Get to Know Payton Corbett

Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz.

What should we know about you?

I’m a 13-year resident of Somerville and I currently live in Ward 1 with my wife, Jenny. Like the majority of Somerville residents, we are renters and understand the challenges that working families in this city are facing. I’m an elected officer of my local union and I serve as a shop steward in my workplace, acting as a liaison between management and members. I’m also a longtime community and labor activist—I have a strong track record of fighting for economic and social justice. As a leader on the shop floor and an organizer, I know how to bring people from all different backgrounds together and find creative solutions that work for everyone.

What would your top three priorities be if elected?

Affordability—Enforce our current laws and work to increase the inclusionary housing percentage on large projects to 25 percent. Push for a tenant right of first refusal.

Make corporations and “non profits” pay their fair share—Shift tax burdens from working families and seniors to the city’s billion-dollar institutions.

Good Jobs—Settle contracts with municipal employees and treat them with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Fight for local hire and job training on new construction projects.

What are three specific new programs or changes you would make if elected?

Reform the city charter and weaken mayoral powers. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

End cronyism at City Hall and promote diverse hiring/appointments and allow a transparent process. Our administration and workforce should be representative of the people who live in our community. Scout reported in 2015: “Out of the 232 positions for city boards and commissions, only 4 appointments are Latino—a mere 1.7 percent.”

Push Developers to negotiate community benefit agreements that would allow residents a voice in the destiny of their neighborhood and promote local hire, job training, neutrality agreements for workers, affordable housing, green space, and more.

What sets you apart from Mayor Joseph Curtatone?

First and foremost, I have not and will not take a dollar or a dime from for profit developers or those associated with them.

Somerville has never been better, and it’s never been worse. While business and development are booming, many residents find it harder to survive in the city we love, the city that we helped to make such a great place to live, work, and raise a family. I’m here to stand for the people, not special interests and political loyalists. We can fly every flag and hang every banner, but if the people we purport to support can’t afford to live here or aren’t given the opportunity to work here, then it all means nothing.

While Mayor Curtatone has done some great things for the city, I think any elected official has an expiration date. After so many years of holding office, oftentimes an elected representative stops listening to the people. Sometimes they will start legacy building and only doing things that further their political ambitions. Running up big bills and putting them on the taxpayers. I believe that the billion-dollar institutions in this city should be paying for things like the Green Line Extension and our new high school. I will be a mayor of, by, and for the people of Somerville.

Give us a fun fact about you.

I grew up skateboarding and still skate a bit to this day. I have to take it easy though because my ankles aren’t what they used to be, and I have to be able to get up and go to work everyday. Politics isn’t just for squares!