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Christiana tells why he's running

Greg ChristianaGreg Christiana

UPDATED March 19: Greg Christiana of 82 Ridge St. provided this update to his initial announcement with responses to queries. A garden party for the candidate is set for Sunday, March 20, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., at 223 Park Ave. Stop by for refreshments, greet each other and chat with Greg. RSVP (suggested, not essential) to barbarathornton1[@g]mail.com.

Why are you running?

I feel fortunate to live in Arlington, where we have living, breathing democracy at the town scale. Local representative democracy like Town Meeting is rare and precious, and every generation should take seriously the responsibility of renewing and sustaining it.

When my kids have civics lessons in school, I enjoy sharing with them my experience at Town Meeting and drawing parallels between our local and federal governments; e.g., the principle of separation of powers and the importance of checks and balances in a pluralistic democracy.

The town moderator is central to the functioning of Town Meeting and is responsible for appointments to committees that shape life in Arlington. I'm excited to share my ideas and plans for improving transparency, responsiveness and inclusion that I believe would make our civic institutions more effective at translating the values and priorities of the people of Arlington into public policy.

As town moderator, I will continue to work to increase civic engagement in town and to uplift voices that have not always been heard in our town government.

What key issues do you see facing Arlington?

Arlington must continue to work on diversity, equity and inclusion in all of our institutions, including Town Meeting. In addition, the work of our town government has been challenged by the pandemic. We are in a new era of civic participation and governing and will need to find productive ways to debate and to make policy in an increasingly hybrid world.

Beyond these overarching concerns, the key issues we face in town will be reflected in the warrant articles that Town Meeting members will consider and vote on this year. That’s just one of the things I value about Town Meeting! I expect to see articles relating to zoning, sustainability, voting rights, transportation and more. We’ll also vote on the budgets for our town and schools. They will be tight this year.

How do you plan to address them?

My goal as town moderator is to facilitate productive, fair and inclusive deliberations on the warrant articles before Town Meeting, ensuring that all members feel welcome. I would take seriously the responsibility of making prompt, thoughtful appointments to the committees that shape our town’s policies and institutions.

For instance, the Town Meeting Procedures Committee needs two of its five positions filled. One of the committee's responsibilities is to consider how our rules affect the desire of Arlingtonians to become Town Meeting members, so it’s especially important to reinvigorate this committee given the high degree of attrition from Town Meeting this year.

I believe increased transparency is vital to the future of Town Meeting. For example, I would display the speakers’ queue publicly throughout Town Meeting and would explore procedural options for ensuring that we hear from a diversity of voices.

I would also prioritize the collection and analysis of metrics about membership in our town committees and speaking times at Town Meeting. Which voices are we hearing at Town Meeting? Which voices are we not hearing? Then we can begin to understand the work we need to do together. This is an important undertaking for every organization. Diversity is a strength, and we need to use the diversity of perspectives and experiences in Arlington to ensure that we're considering a wide range of ideas and insights when making decisions.


ACMi profile of Greg Chistiana
What is your personal background relevant to the position you seek?

Arlington public-service, volunteer experience

My volunteer and leadership experience in Arlington have been characterized by a commitment to civic engagement and a collaborative and innovative approach.

  • Elected Town Meeting member in Precinct 15 since 2016;
  • Cochair of Envision Arlington Standing Committee (formerly Vision 2020);
  • Founded the Civic Engagement Group within Envision Arlington, serving as inaugural chair;
  • Leadership Team for Build Arlington’s Future campaigns to secure school and town funding in 2016 and 2019;
  • Steering Committee member of the School Enrollment Parent Group and started the Bishop Enrollment Group to address overcrowding in our public schools;
  • Engaged Town Meeting members townwide to organize and plan precinct meetings for residents to connect with their elected officials; and
  • Contributed technical expertise and organizational support to the effort to revive and publicize Town Meeting member candidate statements, making it easier for voters to learn about the candidates in their precincts.
Professional experience

I’ve been a senior software engineer at Google for the past decade and have worked as a software engineer for my entire career. Working in a fast-paced environment that experiences continual change, I've repeatedly developed expertise in new technologies as older ones become obsolete.

The ability to learn quickly and to adapt to changing circumstances is essential in my field. My job often involves solving problems while the clock is ticking to avoid disruption for the billions of users who rely on the service for which my team is responsible. With my strong technology background and ability to remain calm under pressure, I will bring my pragmatic expertise and innovative spirit to the question of how to conduct Town Meeting inclusively and productively as we navigate the current stage of the pandemic and beyond.

I've also conducted more than 400 interviews in my professional life, where I've been responsible for assessing various skills, including leadership, ability to collaborate and communicate, technical knowledge and abilities, and problem-solving skills. An important part of the moderator's job is to make appointments to several town committees, so my extensive experience with interviewing and vetting candidates will be especially useful.

Announces candidacy March 2

I’m excited to announce my candidacy for town moderator and to ask for your vote in the town election on April 2. I’m running because I value fair debate and discussion that reflect the diverse viewpoints of all of Arlington’s residents. If elected, transparency and inclusion will guide my approach to moderating Town Meeting, and I will take seriously the responsibility of making thoughtful appointments to the committees that shape our town’s policies.

My volunteer efforts in town have been characterized by a collaborative approach and a commitment to strengthening civic engagement. When residents can connect easily with their elected officials, the government can better serve the people. My goal is always to get more people in the conversation, more people voting and more people involved in shaping Arlington’s future.

We are in a new era of civic participation and governing, and we'll need to find productive ways to debate and to make policy in an increasingly hybrid world.

For the past 16 years, I’ve worked as a software engineer at Google. I’ll bring my technical knowledge and innovative spirit to the question of how to conduct Town Meeting as we navigate the current stage of the pandemic and beyond.

I feel fortunate to live in Arlington, where we have living, breathing democracy at the town scale. Local representative democracy like Town Meeting is rare and precious, and every generation should take seriously the responsibility of renewing and sustaining it.

In the coming weeks, I want to learn about what that means to you so we can work on it together.

His kickoff was held Sunday, March 6, at 3 p.m. over Zoom. Learn more about my campaign and ways to help at GregForModerator.com.

Be in touch at greg[@]gregformoderator.com or 781-819-2781.


This letter was published Wednesday, March 2, 2022, and updated March 19.

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