Meet Doug

Standing Up for Families

As a 24-year resident of our city, my passion is making Cambridge a better place to live, work, and raise a family. As a City Councilor, I will work to ensure that our city is a place where everyone can afford to live, our schools are excellent, our government is well-run, and our neighborhoods and kids are safe.

Families in Cambridge are struggling with rising housing costs, limited childcare openings, and a patchwork of transportation options that at times doesn’t seem to move anyone anywhere at all. As a neighbor, a parent of 3 young children, and a longtime youth sports coach, I will be a tireless supporter of families.

I will also be a strong advocate for our environment. I will ensure that our city continues to be a leader in the fight against climate change and that we protect and grow our existing natural resources.

I'm running for City Council because I believe that our city government should be responsive to the needs of its residents. Reforms are needed, and we can and must do better. I will push Cambridge to be a city that is accountable to all its citizens. I am asking for your #1 vote on Tuesday, November 7th, so we can continue to move Cambridge forward together.


About Me

I am a longtime neighborhood leader and first-time candidate for office.  I’m running for City Council on a platform of helping families by controlling housing costs, expanding childcare and after-school options, improving bike safety and climate resiliency, and supporting local businesses.

I am a graduate of Princeton University with a background in software project management (15 years) and, before that, experiential education (10 years). I’m a stay-at-home dad to our three children, ages 9, 11, and 13. Following the birth of our third child in 2014, I left my career to stay home with our kids and help my wife with her business. While extremely satisfying to be so connected with the early lives of our children, this new direction also allowed me time to become more involved in community advocacy work at the non-profit, neighborhood, and municipal levels.

I have been active in local politics for a decade as a community organizer, with interests in the following areas: 1) smart urban planning and zoning reform; 2) climate resiliency efforts; 3) support for families, with a special focus on middle-income families; and 4) efforts to increase municipal transparency and accountability, including lobbyist registration, campaign finance reform, and term limits. My background in research and data analysis helps me to better understand complex issues.

I have played a key role in Alewife rezoning, co-chaired the City’s Climate Zoning Task Force, advocated for the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway as Friends of the Greenway founder, and authored citywide zoning petitions to end exclusionary zoning and simplify approvals for small properties. I’m a board member of History Cambridge and an officer of the Fresh Pond Residents Alliance, as well as an avid cyclist and a youth sports coach. I also organize the annual Standish Street Halloween Block Party.


My Guiding Principles

  • I prefer to meet, not Tweet.
  • I believe neighborhoods matter and that neighborhood associations play an important role in voicing community concerns.
  • I value history, while also being open to new ideas.
  • I care deeply about our city, but also believe that our city can always do better.
  • I believe that we need fewer extremists and more people working together. To use a math analogy, I prefer my politics based less on subtraction and division, and more on addition and multiplication.


Community Positions Held

  • Co-Chair, City of Cambridge Climate Resilient Zoning Task Force (2018-2023)

Co-wrote the original zoning petition that led to the creation of the citywide climate resiliency task force. Chaired the task force along with Assistant City Manager Iram Farooq. New zoning was approved by the Cambridge City Council in February 2023.

  • Member, City of Cambridge Alewife Zoning Task Force (2022-2023)

Working with Councilor Nolan, helped write the original moratorium petition that led to the creation of the Alewife zoning task force. Represented community interests in continuing discussions with local property owners, developers, and City staff. Advocate for improved public infrastructure, including future rail crossings and a commuter rail station. Final zoning is currently before the Council.

  • Member, City of Cambridge Envision Alewife Working Group (2016-2018)

Advocated for the prioritization of Alewife planning efforts. Pushed for the inclusion of a pedestrian bridge over the commuter rail tracks, which was unanimously supported by the entire working group and agreed to by the City.

  • Member, City of Cambridge Fresh Pond Master Plan Advisory Board (2014-2017)

Advocated for increased access to the Fresh Pond Reservation. Supported the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway project and the addition of path lighting, improved path connections, and enhanced signage for the project.

