Nicola Usher for District 1 (Precincts 1 & 3) Councilor

PRESERVE what makes Amherst wonderful.

Advocate for the changes where PROGRESS is needed.

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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.

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As a parent in a multicultural family, an academic advisor to UMass students, a member of the Wildwood School Governance Council, and a Town Meeting member, Nicola has shown herself to be a warm and dedicated connecter of different voices and perspectives. She is also really smart, articulating both the big picture and the important small details. I can’t wait to vote for her as one of my two district councilors!
— Andy Churchill, former School Committee Chair
As a 20 year resident of District 1, I’m thrilled to cast my vote for Nicola. We need the voices of young families at the table! Her Town Meeting service proved her dedicated and thoughtful approach to the issues that matter to our community, and her commitments to transparency and ongoing communication with all of District 1 will be an asset to the Council during this historic transition for our town.
— Alisa Brewer, Select Board member and former School Committee member

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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
North Amherst.


What People Are Saying About Nicola


In my experience working with Nicola on both Wildwood’s School Governing Council and Parent Guardian Organization, I have been impressed by her leadership and organizational skills, her ability to think creatively, and her warmth and genuine spirit of collaboration. In working with her, you instantly get a sense of her commitment to civic service and her authentic desire to bring many voices to the table. It has been my experience that she asks important, valuable questions and offers creative, reasonable and thoughtful solutions in whatever capacity she is serving.
— Kerry Crosby, community member and educator
When the school budget reduced the hours of librarian assistants at the elementary schools in Amherst, Nicola, in 48 hours time engaged with the Wildwood librarian and community members for feedback to prepare a motion that she introduced at Town meeting which ultimately led to a vote in favor of restoring the funds and encouraging the School Committee to retain the full time positions. When Nicola’s involved, things get done!
— Dr. Lissa Pierce Bonifaz
I’m happy to vote for Nicola for District 1. Nicola has shown herself to be a committed volunteer, at Wildwood and the Survival center, and a dedicated citizen through her work on town meeting. I believe as a councilor she would advocate for all Amherst families, especially those with young children, who often don’t have the time or means to serve in public office.
— Kerry Spitzer, Amherst School Committee
Nicola is a passionate advocate for the community. As a fellow parent of school-age children I admire her commitment to Amherst’s youngest generations and her willingness to put in time and thought on complex issues.
— Nina Mankin, Precinct 1 Town Meeting Member

Nicola understands the concerns of Amherst’s working families.

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About Nicola


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.

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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:

  • 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!

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