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Preliminary election will narrow field in Newton’s Ward 5

From left, Newton Ward 5 city councilor candidates Kathryn K. Winters, Rena L. Getz, and William Humphrey are running in a Sept. 10 preliminary election.From left, photos courtesy of Diane Brophy, Julia Malakie, and the Humphrey Committee

Newton voters in Waban and Upper Falls head to the polls for a preliminary election Tuesday to cast ballots among three candidates running for an open ward seat on the City Council.

The candidates — Waban residents Rena L. Getz, Kathryn K. Winters, and William Humphrey — are competing to replace Ward 5 City Councilor John Rice, who is not running for reelection.

The two candidates with the most votes on Sept. 10 will appear on the Nov. 5 municipal election ballot, along with candidates for other ward and at-large City Council posts and the School Committee.

Only Ward 5 voters cast ballots for their ward councilor; the winner in the November election will represent the villages on the City Council.


Getz was born in Spain and graduated from high school in Bethesda, Md. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry at the University of New Mexico and completed her PhD coursework in neuroscience at George Washington University.

Now 61, she is married with three children and has spent her career as a research scientist, including at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is a founding member and vice president of the Waban Area Council.

Getz said the city must encourage younger people to move to Newton by increasing the number of small dwelling units and promote the creation of 100 percent affordable housing developments. She would also seek additional funds for senior services, and would prioritize expanded programs for seniors over building a new facility.

“I’m very committed to the city,” Getz said. “I feel I can make a difference; I’ve got the knowledge base, and I’m pretty passionate about it.”

Humphrey, 28, is a graduate of Newton South High School who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Delaware. He worked for five years as senior editor of The Globalist, a public policy website.


As a city councilor, he wants Newton to take action that directly affects the environment, such as implementing rules for proposed developments that reduce or eliminate the use of fossil fuels such as natural gas.

Newton must also do more to create affordable housing in the city, such as promoting condos for seniors who downsize their homes and finding new ways to diversify its housing stock, he said.

“There’s a lot of these issues like the housing crisis, like the environmental crisis, where the younger generation is directly affected by it and has a very specific perspective on it,” he said. “And certainly a lot of older voters also share the same perspective. But having a slightly different voice on the council . . . I think could be really beneficial.”

Winters, 49, is originally from Burnt Hills, N.Y. A graduate of Boston College and Georgetown University Law Center, she is a tax attorney who has done pro-bono work for nonprofits. She has lived in Newton for 19 years with her husband and four children, and is president of the Waban Area Council.

Winters said she would prioritize getting more money for street repairs, and take local action to help address climate change, such as encouraging the retrofitting of existing buildings with more energy-efficient systems.

The city must also do more to encourage affordable housing, she said.

“Through my work on the Waban Area Council, I’ve come to appreciate how important city government is in our everyday lives,” Winters said. She’s running for office because “I decided I wanted to step up, get involved, and be part of the process of moving Newton forward.”


John Hilliard can be reached at