Andrew Smith to run for Ward 1 council seat in Northampton 

  • Andrew Smith with his son, Milo. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/13/2019 2:24:59 PM
Modified: 6/13/2019 2:24:49 PM

NORTHAMPTON – Two weeks after Ward 1 City Councilor Maureen Carney announced that she will not seek an eighth term, a city resident has announced plans to run for the position. 

Andrew Smith, 40, serves as director of conservation and sustainability for the city of Holyoke and will be making his second bid in three years to join Northampton’s nine-member council. In 2016, he lost a special election for an at-large city councilor seat to now City Council President Ryan O’Donnell.

“I live and breathe public meetings,” Smith said in a recent interview. He is the only candidate to emerge thus far for the council’s Ward 1 seat. 

Carney announced  in late May that she will not seek re-election, part of a wave of changes in the political landscape that promises to see a very different council in 2020.

In addition to Carney, Ward 2 City Councilor Dennis Bidwell, Ward 7 City Councilor Alisa Klein and O’Donnell also announced that they would not seek re-election. Additionally, Ward 4 City Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra is running for an at-large council seat, while longtime Ward 5 City Councilor David Murphy is facing a challenger.

Smith said one of the issues he is most passionate about is climate change.

“I’ve dedicated my professional life to working on that,” he said.

Smith would like Northampton to look into methane recapturing technology at its wastewater treatment plant, which could also be used to generate power. He also is interested in examining the carbon footprints of city departments through the budgeting process.

Smith said zoning is another area of interest to him, which he directly ties to affordability and tackling climate change.

“We have to allow smaller housing to exist on smaller lots,” he said, adding that he would consider abolishing single-family housing districts in the city.

Smith also said he believes the city can do more to retain young people, and noted that allowing food trucks downtown is one type of policy that could help toward that end. 

“A lot of young people are using that as an opportunity to start their businesses,” he said.

Smith also said he would like the City Council and School Committee to offer child care at meetings.

Smith grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, as a self-described poor kid. He credits punk rock as being the inspiration for his political awakening, specifically citing legendary Minor Threat and Fugazi vocalist Ian MacKaye. Smith also recalled burning Confederate flags being handed out at a parade when he was a teenager alongside his friends.

“We just burned them in their faces,” he said.

Smith lives in the city with his wife, Emma, and three children, ages 6, 4 and 1.  He first came to the area for graduate school, studying at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“It felt like home,” he said. 

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

 




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