Photo: Belmont Town Meeting 2017
[Editor’s note: The Belmontonian encourages all candidates for Town Meeting and Town-wide office to submit a letter on their platform or motivation for running.]
My name is Dovie Yoana King and I’m a candidate for Belmont Town Meeting in Precinct 7. I live on Oxford Avenue with my son, Noah, who is a fourth-grade student at Roger Wellington School. I’m a parent volunteer and PTA member. I’m also a progressive woman of color and survivor of domestic violence who brings a unique perspective to local government. I believe Town Meeting needs diversity at the table, and I hope to be that voice.
A bit about my background. I was born in San Diego and grew up in a low-income neighborhood comprised mainly of Latinos. My mother was a domestic worker and my father was a fisherman and restaurant worker. Neither had much of a formal education, but both taught me the value of hard work. In 1994, I obtained my BA at Brown University and my JD at Northeastern University School of Law in 1999. I am a first-generation college and law school graduate. After several years of representing low-income workers and Spanish-speaking immigrants in New York and California, I was admitted to practice law in Massachusetts. I accepted a job at Harvard Law School and drove cross-country with my son and puppy in tow to make Belmont our home.
Belmont is a sanctuary to me. I’m a survivor of domestic violence and I relocated 3,000 miles in search of a safe place to raise Noah and rebuild my life after ending an abusive marriage. Belmont has provided exactly that. By speaking openly about my personal story, despite all the costs associated with it, my goal is to advance the discussion about systemic sexism and violence against women. As a Town Meeting member, I will work to ensure that Belmont is a sanctuary for others and that eradicating gender inequality is a top priority.
These are the issues that matter most to me for Town Meeting:
- Gender Inequality. #MeToo is not a passing fad, but a lasting movement spearheaded by courageous women and truth seekers. I firmly believe that victims deserve to be believed and now’s the time to eradicate gender inequality at all levels of society. As an award-winning victim’s rights attorney and the founder of the organization, Survivors of Abuse Rising for Justice (“SOAR for Justice”), I will continue to advocate for policies that combat sexual harassment, discrimination and gender-based violence.
- Diversity. Belmont is a diverse community with a significant population of people of color, immigrants, renters and non-English speakers, but this is not reflected in local government. I will add diversity to our Town Meeting with an approach of building coalitions to get things done, together.
- Schools. Our schools are the cornerstone of the community and should be adequately funded. As a former public school educator and faculty union member, I’m committed to improving Belmont schools. Further, as a mother of a child who suffers from an “invisible” disability (as a result of domestic violence), I understand the importance of offering special education and after-school programs— all students deserve an equal opportunity to learn and thrive.
- Affordable Housing. Belmont’s home-ownership rate is solid, but many residents are renters, like me. Others are veterans, seniors and low-income families at the brink of being priced out of the neighborhood. I’m sensitive to the needs of community members facing economic uncertainty and displacement. We need more affordable housing opportunities to keep Belmont’s families safe and intact.
- Small Businesses. I support small businesses because they are an important part of the fabric of our town and represent an untapped source for increased tax revenue. As a former small business owner of a law firm, I will push for incentives to attract businesses and stimulate economic growth.
In conclusion, I’m honored for the opportunity to represent Precinct 7 as a Town Meeting member. I’m a life-long Democrat and was recently elected delegate to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention where I will proudly represent Belmont and add a diverse voice.
I invite you to contact me at email@example.com or on Facebook at @Dovie4TownMtg with your concerns or ideas for improving the quality of life in Belmont.
Thanks in advance for your vote on April 3, 2018. As a reminder, Precinct 7 voters should go to Mary Lee Burbank School to vote, 266 School Street, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dovie Yoana King