  • Secretary/Board Member, History Cambridge- formerly the Cambridge Historical Society (2017-Present)

Responsible for legal filings, meeting minutes, and society bylaws. Chaired the Nominations Committee. Led the reorganization of the bylaws over several years. As a member of the Executive Committee, participated in ongoing discussions regarding the society’s future direction, finances, and legal ownership status of the H-L-N House. Wrote a series of cover articles for the Society’s newsletter.

  • Member, DCR Mount Auburn Street Corridor Study Group (2016)

Worked with consultant HSH to help develop a representative stakeholder group. Participated in stakeholder meetings to help develop a range of implementable short- and long-term plans for the improvement of Mount Auburn Street from the Watertown line to Fresh Pond Parkway and parts of Fresh Pond Parkway.

  • Officer, Fresh Pond Residents Alliance neighborhood association (2014-Present)

Founding officer of the FPRA, the City’s designated neighborhood association for West Cambridge. Maintain a listserv for community discussions. Provide written and spoken remarks to the Planning Board, Board of Zoning Appeal, Historical Commission, Conservation Commission, City Council, and City Manager regarding the neighborhood’s interests and concerns.

  • Founder, Friends of the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway (2016-Present)

Advocated for the purchase, design, and construction of this newly opened multi-use path, along with its extension north of Concord Avenue. Outreach work has included over 100 meetings with elected officials, abutters, small business owners, artists, and residents regarding the project. Together with Green Cambridge and Livable Streets Alliance, presented to the Trails Caucus at the Massachusetts Statehouse.

  • Organizer, Standish Street Halloween Block Party (2014-Present)

Organize an annual Halloween Block Party on Standish Street that provides safe trick-or-treating to 700+ children per year. Interface with neighbors and City staff regarding event permitting. Advocate for simplified block party permitting.

  • Treasurer, Devereux for City Council campaign (2015)

Served as treasurer for Jan Devereux’s successful first City Council campaign.

  • Author/co-author, 4 zoning petitions (2015-2023)

Patrick Barrett Petition- Expanded Accessory Housing & Added Basement Living Space (2015)- SUCCESSFUL

Nakagawa/Brown Petition- Zoning Amendments for a Flood and Heat Resilient Cambridge, aka the Climate Safety Petition (2018)- SUCCESSFUL

City Council petition (with Councilor Nolan)- A Petition to Temporarily Prohibit Certain Uses within the Alewife Overlay Districts (2021)- SUCCESSFUL

Douglas Brown Petition- A Plan for the Incremental Modernization of Residential Zoning in Cambridge (2023)- TO BE RESUBMITTED

  • Co-Chair, Cambridge Skating Club Children’s Committee; Member, Long Term Planning Committee (2015-2018)
  • Youth sports coach, West Cambridge Little Baseball League, and Belmont Flag Football League (2018-Present)


Other Personal Trivia

Cambridge resident since 1999.

Streets I’ve lived on:

Antrim Street, Wood Street, Fayerweather Street, Gurney Street, Lakeview Avenue, and Standish Street (current since 2014).

Other cities I’ve lived and worked in:

Hong Kong (1992-93)

New Orleans, LA (1994)

Snowmass, CO (1995)

Gloucester, MA (1996-99)

Childhood hometown:

Mystic, CT

Princeton University, BA, American History (1991)

National Outdoor Leadership School, Fall Semester in the Rockies (1988), and Instructor Seminar (1995)

Prior Employment:

Outward Bound, USA & Hong Kong, Instructor (1989-95)

Project Adventure, Builder (1995-97)

School for Field Studies, Safety Director (1997-99)

Innovation First Notice, VP of Special Projects (1999-2014)

Complete resume on LinkedIn

Married to: Dee Elms, Interior designer at Elms Interior Design LLC

Father of: Nate (13), Phin (11), and Daisy (9)

Pets: one cat, two goldfish

To learn more about me, check out this video from the 2023 Meet The Cambridge Candidate Series:

Also, please check out this MBK City Council Forum: 

Contact Me