headshot of candidate

Sumbul Siddiqui

She/Her

Currently
City Councillor
Also
Attorney in Legal Aid
Election history
3rd term in office, currently Mayor

More about Sumbul Siddiqui

Sumbul Siddiqui's family immigrated to the United States from Pakistan when she was 2, and they moved to Cambridge when they got a lottery spot in Cambridge's affordable housing system. She is a graduate of CRLS, Brown University, and Northwestern.

While attending CRLS, she co-founded the Cambridge Youth Council (then the Cambridge Youth Involvement Subcommittee), a way for students to engage with city government and policy.

In addition to serving on the council, she is an Attorney at Northeast Legal Aid, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance. Prior to her election, she was on the board of the Cambridge School Volunteers and was a member of Cambridge's Human Services Commission.

She and Alanna Mallon have been producing a podcast together since January 2018.

Incumbent
Yes
Education
  • HS, Cambridge Rindge & Latin
  • BA, Brown University
  • JD, Northwestern University
Age
36 years, 3 months
Born in Karachi, Pakistan (moved to Cambridge at age 2) in 1988
Voting
Reg. June 6, 2006
History
  • 🗳️ 2022 General
  • 🗳️ 2022 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2021 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2020 General
  • 🗳️ 2020 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2020 Presidental Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2019 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2018 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2018 General
  • 🗳️ 2017 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2016 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2016 General
  • 🗳️ 2016 Presidental Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2015 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2014 General
  • 🗳️ 2014 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2012 General

Where Sumbul Lives

Address
Owns at 283 Sidney St. #3
Valued at approx. $673,000
Last sold Nov. 2, 2018 for $460,000
inflation adjusted approx. $560,000

Sumbul on Housing

Proposal Supported?
AHO #3
2072 Mass Ave
AHO #2
AHO #1
+$20mil Housing Trust
10% Budget for Housing
NCD Reform

In general, Sumbul supports more and denser housing, especially subsidized/affordable housing.

We have a housing and climate crisis. I don’t believe because we are adding more density, our neighborhoods are less livable. We can be thoughtful about how we plan for greater density city-wide. There was an article by Brookings Institute titled “We can’t beat the climate crisis without rethinking land use.” .... If more housing in Cambridge is achieved by relaxing exclusionary zoning laws and prioritizing high-density housing development, it will have a vast positive impact on the environment.

Sumbul Siddiqui, ABC Survey 2023

In September 2019, I voted in favor of the Sullivan Courthouse project and requested that additional affordable housing units be added along with more money to the affordable housing trust. Leggat McCall won the right to redevelop the Sullivan Courthouse in late 2012 but there were various legal battles. I was considered a swing vote. I spent many hours meeting with residents on each side of the issue, and ultimately, I felt that there had been enough process and that another many years of litigation would be a disservice to members of the community, and that getting more affordable housing from the project was the best choice. Although it may upset certain voters, I know the necessity and importance of affordable housing in Cambridge; it is not only a choice of mine to continue fighting for it but a duty in order to ensure equity of our city.

Sumbul Siddiqui, ABC Survey 2021

There is extensive research that shows small-scale multi-family housing like triple-deckers, four-plexes, and six-plexes can improve affordability.

Sumbul on Other Issues

Proposal Supported?
BEUD(ER)O
Sa/Su Car-free Mem Drive
Delay Mass Ave Bike Lanes
Remove Wires Before Bike Lane
CSO #2
CSO #1
Release Use-of-Force Names
No Parking Min.
Automated/Unarmed Traffic Enforcement
HEART Funding

Endorsements for Sumbul

Organization Cambridge? Union? View
Cambridge Residents Alliance on Sept. 30, 2023
A Better Cambridge on Sept. 15, 2023
Cambridge Bicycle Safety on Sept. 23, 2023
Massachusetts Sierra Club this cycle
Greater Boston Labor Council this cycle
UAW Region 9A (includes Harvard Grad Student Union) this cycle

View on their site »

Q&A

Interviews with Sumbul

Cambridge Bike Safety Pledge 2023

They asked candidates to sign a pledge, which starts: "I support rapid implementation of the citywide network of protected bicycle lanes..."

Cambridge Bike Safety Pledge 2023

They asked candidates to sign a pledge, which starts: "I support rapid implementation of the citywide network of protected bicycle lanes..."

ABC Candidate Questionnaire 2023

Housing policy, development, governance questions

ABC Candidate Questionnaire 2023

Housing policy, development, governance questions

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Distribution of funds, non-profits and their position in Cambridge

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Distribution of funds, non-profits and their position in Cambridge

CEOC Questionnaire 2023

"questions about the issues that most impact Cambridge’s low-income populations" (available in several languages)

CEOC Questionnaire 2023

"questions about the issues that most impact Cambridge’s low-income populations" (available in several languages)

Quotes by or about Sumbul

Also, we have to have more diversity on the council. I think it’s very important that we have more women, and that we have more women of color. I think someone who is a qualified public attorney who happens to be a Muslim woman of color, you talk the talk for diversity and all that stuff, but this is a time that we can actually make it happen.

