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2 writers tell why they support Fries

Submitting this letter were Kris Newton, an Arlington resident and Cambridge Public School teacher; and Christian Klein, an Arlington resident and Town Meeting member. 

Jen Fries, 2020Jen Fries

We are writing to ask for your vote for Jennifer Fries in the upcoming primary for state representative for the 24th Middlesex District, representing precincts 2, 4, 8, 10 and 12 in Arlington. The two of us have come to know Jen through very different circumstances, but in both cases have seen the qualities that make her a strong advocate for the issues that are so important to the Arlington community -- the schools, public transportation and climate change.

Though a newcomer to political office, Jen has spent years in public service and has hands-on experience in developing and supporting programs focused on critical issues in our community. Her leadership at Mass. Legal Assistance, One Family (supporting transition to stable housing), Cambridge School Volunteers and ACE Mentorship (programs and scholarships for students interested in the construction field) makes her uniquely qualified to represent a district as diverse as ours.

I (Christian) have known Jen since my family moved to West Boylston, Mass., in 1979. We were public school classmates in a tiny school district, always competing for top marks in our class. She has always been a person of integrity, working for the betterment of her community, and her commitments to public transportation and local climate concerns are critical at this time.

Since moving to Arlington, I have commuted to Boston through Alewife. I too have had many challenging afternoons hoping that the T would get me to pick up my sons from their after-school program on time. Many of us have accepted that is just how it is. Jen understands the public transportation needs of working families and the need for reliability, and she will work hard to make the system something we can honestly rely upon.

Jen is also paying attention to a unique climate issue in our district. Cambridge commissioned a climate-impact report, specifically looking at storm surge and flooding because of climate change over the next 50 years. That report indicates the potential for catastrophic storm surge along the Mystic River and Alewife Brook, possibly as far upstream as Fresh Pond, leading to widespread flooding throughout the low-lying areas of our congressional district. While Cambridge has been looking at contingencies, we need a more regional approach that requires leadership at the state level. Jen has made working on this problem a strong component of her campaign, and as our representative, she will work hard to protect our district.

As a high school science teacher at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, I (Kris) I have seen the ways in which Jen Fries’ long-standing work with Cambridge School Volunteers (CSV) supported and enriched the lives of students, particularly students with disabilities and ELL students.

Such CSV programs as academic Tutoring, SAT prep and college-essay and -application mentoring are all offered free of charge for students, and help level the playing field for our most vulnerable students. Based on Jen’s tireless work, I believe that she understands the challenges that face our students and the ways in which those challenges impact the opportunities available to them. I am pleased to see her strong stance on the funding of our public schools and colleges as well as affordable housing. As a science teacher, I am excited to see Jen endorsed by Sunrise Boston and the ideas she has for reducing the effects of climate change.

Jen has worked collaboratively with public and private partners and is ready to take on these issues at the state level. Please vote for Jen Fries on Sept. 1 for state representative.

This letter was published Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020.

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