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~ Political Announcement ~ Karen Colón Hayes Announces Candidacy for Reelection to City Council

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Toward a More Forward-Thinking, Inclusive, and Resilient Malden


  I’m thrilled to officially announce my campaign for re-election as your Malden City Councillor-At Large! In my first term, I have worked hard to deliver on my commitment to make Malden more inclusive, forward thinking and resilient. Together we have accomplished so much—and I look forward to continuing that work.

I have consistently pursued my vision of a more transparent and accessible government by working with my colleagues to create policy to ensure that all our meetings will be accessible to the public, both in person and virtually. As a member of the finance committee, I successfully pushed for our budget meetings to be virtual—for the first time ever in Malden! I am working hard to bring transparency and accountability to the City Council, and that includes keeping you updated on agendas, what is being voted on, and how I have voted on each matter that comes before the Council. I am always happy to share my views, always willing to listen, and always committed to making informed decisions based on facts and data.

We are making progress and expanding communications in the city with the help of our language access coordinator. Language access is a critical component of equal access to local government services and improved engagement. Barriers are preventing people from engaging. I helped organize the first city meeting translated in real time for our Asian community. This was the first of more to come in different languages which will connect our residents with city government. I attended the Racial Equity Commission meetings and co-sponsored a resolve to engage a consultant, host town hall community meetings, analyze demographic data and review the past history of racial equity efforts to make recommendations to the administration and elected officials.

We need forward-thinking leaders. Balancing immediate needs with long term planning, setting clear priorities, and making conscious trade offs—these are the keys to moving Malden forward. Malden will be facing some real financial difficulties in the coming years and we must develop a plan to address the challenges heading our way.

These include funding pension benefit costs for City staff and retirees, paying Malden’s required contribution to the Northeast Metro Tech High School construction project; repairing our parking garages, roads, and City buildings; continuing to remove lead pipes and make our water safer; and funding great public schools for the next generation. One of my top priorities is community safety. Our first responders must have the tools, training, and resources they need to do their jobs. I was part of the committee that worked in collaboration with the Mayor’s office, the Police Chief and community members to unanimously vote on a City Ordinance establishing a Police/Community Advisory Council. The aim is to promote public awareness and community engagement on the city’s police services, programs, and general public safety issues. The PCAC will also help to facilitate open dialogue and assist the Malden Police Department in their public safety mission.

We need to balance our wants and needs. I support the Malden River Works Project and the idea of an Arts and Culture Center as well as the public park renovations, but we urgently need to develop a plan to expand our revenue sources and tax base to offset future expenses.

I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow Councillors to develop this plan. I bring to the table 25 years of experience in management, including 10 years working as a city employee, the first 6 years in the Mayor’s Office until 2017 when I was promoted to the Human Services and Community Outreach Director. I have a proven track record of balancing a budget and increasing revenue sources with grant funding.

But grants alone will not fund our City. We have already missed years of potential revenue from the delay in opening cannabis shops, but we can improve the situation by changing our restrictive ordinances. Malden is a desirable place to live, work, and run a business. Let’s capitalize on that attractiveness and welcome more new businesses of all types to Malden.

If we are to thrive as a city, we can no longer rely on business-as-usual and reactive, siloed decision making. Urban resilience demands that we look holistically at our capacities and risks; that perspective is possible only if we engage meaningfully with all parts of our community, including our most vulnerable members. This engagement is not easy—it requires dedication and hard work.

When my husband Pat and I chose Malden as the place we would raise our family, we immediately became invested in this wonderful city. We volunteered at community events, we helped organize a neighborhood improvement group (FOOGI) We volunteered for the PTO and school activities, we coached soccer and softball, we led Girl Scout troops and made lifelong friends.

Serving the people of Malden has been a top priority for me for the past 30 years and

my commitment has never been stronger! Including YOUR voice in my decisions is something I will continue to do while representing the interests of all of Malden’s residents. #Together We Rise.

I want to hear from YOU—and share more about my plans for Malden. l will be holding virtual office hours bi-weekly on Wednesday nights 7:00pm-8:00PM beginning July 19th. You can join by going to my Facebook page KCH for Malden City Council for more information. You can also reach me at karencolonhayes@gmail.com

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