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Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, an incumbent member of the Cambridge City Council, hopes to highlight affordable housing, public transportation, and climate policy as he seeks a second term in office this November.
Sobrinho-Wheeler, who was elected to the council in 2019, previously worked at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a Cambridge-based think tank. He has volunteered for the Boston Democratic Socialists of America as well as for the Boston Sunrise Movement.
In his first term, Sobrinho-Wheeler has frequently engaged with politics at Harvard, including signing onto a legal complaint about University’s investments in fossil fuels and supporting both strikes by the Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers.
“One of the first things I did after I was elected in 2019 was stand with the Harvard graduate students at HGSU-UAW union when they were on strike out in the Yard in the snow,” he said. “I spoke to the folks there in support of the efforts for real recourse, gearing up on the contract negotiations to strike again this year.”
In addition, Sobrinho-Wheeler said he has worked with the Harvard Young Democratic Socialists of America and spoken with graduate students about their policy concerns, such as the cost of living and the quality of public transportation in Cambridge.
Housing policy — including supporting residents facing eviction, advocating against poor living conditions, and tackling the steep rent increases — has long been a passion of Sobrinho-Wheeler’s.
In 2020, Sobrinho-Wheeler co-sponsored the Affordable Housing Overlay, an ordinance that aims to create more opportunities for affordable housing in Cambridge.
While on the council, Sobrinho-Wheeler has served as the chair of the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee and co-chair of the Housing Committee.
Sobrinho-Wheeler said his work on amendments to Cambridge’s Cycling Safety Ordinance — which designates over 25 miles of protected bike lanes over the next five to seven years — has been among his proudest moments in office.
For Sobrinho-Wheeler, the issue of transportation safety is personal, due to injuries he sustained in a biking accident in 2018. He lost part of his two front teeth in a crash, and was forced to spend thousands of dollars on medical care, he said.
As he seeks reelection, Sobrinho-Wheeler said he would renew his focus on climate policy, and asserted that he brings an important perspective to the city council.
“I’m 29 — which is right around the median age of the city — and someone who's going to live with the experience of climate change as it continues to get worse,” Sobrino-Wheeler said.
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