Progressive Coalition of Amherst Announces Endorsements for Town Council, School Committee Races


Oct. 4, 2021

The Progressive Coalition of Amherst (PCA), a new political action committee working toward a more inclusive local democracy, is pleased to announce its first endorsements for Amherst Town  Council and Amherst School Committee, following a careful review process. Candidates seeking PCA’s endorsement were  required to complete a questionnaire about critical issues including public health and safety,  emergency services, capital spending and borrowing, housing, development, equity, and social  justice. When applicable, a candidate’s prior public service and voting record were considered, to  determine if they would be invited for an interview. After an endorsement by PCA was offered,  each candidate had to confirm their acceptance.  

After careful consideration, PCA has endorsed for Councilor At-Large: Vira Douangmany Cage,  Ellisha Walker, and Vincent O’Connor; for District 3 Councilor: Jennifer Taub and  Dorothy Pam; for District 4 Councilor: Anika Lopes*. PCA did not endorse candidates in the  uncontested Town Council races, in Districts 1, 2 and 5 and notes that the majority of registered  voters in town will have no meaningful choice about who represents them as District Councilors.  PCA has endorsed Jennifer Page, Phoebe Merriam, and Benjamin Herrington for School  Committee. In addition, Heather Lord and Pamela Rooney have chosen to run as independent  candidates for School Committee and Councilor in District 4.  

*Anika Lopes has chosen to accept an endorsement from the other political action committee in town as well.

“The PCA Board, after studying several completed questionnaires, was struck by the passion and  commitment that these progressive candidates displayed towards the goal of improving the lives  of all community members,” stated PCA Chairwoman Pat Ononibaku. “We believe that these  individuals can help revitalize Amherst as a democratic, welcoming and equitable community for  all residents.” 

Ononibaku said that once elected, these progressive candidates will be strong advocates for the  public, by fighting to assure that Town Council plans and proceedings are fully transparent, that  all voices are heard, and that the Council is responsive to the public input it receives.  

“These candidates will also initiate needed steps by the Town government to attract locally owned shops and restaurants to Amherst, and to preserve existing ones. They will fight for social  justice issues and housing development which is appropriate for our Town and provides the  affordable homes and apartments that our local families need,” Ononibaku stated.  

PCA’s Executive Board endorsed only candidates who sought its endorsement, and then later  accepted it in writing. “We feel that this process, in which candidates affirm their wish to be  endorsed, is the right thing to do,” Ononibaku said, noting that another political action committee  recently endorsed a slate of candidates, including some BIPOC individuals, who were not  consulted or asked for their consent.  

Ononibaku urged Amherst residents who have not done so to check their voter registration status  immediately at My Voter Registration, and be sure they are registered by Weds., Oct. 13, the last  day to register to vote in the Nov. 2 local election. Additional voting information, including  Amherst precincts, can be found here.

(For more information about PCA, visit


One thought on “Progressive Coalition of Amherst Announces Endorsements for Town Council, School Committee Races

  1. This is great.
    I’d like to see the platform developed further. The statement gives me promise.
    The ‘candidate list’ makes a statement I can use.
    Now one can speak to others abt details, agreements/disagreements, etc.
    This makes things less etheric, more solid. A place to start…
    Thank you~
    – -Chad
    P9, D4


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