Somerville’s Alderman race heats up

democraticshotAlderman elections are just around the corner, folks. Time to get to know a little bit about some of the candidates poised to take care of business in the city.

Here are some candidates who have already announced they will run for Alderman in their respective wards.

Elio Russo – Ward 1

Elio Russo, a Suffolk University grad, is the proud owner of Somerville Ornamental Iron Work (formerly owned by his father) and says he is running for Alderman because Somerville cities and neighborhoods “are at a crossroad.”

He says many “exciting things are happening in East Somerville (from the Assembly Square development to re-vamping of East Broadway),” and he believes he has the “relationship and experience to deliver solid leadership to Ward 1 during those pivotal times.”

Russo is born to immigrant parents and has lived in Somerville all his life. In his campaign website, he invites voters to share their ideas to what might make the city better. In his own words, “this election will be about listening and learning.”

Mark Niedergang – Ward 5

Niedergang’s campaign is all about family.

In a flyer posted on his official website, he says he wants to “keep more families in Somerville,” protect and improve the neighborhood with advancements such as the long-awaited green line extension, and bring more green areas to the city.

Niedergang has been a Somerville resident for thirty years, having graduated from Tufts University. He has held several different leadership positions in Somerville, from Grants manager in the Somerville Police Department to being a current elected member of the Ward 5 School Committee.

Katjana Ballantyne – Ward 7

This will be the second time Ballantyne will run for Ward 7 Alderman (she was 40 votes short of defeating Robert Trane in the 2011 election).

Long time resident of Teele Square, Ballantyne argues in her official website that “her commitment to Somerville, background as an active community member, and professional experience will allow her to make local government more inclusive and effective”.

Like Niedergang, Ballantyne is focusing on a “cleaner and greener” neighborhood and on the green line extension. However, she also touches on the subjects of students and absentee landlords, promising to “strictly enforce noise and trash ordinances where students live,” and economic development.

Ballantyne has a MBA with a focus on Entrepreneurship from Suffolk University and has lived with her family in Somerville for almost 20 years. –Lucas Parolin