MELROSE, MA– Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus has endorsed Manisha Bewtra, who is running for one of four At-Large seats on the Melrose Board of Aldermen. City elections are scheduled for Nov. 7.
Her vision for Melrose is for a city with stronger ties between neighbors, where long-time residents and newcomers come together in support of a thriving, interconnected community, according to her campaign website. She works towards making Melrose more inclusive and accessible, where more residents feel like they have a voice at City Hall.
Bewtra moved to Melrose in 2013 with her husband Ravi and son Viraj. They were attracted to Melrose’s convenient location: she could commute to work in Boston on the 131 bus and the Orange Line, and Ravi had a short drive to work in Woburn.
Bewtra is an experienced city planner. She works at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, where she has worked as a consultant for the City of Melrose Office of Planning and Community Development. She assisted the City with developing transit-oriented zoning changes around the three commuter rail stations, which were adopted in 2014.
In 2015, Bewtra began work on Melrose Forward: A Community Vision and Master Plan. This work has given her insight into the city’s assets, competitive advantages, and challenges. She learned that Melrose is a small city that does a lot with a little. Bewtra’s experience in local government and specific knowledge of Melrose will give her an understanding of the nuances of the decision-making that the Board of Aldermen oversees, according to her officer bio on the campaign website.
In addition, she is the Vice Chair of the Melrose Human Rights Commission, where she has worked to uphold the city motto “One Community, Open to All.” She has been involved in many of the Commission’s community events and have assisted with the Commission’s social media presence.
She organized a Cultural Proficiency Workshop for the public and the Mayor chose to hire the same trainer to conduct similar workshops for City Hall staff. In 2016, she helped to organize the first Community Iftar dinner during Ramadan. She has hosted families in her home to discuss how to better support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community members. Her voice, informed by her identity as an Indian-American woman and by her training in anti-racism, being an LGBTQ+ ally, and social justice, has added a different perspective to conversations among Commissioners. She knows what it’s like to be a minority and she is also aware of ways in which she is privileged. As an Alderman-At-Large, she will bring this unique perspective to build bridges between people in the community, according to her website.