Jake Auchincloss to Deliver Symposium Keynote


Miles Munkacy, Executive Editor


Newton City Councilman Jake Auchincloss, who is running against Joe Kennedy for the Massachusetts District 4 Congressional seat, will deliver Tuesday’s 15th Annual Bissell Grogan Humanities Symposium, titled “Environmental Stewardship and Impact.”

Auchincloss, who chairs Newton’s Public Safety and Transportation Committee, will cover reinventing transportation through the Green New Deal—the controversial plan put forward by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts.

“Since the overarching goal of the symposium is to bring the outside world in and to inspire our students to explore how the Humanities impact their futures, our theme this year couldn’t be more timely or significant,” said Head Librarian Megan Dolan, who is organizing the symposium with English teacher Kenley Smith. “All of these factors make Auchincloss an exciting and invigorating choice as keynote for the Bissell Grogan Symposium.”

In a 2019 interview with The Newton Patch, Auchincloss identified transportation as the most pressing issue facing Newton.

“I will continue to be the lead negotiator with developers on traffic-control measures for new projects and for advocating accelerated road repair, smarter traffic signals, and infrastructure for safer and more reliable walking, cycling, and transit,” he said.

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  • Co-Event Organizer Kenley Smith.

  • Director of the MS/US Library Megan Dolan, who is also a certified Yoga instructor.

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A Harvard graduate, Auchincloss joined the Marines before commanding infantry in Afghanistan and special operations in Panama. In 2014, his work on municipal policy earned him a place on the Better Government Commission under Governor Charlie Baker.

“Jake Auchincloss’s track record of public service, from commanding forces in the Marines, to serving as a Newton City Councilor, show that he is dedicated to our Country and our environment,” Dolan said. “His work on the Green New Deal is exactly the type of pivotal proposed legislation that, if enacted, could help us turn around our area’s harmful carbon emissions contributions.”

Last week, Auchincloss wrote an opinion piece for WBUR, addressing the recent assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

“The executive branch is now unchecked in its use of violence,” Auchinclos wrote. “The result has been a collapse in clarity, conviction and confidence in America’s military objectives.”

Auchincloss was first elected to the Newton City Council in 2015, while earning an MBA from MIT. He was re-elected in 2017.

After the keynote, students will attend workshops on sustainable clothing, environmental law, landscape architecture, sustainable and reusable art, environmentally responsible investing, and marine conservation and policy. Newton Community Farm, Essex County Beekeepers Association, and Charles River Watershed will also offer sessions. The program guide is embedded below.


Last year’s Bissell Grogan Humanities Symposium was keynoted by Dr. Rajesh Panjabi, titled, “No Condition is Permanent: The Power of Teamwork in Public Service.”