A week after incumbent Ward 3 Northampton City Councilor Owen Freeman-Daniels announced that he won’t seek re-election this fall, a new candidate has stepped up.
Political activist Ryan O’Donnell announced his candidacy last week on the steps of City Hall, surrounded by supporters including Council President Bill Dwight and Vice President Jesse Adams and Hampshire County Register of Deeds Mary Olberding.
A Springfield native and UMass alum, O’Donnell is a board member of the Ward 3 Neighborhood Association and has been involved in a number of progressive campaigns, including the Northampton Living Wage Coalition and campaign reform efforts. He works for Amherst-based Free Speech for People, which works to eliminate the influence of big money in the political system, including by backing a constitutional amendment filed by U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, Northampton’s Congressman, that would overturn the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
O’Donnell told the Advocate that pressing issues in Ward 3 include “keeping Bridge Street School open, encouraging walkability, diverting large commercial trucks out of residential neighborhoods, pursuing responsible redevelopment of the Fairgrounds and strengthening public safety.” He also named a number of city-wide priorities, including making Northampton “an even greener city,” supporting arts development, investing in education and addressing “serious and chronic revenue problems, many of which ultimately stem from a regressive tax code at the state level.”
If he’s elected, O’Donnell said, he’ll be “an active advocate for Northampton and for basic progressive ideals. To me this means a willingness to offer new ideas, speak out, and push at all levels for reforms that strengthen the city.”
For more information on O’Donnell’s platform, go to http://www.ryanodonnell.org.