Writer to run for at-large council seat in Northampton

  • Jamila Gore is running for an at-large seat on the City Council. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 3/23/2021 4:48:36 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A self-employed writer and former educator has announced that she is running for an at-large seat on the City Council.

Jamila Gore, who lives in Ward 2, is one of three candidates who intend to run for two at-large seats. In addition to her writing work, Gore is a spoken word poet and previously worked in the public schools and preschools.

“I think the main reason I am choosing to run now is because to me it’s an exciting time to be in a political office,” Gore said. “There is a way in which we’re at a moment in history, I feel like worldwide, where we have this crisis we’re going through for a year, yet it has magnified all these other many crises people have been going through on a daily basis for years — health care, being able to make rent, being able to pay for food, racism, police brutality.

“I think that it feels almost like a reconstruction period of a post-war period or something like that where we have an opportunity ... to do things differently in a way we haven’t before.”

Gore has lived in Northampton since 2006 and said the city is “a place I care about deeply.” She was involved in Deval Patrick’s campaign for governor and state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa’s House campaign.

“I think that it’s kind of a public misconception that the local political scene doesn’t affect your everyday life as much as the national,” Gore said. “It does.”

Gore said she is interested in working on issues like housing affordability, COVID recovery and looking at implementing the recommendations of the Policing Review Commission.

She also emphasized wanting an inclusive city “where a wider variety of people can afford to live and work,” including recent college graduates, artists, first-time homeowners and small business owners.

“I want to work on the formation of the community resilience hub, restructuring public safety and engaging the community in municipal government,” Gore said.

She said she likes that the City Council is working on zoning changes that aim to make the city more affordable.

“I’m a renter. I’ve been a renter since I lived here,” she said. “I want Northampton to be a place where somebody can put down roots. Not necessarily by having a house, but being able to stay here and not worry about their rent jumping up.”

In addition to Gore, the other candidates who have announced their intentions to run are Ward 1 City Councilor Michael Quinlan and former councilor David Murphy. The council’s current at-large members, Gina-Louise Sciarra, who is running for mayor, and Bill Dwight, are not running for their positions again. The city’s municipal election is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Dwight expressed his enthusiasm for Gore’s campaign. “I’ve known Jamila for years and I am excited by her decision to run,” he said in a statement.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.

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