Oct. 4, 2021
The Progressive Coalition of Amherst (PCA), a new political action committee working toward a more inclusive local democracy, is pleased to announce its first endorsements for Amherst Town Council and Amherst School Committee, following a careful review process. Candidates seeking PCA’s endorsement were required to complete a questionnaire about critical issues including public health and safety, emergency services, capital spending and borrowing, housing, development, equity, and social justice. When applicable, a candidate’s prior public service and voting record were considered, to determine if they would be invited for an interview. After an endorsement by PCA was offered, each candidate had to confirm their acceptance.
After careful consideration, PCA has endorsed for Councilor At-Large: Vira Douangmany Cage, Ellisha Walker, and Vincent O’Connor; for District 3 Councilor: Jennifer Taub and Dorothy Pam; for District 4 Councilor: Anika Lopes*. PCA did not endorse candidates in the uncontested Town Council races, in Districts 1, 2 and 5 and notes that the majority of registered voters in town will have no meaningful choice about who represents them as District Councilors. PCA has endorsed Jennifer Page, Phoebe Merriam, and Benjamin Herrington for School Committee. In addition, Heather Lord and Pamela Rooney have chosen to run as independent candidates for School Committee and Councilor in District 4.
*Anika Lopes has chosen to accept an endorsement from the other political action committee in town as well.
“The PCA Board, after studying several completed questionnaires, was struck by the passion and commitment that these progressive candidates displayed towards the goal of improving the lives of all community members,” stated PCA Chairwoman Pat Ononibaku. “We believe that these individuals can help revitalize Amherst as a democratic, welcoming and equitable community for all residents.”
Ononibaku said that once elected, these progressive candidates will be strong advocates for the public, by fighting to assure that Town Council plans and proceedings are fully transparent, that all voices are heard, and that the Council is responsive to the public input it receives.
“These candidates will also initiate needed steps by the Town government to attract locally owned shops and restaurants to Amherst, and to preserve existing ones. They will fight for social justice issues and housing development which is appropriate for our Town and provides the affordable homes and apartments that our local families need,” Ononibaku stated.
PCA’s Executive Board endorsed only candidates who sought its endorsement, and then later accepted it in writing. “We feel that this process, in which candidates affirm their wish to be endorsed, is the right thing to do,” Ononibaku said, noting that another political action committee recently endorsed a slate of candidates, including some BIPOC individuals, who were not consulted or asked for their consent.
Ononibaku urged Amherst residents who have not done so to check their voter registration status immediately at My Voter Registration, and be sure they are registered by Weds., Oct. 13, the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 2 local election. Additional voting information, including Amherst precincts, can be found here.
(For more information about PCA, visit www.coalitionamherst.org.)