Amy Sangiolo pledges to make Newton accessible, welcoming

Amy Mah Sangiolo, Newton city councilor-at-large for Ward 4, wants to be Newton’s next mayor. An attorney, she ran against two city council incumbents in 1997 and won by 12 votes.

“Every vote matters,” Sangiolo said. “You have rights and your voice really does deserve to be heard. You have a stake in this community.”

Mayor Setti Warren announced last year he would not run for a third term. Sangiolo is running against Ward 7 councilor at-large Ruthanne Fuller and Ward 1 councilor at-large Scott Lennon.

“Government is here to serve the people. I want to make sure everyone’s best interests are served,” Sangiolo said. Her priorities are making city government accessible, leading in education and the environment, creating housing opportunities for all, and making all residents feel welcome and safe.

Former Ward 3 councilor at-large Greer Tan Swiston has known Sangiolo for 15 years through the Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association. While the two differ politically, Swiston admired Sangiolo for her responsiveness to residents and looked up to her as a role model.

“She’s very open-minded and that’s what I like about her” Swiston said. “Regardless of her personal views, she’s willing to listen.”

Ward 3 councilor at-large Jim Cote, who was elected in 2013 to Swiston’s vacated seat, has seen Sangiolo put residents first.

“Amy brings personality and personal service to the job,” Cote said. “If you call her up and have a concern about your neighborhood, she’ll be concerned.”

Sangiolo is married to John Sangiolo and has three children: George, Midori and Joseph. Her 91-year-old mother is Japanese and lives with her, while her late father was an American-born Chinese veteran. The Sangiolos have lived in Newton for 22 years.

“My parents instilled in me a sense of hard work and the importance of taking care of family. Family is all inclusive, as people who come into your life can be family,” Sangiolo said. “And you always look out for each other.”

Swiston described Newton as a city combining urban convenience and suburban luxury, featuring public transit options not far from mansions. She felt Sangiolo could speak to Newton’s affluent and blue-collar residents, as a highly educated woman and community advocate.

Cote agreed, adding Sangiolo stands against displacement and gentrification. “Amy brings the perspective that she’s worried about the people who live in Newton. Some city councilors get enthralled by big-time developers.”

Sangiolo wants a comprehensive vision for city development, which is inclusive of current residents and historic preservation. She would also support Newton’s city government to have a welcome kit for newcomers, offered in some villages, similar to Boston’s Office for Immigrant Advancement.

“Given my record for neighborhoods, affordable housing and environmental issues, I’m a strong advocate. I want to be a vital part of shaping Newton’s future,” Sangiolo said.