Denise Simmons

Cambridge City Council


Denise was the first Black, openly lesbian mayor in the country


E. Denise Simmons is currently serving her ninth term on the Cambridge City Council, and has served two terms as Mayor of Cambridge. Denise has spent the past four decades working to better her community – first as the Executive Director of the Cambridge Civic Unity Committee in the 1980s, as a member of the Cambridge School Committee in the 1990s, and since 2002, as a member of the Cambridge City Council. In 2008, Denise drew national attention when she became the nation’s first Black, openly lesbian mayor (and the first Black female mayor in Massachusetts). She again served as mayor in the 2016-2017 term, and in her current term as City Councilor, she continues striving to make City Hall more responsive to the community by holding weekly walk-in hours for constituents, by holding Town Hall style meetings and by continually striving to make municipal government more transparent and more responsive to a wider swath of the community. She is a champion of preserving the City’s stock of affordable housing, and remains committed to serving as a voice for the otherwise voiceless, ensuring that they have a champion inside City Hall.

Importance of Candidacy:

  • Denise was the first Black, openly lesbian mayor in the country.
  • She was the first Black woman mayor in Massachusetts.

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