• Affordable and multifamily housing • Transforming public safety • Municipal broadband •
• A flourishing tree canopy • Free or reduced bus fares •
• Better sidewalks, bike paths, and bus lanes • Fighting for a better MBTA •
• Tenants' right to legal counsel • Universal PreK & Day Care • Gear for EMTs and Firefighters •
Growing up, Burhan shared a three-bedroom house with eleven people. He has been racially profiled by the police and also worked with them as an EMT. He understands the complexity of the issues we face and the bold action we need.
We are building comprehensive plans to tackle the biggest issues in the city.
After all, if we don’t lead, who will?
For my first few years in America, I lived in a three-bedroom household with eleven people. It was awful. The bathroom was crowded. And I didn’t go to school for a long time— I never went to kindergarten—because the landlord didn’t know we were there, and we were afraid of being evicted.
People deserve housing security. During COVID, I founded the nonprofit Abundant Housing MA to address our regional housing crisis. Cambridge must build more transit-oriented housing and pursue development without displacement through tenant protections, restrictions to prevent speculative investment, and a long-term vacancy tax.
This term I wrote the legislation that removed parking minimums citywide, which unnecessarily forced the ⅓ of Cambridge households that don’t own a car to pay hundreds of thousands for parking spaces that went unused. This historic legislation has been recognized as a huge step towards more affordable housing and pushed forward a nationwide movement.
I also wrote the legislation to expand the affordable housing overlay and build much-needed housing in the city. It’s not yet passed and the conversation is tough but it’s the top issue in the city and we need to make progress. Next time, we need to tackle the legacy of racist policies that led to our current zoning, end exclusionary zoning, and allow multifamily housing citywide.
Housing policy is climate policy. We need to build more, greener housing without sacrificing the essence of Cambridge. Our city must remain walkable and transit-based—a model of sustainability.
I will not accept donations from any developers.
Climate & The Environment
At MIT, I was a material science major, and my main area of study was climate change. My research involved building solar panels and batteries. I’ve also become a biker and pescatarian.
We are far too optimistic when we talk about climate change. We aspire towards a 1.5°C temperature rise instead of 2°C, hoping that this might allow some island nations to survive. This is wishful thinking.
We can prevent this climate crisis if we act now and fight for transformative change. Here in Cambridge, we are the most progressive, prosperous, scientific, and resourceful community in the Commonwealth. Progress can and should start with us.
As such I’m pushing hard on making Cambridge a net-zero city. This term, we passed three historic pieces of legislation: the net-zero stretch code - requiring new buildings to be net-zero ready, embodied emissions - tracking the emissions during construction, and BEUDO - mandating large buildings have to be net-zero by 2035 and will cut the city’s emissions in half.
Universal Pre-K & Afterschool
Early education provides lifelong benefits to young kids: language, literacy, and math skills. It’s a time for kids to play and form friendships from a young age and for parents, it’s their biggest expense after housing. I’ve been working to Cambridge enact universal pre-K (in 2024!) and expand after-school.
Right now, the city has a patchwork of options and a complex lottery system that leaves children behind.
There are several issues.
There are only enough spots for 50 percent of applicants, and so many children are left behind and can’t attend after-school.
The lottery is complex and leaves many parents confused.
The results come back so late that parents have already felt compelled to enroll in a private option.
It’s time we fixed these issues and provided universal access to everyone both for kids and parents – and women in particular – who have made the difficult decision to step back from their careers to care for their children. We owe it to these kids and their parents to provide afterschool and pre-K for every single child.
I’ve worked to add 170 seats this term and get us to 64%. I’ll finish the work next term to get to 100% next term.
My immigrant parents taught me early on to trust the police. But when I turned 16, I started getting pulled over for reasons that never held up in court. Then Eric Garner was killed near my dad’s deli. It left a mark on me—I decided I would never wear a hoodie again.
As an EMT ambulance worker while at MIT, I’ve also worked with the police and I got to know Cambridge from the inside of an ambulance.
In January of this year, Arif Sayeed Faisal was shot and killed by Cambridge Police officers. It was a mental health call gone awry and a situation we should stop from ending like this again.
First, I prioritize reducing interactions with the police whenever possible. I wrote legislation pushing automatic enforcement and supported both a Community Safety Department and HEART, which will allow social workers to respond to non-violent 911 calls.
In situations where it becomes necessary to involve armed officers, I have pushed to equip them with less-lethal weaponry, such as teasers, which could have potentially prevented the shooting.
We also need accountability. We’ll soon have body cameras on all officers in Cambridge. We’re having Police Executive Research Forum review our policies and recommend changes to our policing methods and we have established a procedural justice dashboard to track interactions with the police.
I know that it’s hard to get where you need to go. Our cyclists don’t feel safe on our roads. Pedestrian deaths are up across the country. Our mass transit is deteriorating—literally on fire. We need to rethink the way we invest in our infrastructure. We should be leading on these issues, not letting our neighbors, Somerville & Boston, leave us behind.
We need frequent and affordable bus service. I’ve worked with the MBTA on a bus network redesign to increase the frequency of buses across the region and have been leading the charge with Michelle Wu in Boston to implement a fare-free 1 bus.
We also need to fix the T and to do that we need municipal control over the MBTA. Most of the state doesn’t use the trains and we need the lawmakers who care about the outcomes.
We also need more service overall. I’ve pushed for train service along the Grand Junction Path, connecting West Station to Cambridge Port, East Cambridge, and North Station.
We also need safer pedestrian spaces, more bump-outs, raised sidewalks, and pedestrianized areas - maybe even Harvard Square.
I am a supporter of bike lanes, Cambridge Bike Safety and their pledge.