Biography & Background Experience
- Education: Westfield State College; Katharine Gibbs School Graduate
- Current Employment: City Councillor-at-Large since November 2013; Owner (since 2010) of DDsDressing to benefit the David A. DeMaria Foundation, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit.
- Committees: 2018 Council President;
- Prior Service: Malden Ward 3 School Committee 2012-13;
- Spouse & Children: married to Al for 39 years. Mother of three and grandmother.
- Endorsed by: Our Revolution Malden; Greater Boston Labor Council
- Community: Member of Malden’s Chamber of Commerce
- Volunteer Work: Debbie was awarded Zonta International’s 2016 “Woman Making a Difference” Award (FB – About). She advocated for a Habitat for Humanity build in Malden and volunteered at Malden’s Warming Center (ORM).
- Biggest issues: affordable housing, government transparency, civil rights for all marginalized groups
Policies & Experiences
- Cultural Diversity: “Here we are boasting about how cool we are that we speak 62 languages, well we need to put our money where our mouth is. And I so believe that that I support personally an organization which is now evolved into something else but it was wonderful Community’n’Unity, Malden CORE. I also believe that our Malden reads … addresses these [issues] through reading and it’s so important that we really need as a community to reflect [on] us as a people. We need to cast our nets out wider with our administration with our schools and with our public officials” (Cal Forum 10/10/19).
- Immigrants: “Being a sanctuary city refers to municipal jurisdiction that does not allow the deportation of immigrants. Having continuous conversation with our Chief of Police, I believe our Malden is a safe harbor. However, I would support the opportunity to become a Sanctuary City” (ORM).
- LGBTQ: “I support LGBTQ personally and professionally. I welcome open lines of communication from this group so I can further help support their needs. I have participated in Community N Unity and MALDENCORE efforts. And, on a lighter note, I proudly wore the PRIDE colors on the floor of the City Council” (ORM).
- Racial Diversity: “Racial and cultural diversity has become the proud new face of our Malden … However this is not reflective with our school educators, our public officials and leaders. This must become a priority. I believe that as attrition moves us forward, we must prioritize this requirement as equally important as qualifications. We need to cast our nets further and do a better job of recruitment” (ORM).
- Charter Review: Ms. DeMaria is the Vice Chair of the Charter Review Committee. “All meetings are open. We do post them on the website. We have done a quick overview of what we want to discuss, and then we’re taking, you know, a couple at a time. It’s a bi-monthly schedule, and then we’ll re-review it again” (MT 2/16/19)
- Citizen Engagement: Ms. DeMaria is Chair of the Citizen Engagement Committee; she worked to establish that “CPA Committee would be resident-driven, as intended by Malden’s voters in the 2015 referendum” (FB – About).
- Governmental Transparency: “I am blown away with the dedication of residents that attend meetings, donating their time and talent to film … I also support the translation of our meetings in multi-languages as well as for those hearing impaired … I am happy to see we now approve minutes at the next scheduled appropriate meeting” (NV 9/24/19).
- Language Barriers: Ms. DeMaria and David Camell co-sponsored a resolve to have City Council meetings translated to Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese. They “selected these three languages as the first step, because census data shows about 7 percent of Malden residents who speak languages from Asia or the Pacific Islands do not speak English proficiently or at all” (Sampan 9/27/19).
- Public Comment: “I have always supported transparency, as proven by my advocating and sponsoring “Public Comment” at City Council Meetings. This has opened the door for dialog and has given all a voice while embracing the needs of our busy community” (NV 9/24/19).
- Vaping: Ms. DeMaria proposed an order (which passed unanimously) to post signs against smoking & vaping in schools, public buildings, and parks (MNN 9/4/19).
- Voter Turnout: “I supported the VOTE16 Ordinance on the floor. I believe the earlier we engage our young adults, the better and smarter our future will be” (MVQ).
- Affordable Housing: “Three years ago, I co-sponsored a paper supporting Affordable Housing and Inclusionary Zoning. It made it to a joint Planning Board/Ordinance Committee, but never took flight … I continue to support this and will move forward with additional education and a new proposal” (MVQ).
- Cannabis: “In my Council President Inauguration Speech, I vowed to support the idea of cannabis dispensaries. I formed a specific committee to identify zoning and they are presently vetting new business opportunities for Malden … A percentage should go for drug addiction education first and foremost” (MVQ).
- Environment: “This year I chose fighting side by side with the students of MVRCS and Beebe School as we passed an Ordinance to eliminate plastic bags. On January 1, 2020 Malden will no longer offer plastic bags in our retail stores” (MVQ).
- Environment: “I think global warming is here and we can’t ignore it anymore. For Malden, I am all about solar and LED and doing as much as we can for our public buildings” (CaL Forum 8/27/19).