Press

Articles about or by Sumbul

Boston Globe Aides to Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui of Cambridge allege toxic workplace behavior

In interviews over the last six months, they said Siddiqui undermined their self-esteem and jeopardized their future job prospects, behavior they say prompted people to leave her employment under difficult circumstances. The aides — half of whom are women of color, and most of whom are no longer directly involved in Cambridge politics — described experiences including the mayor berating them for small mistakes such as typos, commenting on their bodies, and denigrating them to other colleagues. Four of the employees also alleged Siddiqui retaliated against them when they accepted new jobs or sought to leave her office.

Six of the eight employees asked to speak anonymously for fear the mayor would hinder their careers or credibility.

Oct. 16, 2023 — Diti Kohli, Emma Platoff
Boston Globe Aides to Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui of Cambridge allege toxic workplace behavior

In interviews over the last six months, they said Siddiqui undermined their self-esteem and jeopardized their future job prospects, behavior they say prompted people to leave her employment under difficult circumstances. The aides — half of whom are women of color, and most of whom are no longer directly involved in Cambridge politics — described experiences including the mayor berating them for small mistakes such as typos, commenting on their bodies, and denigrating them to other colleagues. Four of the employees also alleged Siddiqui retaliated against them when they accepted new jobs or sought to leave her office.

Six of the eight employees asked to speak anonymously for fear the mayor would hinder their careers or credibility.

Oct. 16, 2023 — Diti Kohli, Emma Platoff
The Harvard Crimson Siddiqui, in Third Bid for Cambridge Council Reelection, Pledges ‘Community Resiliency’ and Affordable Housing

Siddiqui’s first term as mayor was mostly spent guiding Cambridge through the pandemic. During that term, Siddiqui helped forge an agreement to preserve more than 500 units of affordable housing at Fresh Pond Apartments.

She also established a guaranteed income pilot program, which gave eligible, low-income families $500, no-strings-attached monthly payments for 18 months. The pilot program became a full-fledged program in 2023 with the launch of Rise Up Cambridge during her second term as mayor.

Sept. 22, 2023 — Jina H. Choe
The Harvard Crimson Siddiqui, in Third Bid for Cambridge Council Reelection, Pledges ‘Community Resiliency’ and Affordable Housing

Siddiqui’s first term as mayor was mostly spent guiding Cambridge through the pandemic. During that term, Siddiqui helped forge an agreement to preserve more than 500 units of affordable housing at Fresh Pond Apartments.

She also established a guaranteed income pilot program, which gave eligible, low-income families $500, no-strings-attached monthly payments for 18 months. The pilot program became a full-fledged program in 2023 with the launch of Rise Up Cambridge during her second term as mayor.

Sept. 22, 2023 — Jina H. Choe
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui Seeks Reelection

As mayor, she helped forge an agreement between the city and the Rindge Associates Limited Partnership to preserve 504 units of affordable housing at Fresh Pond Apartments. Siddiqui listed the agreement — announced on Oct. 13 — as one of her most significant accomplishments.

Siddiqui said she is also proud of her role in leading Cambridge through the pandemic.

Oct. 27, 2021 — Rohan Rajeev, Sophia C. Scott
The Harvard Crimson Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui Seeks Reelection

As mayor, she helped forge an agreement between the city and the Rindge Associates Limited Partnership to preserve 504 units of affordable housing at Fresh Pond Apartments. Siddiqui listed the agreement — announced on Oct. 13 — as one of her most significant accomplishments.

Siddiqui said she is also proud of her role in leading Cambridge through the pandemic.

Oct. 27, 2021 — Rohan Rajeev, Sophia C. Scott
The Harvard Crimson Incumbent City Council Candidates Focus on Housing Crisis, Voter Engagement in Reelection Campaigns

Previously, the council put forth policies in an attempt to make housing more affordable. Siddiqui discussed the recent preservation of 504 units in the Rindge Towers — an affordable housing complex — which were at risk of being priced at market rate.

Oct. 21, 2021 — Sarah Girma, Jennifer L. Powley
The Harvard Crimson Incumbent City Council Candidates Focus on Housing Crisis, Voter Engagement in Reelection Campaigns

Previously, the council put forth policies in an attempt to make housing more affordable. Siddiqui discussed the recent preservation of 504 units in the Rindge Towers — an affordable housing complex — which were at risk of being priced at market rate.

