My name is Marianne Walles and I am running for Mayor of Somerville. My father was born and raised here and lived in Winter Hill his entire life. My mother came here from Sicily after World War II. My parents worked hard to give my sister and I a better life. We were very fortunate to have family and friends around us. My father worked at Cains Potato Chip Company and would walk to work everyday, even in snow storms to provide for us. My mother was mostly a stay at home mom, but when times were tough, she worked cleaning nursing homes or office buildings. I worked and paid my way through college.
My husband and I married 27 years ago. Since that time, we have worked hard to provide a better life for our two sons. My husband worked two jobs and I worked overtime so we could save enough to buy a house. Our sons graduated from Somerville Public Schools. Both are now union apprentices. We could not be prouder of them.
Raising our family in Somerville has provided us many opportunities. We met many new friends through the Somerville Recreation Center, our son’s schools and their sports teams. Sadly, many of them have had to leave due to rising costs. This has happened at a faster rate over the past few years.
I am a front-line social worker. It’s provided me with an opportunity to experience first hand the struggles of our community. I’ve seen how important housing and good paying jobs are to our children’s success in schools. Access to substance abuse and mental health services are critical too. As a social worker, I have advocated and fought for all of theses issues.
Recently, there has been a lot of conversation about “safe injection sites.” Our community has many different feelings about it. I do believe safe injections sites would save lives. I also know it’s not the only answer to the opioid addiction crisis. As a social worker, all too often I’m dealing with another overdose. It’s heartbreaking when a child finds one of their parents has overdosed — or vice versa. Access to long-term residential treatment is needed, but all too often it’s denied because of high costs and limited space.
I am also a union leader at SEIU Local 509. Being a union leader has provided me with an opportunity to advocate on a statewide level, not only for our members but for our communities. I have been fortunate to work with the legislature and to work with our state leaders on many public policies and legislation.
I am proud to be running for Mayor. I have not taken any donations from developers or special interests. I am honored to have been given donations from so many hard working people. I know that for many, every penny earned is needed. I hope that I will earn your vote.