- Lead pipes: “Our Mayor eagerly took on this daunting, but most important task of identifying and replacing lead pipes … A ward-based approach was brought forth, but that did not help expedite the need to replace the older pipes in the City that was truly the needed priority. Finally last year, through the collaborative effort of the Engineering, Treasurer and Controller Departments; and Ron Hogan, a structured plan was put into place. I am sure that as we move forward with this plan, continuous review can yield to a more aggressive approach to improving more pipes and roads through creative financing” (ORM).
- Tax Revenue: “We now have revenues coming in from our newly formed Parking Department. We have expected revenues from our new Malden business dispensaries … we must continue to air on the conservative side as we pass annual budgets” (MVQ).
- Wages: Supports a minimum $15/hour wage for any city employee, including teachers (ORM).
- Malden Hospital: “An 18-acre parcel of land is certainly big enough to offer many opportunities. The historic value of Malden Hospital and Fellsmere Park and Pond is the starting point to which we build our ideas. I believe any residency should be limited to a small development. Size will affect our traffic, public services and schools; so we must be mindful. I believe there should be a 55+ component. I’d also opt for some sort of medical facility there. Malden is in such need for a healthcare facility” (MVQ).
- Malden River: “As Council President, I continued the work of the Malden River sub-committee … Let’s mandate those businesses on the River to take responsibility of their shoreline. We must prioritize more enforcement and encourage ownership. I’d simply love to see a walkway or promenade there. Creating guidelines within an overlay would certainly emphasize what we want there, or don’t want there. I’d support that. Also, the DPW facility needs to be moved to a less desirable location” (NV 10/1/19).
- Roosevelt Park: “As stated on City Council with my initial vote, I am supportive of this project with the caveat that an organic component is used. I remain true to that vote. And furthermore I am disappointed with the lack of public process for those families of Salemwood School. For that, I personally apologize. Doing just OK is not OK. We need to do better” (MNN 5/29/19).
- Table Tennis: “I actually lived through that. It was very controversial and we actually brought in restorative justice people and I know the Director of the Senior Center was very concerned with it. As a past board member of Chinese Culture Connection, I so support table tennis … there was an active community that enjoyed that [at the Senior Center] and because of our moving all our meetings here we did have to adjust it … I think we do have to revisit that and revisit finding a home for the active seniors in our community because it is a great sport” (CaL Forum 10/10/19).
- Buses: “I am definitely supportive of school buses. I think if we were to fund that and bring that back I believe we’d have less cars on the road and less traffic. I also believe in neighborhood schools so right now we have people that live in Forestdale their children go to Linden because that’s where they were assigned – or you know Ferryway” (CaL Forum 10/10/19).
- Charter Schools: “While it seems to be a success from the outside looking in, my biggest question centers around the funding mechanism equality. I believe this clearly has been draining our public school funding and has not proven to been replenished. Is this fair? The state seems to be dragging their feet on regulation reform and that has allowed, legally, the growth of our Mystic Valley Regional Charter School. Are you aware that MVRCS owns $31 million of property in Malden, tax exempt?” (ORM).
- Diverse Staffing: “I support a plan to build on our educational needs; i.e. more qualified diverse teachers that reflect our student population as well as a plan to address our enrollment growth” (MVQ).
- Student Opportunity Act: “For me, the most important thing is class size. I believe that if we have, you know, one teacher and maybe one [paraprofessional], there’s 27, 28, 29 children in a classroom, I just can’t even imagine how they teach with that size so [Also, librarians are a] valuable and important role for our students and, of course, you know, that’s the love of reading as well so that’s what I believe in his class size and librarians, those would be my two top choices” (CaL Forum 10/10/19).
- Students & Transit: “I think we should improve our crosswalks and we should add more crossing guards to our staff. There is absolutely nothing more important to me than the safety of our residents and the safety of our children. We do need to wrap ourselves around that with financing and with working with the school department and the school committee to move that forward” (Cal Forum 10/10/19).
- Parking: “meters were installed in the Center and that seems to be going great. The cost is minimal, cars are not parked there all day, and best of all, there are spots to park because of the two-hour limit … And, there is NO cost for resident parking planned” (MVQ).
- Roads: “What happened is the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) mandated us to replace our old, hundred-year-old lead pipes. In some cases, the roads were done we had to reopen those roads again … They have mandated us to do 150 replacements per year. Since 2017, the city of Malden (under the administration) has accomplished 647 completion of lead pipes and there’s still more to do … so with that replacement comes the refurbishing of our roads. It’s an old city and I truly am grateful for the patience that our residents have. I do believe we are on the right course with our roads and our potholes and the DPW has also accomplished over 5,000 SeeClickFix [complaints], many of which were potholes so I think we’ve got it under control right now” (CaL Forum 10/10/19).
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