s differences and differing perspectives. She believes that this, along with her experience, is why the residents of Newton should vote for her. 

“I have a proven and demonstrated passion for making sure that we are celebrating the rights and the different perspectives of folks who are different races, different religions, different economic backgrounds,” said Olszewski. 

Alexander Koifman, Olszewski’s opponent in this School Committee race, was born in the Soviet Union and moved to the United States when he was 19.

Koifman’s campaign for school committee places emphasis on the value of STEM education and teaching important 21st century skills.

“Schools today do not adequately teach the essential 21-century skills, including computers, math and science,” Koifman’s campaign website says. “This is apparent due to many parents having to hire tutors or enrolling their children in after-school programs.” 

In order to solve this problem, Koifman proposes a variety of policies that he believes will help Newton’s students. According to his campaign website, Koifman wants to improve vocational training for students who are not planning on going to college or cannot afford it, as well as hire innovative STEM teachers for Newton’s schools. He also wants to reward teachers for what they do for students. 

Koifman is the president of the Russian Jewish Community Foundation, a Newton-based Jewish advocacy group. 

Graphic by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor

November 4, 2019