Roche is running for Ward 1

Brian Roche

CAMBRIDGE — Cambridge native Brian Roche has announced that he is running for Cambridge City Council, Ward One, the position currently held by retiring Commissioner Steve Rideout.

Mr. Roche was raised in the West End of the city and lived on Willis Street. He graduated from Cambridge-South Dorchester High School in 1991, where he was Junior and Senior Class President.

In 1995, he received his Bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College where he majored in Biology and Environmental Studies. He was later accepted into the Master’s degree program for Information Systems at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where he completed coursework while beginning his career in technology.

Immediately after college, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he was selected for a fellowship at the National Arboretum. Mr. Roche began his technology career in Philadelphia while pursuing his Master’s coursework. After nine years working for a large corporation in that city, he moved back to Cambridge to assist in revitalization efforts of Sailwinds Park.

“Recognizing the need for Internet access in rural areas, he jumped at the opportunity to leverage his expertise and join his current employer, based in Cambridge, to expand broadband throughout the Eastern Shore,” a statement from Mr. Roche’s campaign said. “Those efforts have paid off exponentially as Mr. Roche was appointed by the governor to the state-wide task force that is responsible for removing restrictions preventing electric cooperatives from providing broadband and creating a financing mechanism within the Department of Housing to assist companies in building county-wide broadband networks.”

The statement said Mr. Roche’s passion is to enable Cambridge to thrive and that he believes strongly in community-driven decisions.
He participated in the Waterfront 2020, RUDAT, and Comprehensive Plan. He served on the Economic Development Subcommittee, which had measurable success pushing for tax incentives, purchasing a new street sweeper, revitalizing gateways, implementing traffic studies, creating Route 50 design standards and researching housing issues.
He serves on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, which is responsible for the redevelopment of the Phillips Packing House, Smokestacks, Cannery Park, and Cambridge’s first Rails-to-Trails. He is founder and president of the Choptank Heritage Trail that advocates for safe streets, trails, and sidewalks and has successfully worked with local government and nonprofits to bring real change to Cambridge.

He has been recognized by both Cambridge Main Street and the Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce as volunteer of the year. As chair of the Main Street Clean Safe and Green team, he led efforts on the collaboration of the public-private partnership among Main Street, the City, and the property owner to secure EPA and Chesapeake Bay Trust financing for a new parking design.

At a Race Street business’s parking lot, “the owner was going to invest $20,000 in blacktop and we were able to secure grant funding through the Chesapeake Bay Trust resulting in $120,000 investment which allowed for the permeable brick paving instead of just blacktop, landscaping, drainage improvements, and creating a pedestrian right of way to the rear city parking areas,” Mr. Roche wrote in a statement to the Banner. “This should serve as a model for future public-private partnerships to improve parking and water quality in the downtown area.”

“It’s this type of big-picture thinking and unique ability to bring multiple partners together that separates Brian Roche from the other candidates,” the statement said. “He has a strong reputation for not just planning, but most importantly taking action and completing multiple initiatives we all benefit from today.”

In recent weeks, increased attention has focused on poor housing conditions in Cambridge. Asked by the Banner for his views on the topic, Mr. Roche responded, “The Economic Development Strategic Planning Committee commissioned a plan from Sage Policy Group which interviewed stakeholders and made policy recommendations on understanding and improving housing conditions in Cambridge. One of the recommendations was removing the excise tax on housing improvements within the city limits and another was to incentivize investment by offering a property tax break to those 55 and older. Also, removing barriers to effective code enforcement and the county handling tax sales to streamline the process of getting the properties back on the tax roles. We also interviewed a multitude of stakeholders to better understand their challenges in providing quality housing with Cambridge.”

Mr. Roche said, “It will be an honor to represent the citizens of Ward One. My accomplishments have prepared me to take the next step, which is to be elected to city leadership. Let’s work together to put these citizen-driven plans into action.” His campaign motto is “Together we thrive.” For information, visit togetherwethrivecambridge.com.