Sixth candidate, Marc Warner, joins Northampton mayoral race

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Staff writer
Published: 6/22/2021 11:24:39 AM

NORTHAMPTON — Marc G. Warner, a transportation analyst who has served on numerous city committees for more than a decade, has announced plans to run for mayor.

Warner, 62, is the sixth candidate seeking to replace outgoing Mayor David Narkewicz in November’s election.

“I’ve got a reputation as someone who runs analyses with deep thought and integrity,” Warner said in an interview Tuesday.

He is the founder of Warner Transportation Consulting Inc., which has worked with large public agencies in California, Texas, Iceland, and the Phillippines, among other locations around the world, to improve public transit. Warner’s firm also assists with collective bargaining and employee retention.

“Recently, as I saw the candidates who are running (for mayor), I got the idea that they’re not taking it as seriously as they need to,” Warner said.

He said the city’s roughly $120 million operating budget should be handled by someone with the right professional skills and management experience, which he believes he would bring to the job.

City Council President Gina-Louise Sciarra, social worker Shanna Fishel, engineer Jared Greenberg, social worker and life coach Rosechana Gordon, and perennial candidate Roy Martin earlier announced plans to run for mayor. Narkewicz, first elected mayor in 2011, announced in January that he would not run for a fourth term.

“I’m a sincere candidate, and I would be a sincere mayor,” Warner said. “But this also falls in the category of fun. What am I doing to make my life more challenging, more meaningful?”

He recalled working with the public transit service in San Antonio, Texas, to increase ridership. Warner said he decided to ride the buses himself, sitting on metal benches at unshaded bus stops in the 108-degree heat.

“It looked like I was miserable to every motorist who was driving by,” he recalled.

He recommended changes that were outside the scope of his project, and within weeks, the city had invested $2 million to plant trees near bus stops, he said.

Warner, a Democrat, has contributed opinion pieces to the Gazette, including an April 28 piece about Northampton police funding in which he warned against “unthinking adherence to progressive values at the expense of good sense and governance.”

The Northampton Democratic City Committee has elected Warner as a delegate to the state convention three times.

In 2015, Warner ran unsuccessfully for an at-large City Council seat against incumbents William H. Dwight and Jesse M. Adams, who both won re-election.

Warner served on Northampton’s parking and passenger rail advisory committees, as well as the charter review and charter drafting committees, which prepared the charter approved by voters in 2012. The new charter extended the mayor’s term from two years to four years.

He said his core values include using government “as an active and positive force for society, taxation based on a fair and shared sacrifice, improved schools as a community responsibility, and the separation of church and state.”

Warner received a doctorate in transportation systems from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University and a master’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie-Mellon University. He has taught graduate-level transportation policy and analysis courses at UMass and Northeastern University.

Warner moved to Northampton from Cambridge in 2005, seven years after falling in love with the city while working on a parking project for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. He lives with his wife Bonnie Burke, a Smith College graduate, and two children, Jeffrey, 15, and Douglas, 13. He said his campaign will hold a kick-off rally on the steps of City Hall on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Nomination papers are due back at the City Clerk’s office by Aug. 13. If three or more candidates are certified to run for mayor, a preliminary election will be held on Sept. 28 to narrow the field to two. The general election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Brian Steele can be reached at bsteele@gazettenet.com.


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