Maiore to seek Northampton Ward 7 council seat

  • Rachel Maiore has announced her candidacy for Northampton’s Ward 7 City Council seat. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rachel Maiore, a candidate for Northampton Ward 7 City Council, April 8, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 4/8/2019 10:49:28 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Rachel Maiore is running for City Council in Ward 7, in part, out of a sense of love. But Maiore, who serves as the director of the Pioneer Valley Women’s March, is also running because of how impactful local government can be.

“This is where we have agency to make those changes we want to see,” she said.

The Ward 7 seat is being vacated by Councilor Alisa Klein, who is not running for re-election. Ward 2 Councilor Dennis Bidwell and At-Large City Councilor Ryan O’Donnell are also not seeking re-election, while Ward 4 City Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra is running for At-Large City Councilor.

The election is set for Nov. 5, with a non-sectarian primary on Sept. 17.

Maiore, 50, has lived in Leeds with her husband, Timothy Reynolds, for the last dozen years. They moved to the area to start a family, and they now have three boys, Adi, Luco and Rafe, ages 10, 9 and 6 respectively.

“I knew I wanted to raise kids there,” she said.

This isn’t the first time Maiore has lived in the Paradise City. When she was a student at the University of Massachusetts, which she graduated from in 1990, she lived for several years on Graves Avenue.

“My apartment always smelled like Joe’s Pizza,” said Maiore.

Maiore has described herself as a “lifelong social justice activist and community organizer” and she has done community health work in both the United States and Latin America. She was also a regional organizer for Jobs With Justice, and was a part of the campaign to raise the minimum wage in the Bay State to $15 an hour. Additionally, she was recently appointed to the city’s Human Rights Commission.

Currently, Maiore does part-time data analysis for a mental health group and serves as a trainer in mediation and community organizing for MoveOn.org as work comes up.

Maiore serves as the director of the Pioneer Valley Women’s March, and she has been with the organization since the buses down to the first national march were being organized in 2016. Her former co-director, Lindsay Sabadosa, is now the state legislator representing Northampton, and Maiore worked on her election team as a campaign coordinator.

“I think that was a great education for me,” she said.

A number of veterans of Sabadosa’s campaign are also backing Maiore, although Sabadosa herself hasn’t made an endorsement in the race at this time.

This is Maiore’s first run for public office, and she says the reaction has been a good one.

“I’ve found people are really enthusiastic,” she said.

When asked about issues that she’s running on and would prioritize if she were elected, Maiore immediately went to affordable housing.

“Affordable housing has to be up there as a top priority for all of us,” she said.

Maiore also tied this in with senior issues, noting that housing not being affordable makes it more difficult for seniors to downsize.

Maiore is a supporter of municipal broadband, and she expressed approval of the city moving forward with studying the option.

“High-speed internet really needs to be considered a utility,” she said.

This issue also has a personal resonance for Maiore because her husband works as a software engineer and telecommutes.

Other issues she cited were street safety and the city continuing with green initiatives.

Maiore said she has dealt with challenges like living on a tight budget and being financially insecure.

She shared that in 2008, not long after they had moved to Northampton and soon after the birth of their first son, her husband lost his job. She credited organizations like Valley CDC and Community Action with helping them to get back on their feet.

“They were incredibly helpful,” she said.

Maiore also expressed a desire to “demystify” city government, and proactively communicate with her residents, should she be elected.

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




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