City Council Candidates Climate Forum, Saturday October 21, 2023, 7-8:30 pm, First Parish, 24 Vernon Street, info at
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Where do Framingham’s City Councilor candidates stand on climate issues? What’s their vision for climate action in the city? Framingham voters will get answers at the City Council Candidates Climate Forum, which takes place Saturday, October 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m. The event will be in-person at First Parish Unitarian Universalist’s Scott Hall, 24 Vernon Street, Framingham, with a concurrent live stream on YouTube.

The event’s co-sponsors are Energize Framingham, the First Parish Climate Action Team, the Plymouth Church Green Team, and Transition Framingham. Renewable energy, building codes, food waste composting, and heat islands are among the topics to be addressed.

“We are already seeing how climate change can amplify hot weather, wildfires, droughts, and heavy rainfalls right here in Massachusetts,” says Aimee Powelka, community lead for Energize Framingham. “While the impact is global, action is local — and the sooner the better.”

Most of Framingham’s current City Councilors are running unopposed: At-Large councilors Janet Leombruno and George King, District 1’s Christine Long, District 3’s Adam Steiner, District 4’s Michael Cannon, District 5’s Noval Alexander, District 6’s Phillip Ottaviani, and District 7’s Leora Mallach.

Three seats are contested: In District 2, Brandon Foster Ward and Sean Silk are competing for Cesar Stewart-Morales’s seat; in District 8, John Stefanini is being challenged by Leslie White Harvey; in District 9, Tracey Bryant is being challenged by Jose Ferreira.

To date, all but two of these 14 candidates have RSVP’d yes to attend the event. Those unable to attend have been given the chance to provide a video recording to be played during the forum.

“Even though many of our City Councilors are running for reelection unopposed, the forum is an opportunity to get their views around climate change on the record,” says Larry Decker, a leading member of First Parish’s Climate Action team. “We need to hold our elected officials accountable if we are to avoid the worst of climate change and make Framingham as resilient as possible.”

Event format and agenda

After presenting their vision of how to bring federal and state money to Framingham to fund climate work, candidates will answer rapid-fire questions on such topics as heat islands, solar energy, energy standards for public buildings, retrofitting older homes, and curbside food waste pickup. They will then be asked for their views on Framingham adopting the state’s Opt-in Specialized Building Code. All questions will be sent to candidates in advance. Finally, candidates will take unscripted questions from the in-person and online audience, selected by the organizers and posed at random.

The evening begins with informal socializing from 6:30-7 p.m. The panel forum will run from 7-8:30 p.m.

The public can sign up for the event on Energize Framingham’s website, and identify their current City Councilor by using this lookup tool.

Energize Framingham is a climate action organization that provides education, outreach and environmental advocacy to promote a healthy, equitable and resilient community.

First Parish in Framingham is a Unitarian Universalist faith community that welcomes all who seek a religious home free of creeds and guided by love, reason and conscience.  

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