The Board of Health is an elected body that sets policy and regulations related to public health in Belmont. The Board is the oversight authority for the Belmont Health Department. The Board consists of three members who serve overlapping terms.
Three year term (vote for one)
There are two candidates seeking election to the Board of Health. Click on the link to view their survey response:
Julie Lemay (candidate for re-election)
|I’m a candidate for:||Board of Health|
|I am running as a:||Candidate for re-election|
|I am seeking my ___ term in office:||3rd|
|Volunteer & community activities? (optional)||Coached Belmont soccer for my child’s Kindergarten & Grade 1 teams|
Belmont Board of Health (since 2016)
Belmont’s Return to In-Person Learning Committee
Lunch Volunteer (end of 2020-21 school year, start of 2021-22 school year)
|Candidate’s Statement||I have worked hard over the past six years on a broad range of public health issues facing our community: we pushed the Cushing Square developer to respond to environmental contamination issues; we developed regulations to guide adult use marijuana establishments; we addressed various wildlife issues; and we brought back the Youth Commission. Our amazing Health Department Staff and Board work together to assist those in our town by promoting public health and managing disease. Thank you for supporting me on the Board for the past years. I will continue to work hard to give back to my community.|
|Accomplishments||I have spent my most recent term addressing the many challenges and surprises that COVID has brought to our community. This includes contact tracing, and hosting testing clinics and vaccine clinics for teachers, first responders, and Belmont residents.|
In past years, my accomplishments have included:
– improving education and signage for the town’s off-leash dog program;
– addressing environmental contamination issues during development;
– developing regulations to guide adult use marijuana establishments and reviewing plans for such establishments;
– educating Belmont residents on wildlife issues (coyotes, rats, etc);
– bringing back the Youth Commission.
I’m proud of all that we’ve accomplished – we’ve done amazing work to promote public health and manage disease on a tight budget.
|Challenges ahead||The COVID pandemic has changed the focus of the board, and introduced an unusual level of division among residents of Belmont. The last two years have been full of unique and hopefully temporary challenges. Over the new three years, I hope to move back to focusing on the broad public health protection responsibilities that our Board of Health has addressed in the past: hoarding, housing complaints, rodents, food safety (for schools, cafes, and restaurants), tobacco education, and environmental health.|
|Community Health||I can contribute to community health by shifting our focus back to the many health promotion challenges that we were tackling before the COVID pandemic changed our focus.|
• As we head towards summer, we support community health with inspection of ice cream trucks, swimming pools, and day camps.
• As we move into the summer and fall, we support community health by responding to concerns regarding the presence of rats by providing educational materials to help residents identify practices at their properties that might attract rodents.
• Throughout the year, the Board supports community health by tracing communicable diseases, inspecting restaurants within the town, responding to food safety complaints, educating residents about responsible pet ownership through vaccination and restraint laws, helping veterans access needed benefits, and assisting residents to access services needed to maintain healthy and safe homes.
|Campaign Website (optional)||http://www.MarinaforBelmontHealth.com|
|I’m a candidate for:||Board of Health|
|I am running as a:||First-time candidate|
|Volunteer & community activities? (optional)||•Volunteer member currently serving as a technical expert for Healthy Lawns, Sustainable Belmont|
•Currently testing low to no-cost gardening methods so Belmontonians can save on lawn irrigation and fertilizers while greening lawns, feeding pollinators, and reducing flooding risk and damp basements after rainstorms.
|Candidate’s Statement||I’m focused on bringing quality assurance to Belmont by making sure that high-impact health protective regulations are understood, communicated, and current health-protective perspectives are implemented–especially regarding the social determinants of health, environmental health and environmental justice. My vision for our BOH health is broader than vaccine passports and off-leash dog permits. I envision a Board of Health that maintains the high quality services that residents expect and addresses the upstream determinants of our health that provide us with a healthy environment–the air, land, and water.|
With BOH leaders, I will support our health department, add capacity, and assure that health-protective programs remain available. I am a scientist, not a politician and want to do right by my daughter and our community. I have devoted myself to Environmental Health for the last 24 years. I’m a former Environmental Protection Specialist, working for and with the US EPA Region 1-New England and Criminal Justice Specialist, working for the RI Department of Justice on environmental pollution, a current Masters of Public Health candidate at Northeastern University, and long-term advocate of addressing and mitigating climate change and health impacts. I believe in applying my expertise on toxics towards health protective approaches for prevention.
|Challenges ahead||As Belmont continues to seek additional revenue to meet budgetary goals and respond to requests for additional housing, there is a need to make sure that the green and gray infrastructure can handle any subsequent changes or additions. Belmont currently has a 20 million gallon a year sewage and waste problem that has remained unaddressed for the last 20+ years (link: https://savethealewifebrook.org/2022/03/25/late-breaking-news-1907-board-of-health-decries-sewage-unsanitary-in-alewife-brook/).|
In addition to Belmont’s combined sewers and stormwater overflows and the flood risk that affects at least 300 Belmont homes, as you may have read about in the Belmont Citizens Forum (link: https://www.belmontcitizensforum.org/?s=health&searchsubmit=), there are additional health concerns in the environment related to our climate goals that with thoughtful, dedicated, and empowered collaboration and leadership we can take real steps to empower people to address and mitigate hazards in our environment like waste, pollution, and noise that affects our health. An upstream approach will allow us to be strategic about improving health and quality of life and meeting our climate goals, not just in our day-to-day lives, but in the long-run, such as by reducing our risk of future zoonotic disease outbreaks (link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ele.13875).
|Community Health||My goals for Belmont are: addressing our 20 million gallon a year sewage//waste issue (as you may have recently read about in the Belmont Citizens Forum) and upholding both air quality, and noise standards in ways that are truly health-protective, making sure our waste does not wash up back on us or burden others disproportionately. I am prepared to walk the talk having provided services in 6 New England states, mostly in Massachusetts, as well as in and for 4 countries. I will bring to Belmont my experience providing assistance to over 70 municipalities, free assistance to schools, and public health training to ensure quality of essential services and add capacity with transparency and accountability. |
As we know, non health-protective policies such as indiscriminate pesticide use (e.g. in certain disinfectants) and clearing native biodiversity for urban development (e.g. in wetlands) increases the likelihood of rodent proliferation, a major risk factor of future zoonotic disease spread in the Northeast. This is a challenge that we can address in Belmont through health-protective policies, education, and outreach.
I am passionate about communicating and connecting climate science and the most recent environmental health information to empower people and understand what they can do to address issues like waste, noise, and hazards in our community. I have substantial experience coordinating and presenting on train the trainer sessions on non-universal waste and work culminating in long-term pollution prevention.
I am currently working with colleagues on a volunteer basis on community health focused projects ranging from mitigating air pollution (including that which ends up in our gardens and affects people’s ability to enjoy outdoor spaces), reducing toxic air emissions without putting anyone out of business, improving occupational health and safety, supporting methods of home and private yard maintenance in ways that improve both outdoor and indoor air quality, and ultimately empowering residents, businesses, workers, and decision makers to contribute to reducing stormwater pollution and toxic contaminants in runoff. I hope you will allow me to bring my experience, expertise, and network to this position. I need to do right by my daughter, our neighbors, and her future friends and classmates. I thank you for your consideration and the opportunity to share my perspective. I would appreciate your vote on April 5th!
Let’s together support health, quality of life, and our environment in Belmont for residents, families, and our elders!