Both as Mayor and as a member of the Cambridge City Council, Denise Simmons has recognized that small businesses are the life-blood of the community, and she understands that they are vital to providing both jobs to area residents, and revenue for the community. As a small business owner herself, Denise is personally aware of the many challenges small business owners face. That is why Denise has consistently worked to strengthen the local business community, promoted networking opportunities for business owners, worked with the City’s Economic Development Department, and promoted projects that sought to revitalize local businesses.
Denise was an important voice in favor of allowing zoning changes that will pave the way for the construction of a 1.5 million-square-foot biotech campus in Cambridge. Her reasoning was simple: she understands that this project will bring quality construction jobs to the area, thousands of quality permanent jobs once the project is complete, and the attractive new campus will ensure that Cambridge remains a prime destination in the international biotech sector.
In addition, she aggressively advocated on behalf of workers wishing to bargain collectively for fairer treatment. She had marched on the picket lines with hospitality workers, and she has been actively pushing legislation to ensure that those who clean our city buildings are treated fairly and equitably. Denise continues urging private developers to use skilled labor on jobs in order to ensure quality work and respect for workers. Denise will continue standing in lockstep with the working men and women of Cambridge for decades.
As Mayor, Denise lent her support to Green Jobs development legislation that was pending in the State legislature, which was designed to promote the development and implementation of the “green-collar” jobs (such as producing technology-intensive products, and the retrofitting of homes and offices to be more environmentally-friendly and more energy-efficient). In 2009, she garnered $100,000 for job training and job placement in the burgeoning green economy. She also supported legislation like the “Pathways out of Poverty Program” that is tied in with Green Jobs training and fostered closer ties with Boston's Building Pathways program. She has fought to ensure that developers in Cambridge used skilled, qualified laborers on local developments just as they do in Boston - which had not always been the case. Denise has also worked to ensure that our students nearing graduation are mad aware of apprenticeship programs and employment opportunities.
As Mayor, Denise also helped hundreds of individuals get connected to the job-finding services and organizations that could help connect them with stable, viable employment. She worked closely with the Cambridge Office of Workforce Development, placed calls to her extensive network of friends and associates on behalf of her constituents, wrote letters of reference and recommendation for job seekers, and worked to help many families avert financial disaster. As a City Councillor, she continues to aide constituents in this manner.