Curtatone Makes the Switch: Mothers Inspire Mayor’s Family and Others to Switch to Renewable Energy

Last year, Nancy Curtatone, wife of Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and mother of four, attended a house party hosted by fellow Somerville mom, Randi Smith Soltysiak. Although the
event had the appearance of a typical house party – food, drinks, friends, and neighbors – it actually was part of a serious and growing movement led by Mothers Out Front, a new organization with the mission of transitioning our society away from fossil fuels to clean energy.
Mothers Out Front is a dedicated group of mothers, grandmothers, and other caregivers who are engaging elected officials, business leaders, and the public through a variety of activities, including rallies at the state house, neighborhood events, and house parties.
The group wants Massachusetts to be the first state to commit to meeting its new energy needs through conservation, efficiency, and renewables, and they believe mothers can lead the way, beginning with their own homes. They’ve teamed up with Mass Energy Consumers Alliance (Mass Energy) a local non-profit organization and renewable energy supplier. The two organizations are working together to encourage families to make the switch to clean, renewable, and local sources of electricity through Mass Energy’s renewable energy programs. Mass Energy has been serving parts of the state with renewable energy options since 2002, and has 4,000 members in Massachusetts alone. Since Mothers Out Front launched their campaign in February, they’ve successfully convinced hundreds more to make the switch to green power, including Nancy Curtatone.
When asked to comment on her family’s decision to make the switch, Curtatone remarked, “As residents, we are committed to ensuring our city remains a safe and healthy community for our kids, but with four young boys it can be challenging to find new and interesting ways to keep our emissions low. After attending a Mothers Out Front house party, I was inspired to make this change within our home, not only because of the environmental benefits, but also taking this opportunity to teach our children the importance of making choices that can change the future for the better.”
Through Mass Energy, anyone in NSTAR, National Grid, and very soon, Western Massachusetts Electric territory to choose renewable energy instead of fossil fueled electricity. Both of Mass Energy’s green power options — New England GreenStart and New England Wind, which differ in price and renewable energy sources— match a household’s electricity usage with electricity produced by renewable energy projects in Massachusetts and other parts of New England. With the support of members like Curtatone, Mass Energy pro-actively seeks out and provides funding for local community-scale renewable energy projects, such as a brand new wind turbine at the Water & Sewer Treatment in Lynn, an anaerobic digester in Rutland, and several others.
The Curtatone family’s decision to switch to green power reflects many of the policy decisions Mayor Curtatone has made for the City of Somerville since he took office in 2003.
“As Mayor of the City of Somerville, I have worked to expand Somerville’s commitment to clean, efficient energy and initiated Somerville’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. As a citizen and a consumer, making my home energy efficient and reducing our family’s carbon footprint is just as important. I am proud to partner with Mothers Out Front and Mass Energy and to take this important step for the health of my family and my home, and the future of our great city,” said Joseph A. Curtatone, Mayor of Somerville.
Vanessa Rule, a longtime resident of Somerville and Organizing Director of Mothers Out Front, is excited by the example Somerville has set.
“As a 23-year-long resident of Somerville, I am thrilled to see our city taking the lead on choosing clean renewable energy through Mothers Out Front and Mass Energy to protect our children’s future in the face of climate change! Somerville can be a model climate-friendly city for Massachusetts and the rest of the country as residents, businesses, and the public sector make the switch away from dirty fossil-fuels,” said Rule.
Rule and other organizers from Mothers Out Front met in June with Governor Deval Patrick, who has made Massachusetts a national leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy. According to Rule and her co-organizers, the Governor was impressed to hear that members are choosing (and asking others to choose) clean, renewable energy in their own lives, just as they’re asking him to make this choice for the Commonwealth.
Now the group is focused on showing the governor a powerful display of public support that will allow him to make this commitment. As more people make the switch to clean electricity through Mass Energy, the demand for it grows, sending a strong message to the Governor that Massachusetts can be the first state in the country that builds only clean and renewable energy infrastructure. Making this commitment would be a historic step that could inspire other states to do the same, in turn giving the U.S. a chance to lead the world to a safer climate, and a safer climate is what Mothers Out Front and Mass Energy want most.

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