David Micley is running for one of the vacant at-large seats on Newton City Council in Ward 2, with a platform prioritizing making Newton a multigenerational city with a variety of housing options.
“I am choosing to run for city council because I see some problems that I think our city can be addressing better,” Micley said.
Micley—who was born, raised, and still lives in Newton—said that he is dedicated to the community, and his platform prioritizes the betterment of the community.
Micley is not accepting political donations for his campaign and is instead fundraising for the Centre Street Food Pantry. Through his Facebook fundraiser for the pantry, Micley raised $2,036 as of Tuesday. On his website, Micley also directed supporters to donate directly to the pantry.
“There’s just a real need to get food on the table for those that are really hurting in this pandemic,” Micley said. “I mean, I just think that it’s a worthy cause, and the campaign was an opportunity to highlight the importance of that call.”
Micley currently works as the director of sales and client relations at a startup called Floating Point Group, where he is responsible for establishing relationships with clients.
Micley’s time working as the director of the fellowship program through Tamid Group, a program that allows college students to spend a summer working at startup companies in Israel, will be beneficial to him as councilor, he said.
“I think my experience working at a startup and living in Tel Aviv and working, I see that Tel Aviv has done a lot to support startups,” Micley said. “I sort of understand firsthand what a city can do to attract and encourage startups to make their home. And so that sort of perspective, I think would be valuable in terms of working on that opportunity.”
Since this is his first involvement in Newton politics, Micley said that he wanted to run a campaign based on the issues, including schools and housing, and based on talking to and learning from others.
“Not having donations, not having the endorsements of different groups, gives me sort of the opportunity to really run an independent campaign, which has been, you know, really, just a great way to sort of address the issues on their merits,” Micley said.
Micley said that the council’s most urgent short-term priority should be fully reopening schools as soon as possible. He said that since last summer, reopening schools has been mismanaged due to a lack of planning, but that the recent progress in reopening schools has made him optimistic.
“The way to do it is to enlist the advice of medical experts to look at what the science says about what’s possible,” Micley said. “And to also just realize that, you know, keeping students at home is just a cost that we can’t really incur anymore.”
Keeping students at home is isolating, Micley said, which poses mental health issues.
“We need to aggressively ramp up our efforts to reopen as soon as possible and allocate whatever resources it takes to to ensure it sort of us were pretty open in other schools,” Micley said.
Another issue that Micley is concerned with is city growth and the supply of housing in Newton. By growing the city in a thoughtful way, he said that Newton can account for the interests of residents, including Newtonians from different life stages and diverse backgrounds.
“I think there is a possibility to have a balanced approach to growth, that makes new, more accessible, and more affordable options for more people,” Micley said. “And ultimately, the vision is to make Newton a city where people at different life stages and different backgrounds can make their lives.”
Micley said that growing the housing supply is an important issue for him, allowing for a variety of housing options for everyone, from retirees to low-income households.
He also said that he expects the city to face financial challenges due to the liabilities that Newton owes to pension workers. The pension liability fund for Newton city workers is underfunded at 55 percent, according to Micley’s website.
“But I think we just need to recognize how big of a problem it is and realize, if we don’t start addressing it more thoughtfully, now, it’s going to be a harder thing to address in the future,” Micley said.
To help solve this issue, Micley discussed making Newton an attractive location for entrepreneurial and life science companies to build their firms.
“We could do so much more to make Newton an attractive place for those companies to have their offices, which would be great for, you know, when people are working in Newton, to support our small businesses, it’s going to support our retail, and it’s also going to grow our commercial tax base, which if we do that, effectively, it could fund liabilities,” Micley said. This funding could also be used to invest in other areas, including schools, green infrastructure, and affordable housing, according to Micley.
“The strategy really needs to start from thinking strategically about where that revenue is going to come from,” Micley said. “Technology and life science sector is a huge opportunity that I’d be excited to work on.”
Micley said that he announced his campaign later than his opponents for personal reasons, including the birth of his daughter Zoe in September. Micley said he chose to focus on enjoying the early months of her life instead of joining the race.
The special election will be held on March 16 to fill the two vacant at-large seats on the council.
Featured Image by Keara Hanlon / for The Heights