PRESERVE what makes Amherst wonderful.
An Independent Voice
I am committed to demonstrating, particularly to women with young children, that we CAN and WILL be part of local governance. The council will be faced with critical decisions on issues surrounding schools, housing, services, and economic development that will impact the town for generations to come. It is crucial that there are voices for young families at the table as the future of Amherst is shaped.
I am eager to serve on the town's inaugural council as I believe it is important that the first council lay the foundation for a government that is transparent and accessible. Personally and professionally I have always prioritized the practical, administrative, and logistical details necessary to support a shared vision. To that end, I hope to see the council early on establish guidelines for soliciting and responding to public feedback that will encourage frequent and respectful dialogue between councilors and the community. I want councilors to set and hold open office hours at varied times and locations in order to reach more community members.
Preserve what works.
As our town moves forward, I believe it is important that we work hard to preserve what makes Amherst a wonderful place to live: knowing your neighbors; a walkable downtown and village centers; easy access to our elected representatives; beautiful open space; supporting our farmers; strong public schools and high-quality town services.
Build new elementary schools.
I believe it is critical that we build new and improved elementary school facilities to replace the dysfunctional Wildwood and Fort River schools. We need to expand affordable pre-K education options for Amherst families. We must proceed in a way that is fiscally responsible, pedagogically sound, and does not unduly increase property taxes on residents.
Increase our commercial tax base.
I support expanding our commercial tax base to generate new revenues so that we can afford to take on the backlog of large capital improvements our town requires without increasing residential taxes. This backlog of needs includes: two elementary schools, fire station, DPW facility, library renovation, and a senior center.
I will be an independent voice for North Amherst and District 1. I will seek input from my constituents to help inform my decision-making. I am prepared to make decisions that reflect the will of the North Amherst residents even if they are not in line with my personal preferences.
In the News
Amherst League of Women Voters Election Guide - Click Here
In-depth Q&A with The Daily Collegian - Click Here
Letter in The Daily Collegian: Think globally. Vote locally - Click Here
Affordable Housing for Amherst Survey - Click Here
Mothers Out Front Sustainability & Diversity Survey - Click Here
Amherst League of Women Voters Election Guide - Click Here
The Springfield Republican Candidate Survey - Click Here
Amherst Arts Night Plus Candidate Survey - Click Here
Nicola Usher will advocate for
What People Are Saying About Nicola
Nicola understands the concerns of Amherst’s working families.
In 2013 I moved my family to Amherst after growing up in New York City. We chose Amherst because it is a community where we could both work in our field, but more importantly, as a multiracial family we were attracted to Amherst’s progressive values and strong public schools.
My father is an artist and I grew up in an apartment building in Manhattan’s West Village that provided subsidized affordable housing for artists. I attended NYC Public Schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade. I have a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Law from Binghamton University. After a successful early career working in sales and event management for Marriott International I transitioned to academia, working with international graduate students at NYU School of Law while pursuing my M.A. in International Education from NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. After NYU, I served as Associate Director of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate at Columbia Business School.
I am currently an academic advisor at UMass School of Public Health and Health Sciences. I am passionate about working with first-generation students and supporting incoming students during the often challenging transition to college. I have always made time for community involvement. I ran the “End Sweatshops Campaign” for NYPIRG’s Binghamton chapter. While on maternity leave with a newborn I worked with a group of parents to launch a community play space in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Since moving to Amherst I have volunteered at the Amherst Survival Center in the Community Store and Food Pantry and have served as an English Conversation Partner through the Jones Library ESL center. Currently I am a neighborhood Coordinator for the Survival Center's Neighborhood Food Project. In 2015 I served on the Culture, Climate and Community subcommittee of the School Equity Task Force. I was elected to Town Meeting in 2016 and the Wildwood School Governance Council in 2017 and was involved in the campaign to pass a debt override that would have provided Amherst with a much needed new elementary school and expanded pre-K. Most recently I worked on the campaign for the new Charter.
Join Nicola's Campaign
It takes a village to govern ourselves, and Nicola needs your help. There are many ways to help:
Donate to the campaign committee to help defray printing and website costs
Email your friends and neighbors in town with a link to this website
Like Nicola's campaign facebook page, then invite your friends and neighbors to Like it
Write a letter to the Amherst Bulletin/Daily Hampshire Gazette and let them know why you are supporting Nicola. (You can email your letter to: email@example.com)
Host a coffee at your house to introduce Nicola to your friends and neighbors
Come out with Nicola in North Amherst and knock on doors
You can donate to the Committee to Elect Nicola Usher to help pay for printing costs. To donate, please send a check made out to "Committee to Elect Nicola Usher" and mail it to:
Treasurer Deborah Lee Leonard
401 Old Farm Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Or you can use use your credit card here safely using Paypal. Thank you so much for your support!