Oct. 21, 2021 — Sarah Girma, Jennifer L. Powley
Wicked Local Cambridge Cambridge councilors write in support of 2072 Mass. Ave. affordable housing project

In short, this building is everything we’ve stated we want as a city: affordable, family-sized homes that are transit oriented, on a major retail corridor, beautifully designed, and environmentally sustainable. This is a project that meets all the city’s major goals, and it should be applauded.

May 17, 2021 — Sumbul Siddiqui, Alanna Mallon, Denise Summons, Marc McGovern
Wicked Local Cambridge Cambridge councilors write in support of 2072 Mass. Ave. affordable housing project

In short, this building is everything we’ve stated we want as a city: affordable, family-sized homes that are transit oriented, on a major retail corridor, beautifully designed, and environmentally sustainable. This is a project that meets all the city’s major goals, and it should be applauded.

May 17, 2021 — Sumbul Siddiqui, Alanna Mallon, Denise Summons, Marc McGovern
Commonwealth Magazine Support black-owned cannabis shop in Harvard Square

We must act to undo decades of damage caused by the War on Drugs and play a proactive role in supporting minority-owned businesses in Cambridge by taking steps to fuel their success and swell their ranks. As Cambridge officials, we urge you to join us in supporting the project by speaking during public comment periods in upcoming hearings and/or emailing the Planning Board.

Feb. 27, 2021 — Sumbul Siddiqui, Alanna Mallon, Quinton Zondervan, Marc McGovern
Commonwealth Magazine Support black-owned cannabis shop in Harvard Square

We must act to undo decades of damage caused by the War on Drugs and play a proactive role in supporting minority-owned businesses in Cambridge by taking steps to fuel their success and swell their ranks. As Cambridge officials, we urge you to join us in supporting the project by speaking during public comment periods in upcoming hearings and/or emailing the Planning Board.

Feb. 27, 2021 — Sumbul Siddiqui, Alanna Mallon, Quinton Zondervan, Marc McGovern
The Boston Globe Local elections hinge on housing this fall

A first-term Cambridge city councilor, Siddiqui has emerged several times as a swing vote on housing issues, most recently the controversial plan to sell the shuttered Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse in East Cambridge to a developer, for use mainly as an office building. Some in Cambridge wanted to block the deal, saying the public building should be used for affordable housing or something else with public benefits, instead of being turned into pricey office space near Kendall Square.

As a key vote approached last month, Siddiqui was undecided. Two influential groups that had endorsed her two years ago — the Cambridge Residents Alliance and the Bernie Sanders-affiliated Our Revolution Cambridge — told her they would withhold endorsements this time if she supported the project, according to Siddiqui. But she also heard from residents who wanted something to happen with the decaying building, widely decried as an eyesore. So Siddiqui negotiated with the developer to double the amount of affordable housing it would hold — to 48 units — before casting a decisive sixth vote in favor of the plan.

Oct. 28, 2019 — Tim Logan
The Boston Globe Local elections hinge on housing this fall

A first-term Cambridge city councilor, Siddiqui has emerged several times as a swing vote on housing issues, most recently the controversial plan to sell the shuttered Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse in East Cambridge to a developer, for use mainly as an office building. Some in Cambridge wanted to block the deal, saying the public building should be used for affordable housing or something else with public benefits, instead of being turned into pricey office space near Kendall Square.

As a key vote approached last month, Siddiqui was undecided. Two influential groups that had endorsed her two years ago — the Cambridge Residents Alliance and the Bernie Sanders-affiliated Our Revolution Cambridge — told her they would withhold endorsements this time if she supported the project, according to Siddiqui. But she also heard from residents who wanted something to happen with the decaying building, widely decried as an eyesore. So Siddiqui negotiated with the developer to double the amount of affordable housing it would hold — to 48 units — before casting a decisive sixth vote in favor of the plan.

Oct. 28, 2019 — Tim Logan
The Boston Globe Cambridge has temporarily banished ‘Big Cannabis.’ Up next: lawsuits

Siddiqui said she believes Cambridge will be able to mount a strong defense against any lawsuits, noting that cannabis commission guidance recommends prioritizing empowerment applicants.

“This is something I’m willing to get sued on,” she said. “This industry comes with an ugly history of racial oppression that needs to be addressed.”

Sept. 23, 2019 — Dan Adams
The Boston Globe Cambridge has temporarily banished ‘Big Cannabis.’ Up next: lawsuits

Siddiqui said she believes Cambridge will be able to mount a strong defense against any lawsuits, noting that cannabis commission guidance recommends prioritizing empowerment applicants.

“This is something I’m willing to get sued on,” she said. “This industry comes with an ugly history of racial oppression that needs to be addressed.”

Sept. 23, 2019 — Dan Adams

Campaign finance

How much Sumbul has raised and spent

$31,139
Current balance
$20,053
Balance at the start of 2023
$32,741
Raised in 2023
$21,655
Spent in 2023