Denise Simmons has spent her entire adult life working to better her community – as Executive Director of the Cambridge Civic Unity Committee in the 1980s, as a member of the Cambridge School Committee in the 1990s, and, since 2002, as a member of the City Council. She is currently in the first year of her eighth term, and she is serving her second term as Mayor. Denise has sought to make municipal government more responsive, more inclusive, and more effective. In 2008, Denise drew national attention when she became the nation’s first Black, openly lesbian mayor (and the first Black female mayor in Massachusetts). During her time in office, Denise has been particularly focused to working to preserve and increase the city’s stock of affordable housing, and she has and she has worked to open opportunities for residents to obtain that housing. She has drafted and supported legislation promoting fairer affordable housing practices, she has counseled and advocated for constituents one-on-one, and she has released a guide to help people search for and navigate through the affordable housing process. She also continues to lead efforts to open up job training opportunities to greater numbers of Cambridge residents, and to champion jobs that pay living wages and treat workers fairly. Denise continues to be an advocate for her constituents, in addition to being a policy maker, and she continually works to see that everybody has a voice in the conversations that shape our community.
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