My full name is Rena Louisa Getz Escudero de Geltman — Rena Getz for short.
I say this as my name describes who I am. I was born in Spain and was fortunate to grow up in many different parts of the world due to my parent’s professions – my father was an international public servant, and my mother is an agricultural engineer, the first woman of Colombia in this profession. This experience gave me the gift of multicultural sensitivity and the ability to interpret, reconcile and act on differences of opinion.
I am a scientist, trained in neurochemistry. When my husband and I first came to the Boston area 28 ago, I worked for five years in a research group at MGH, studying neurodegenerative diseases before committing to raising our children full time. My husband, Paul Geltman, is a pediatrician and the Medical Director for Refugee & Immigrant Health at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Like many, we came to Newton to raise our family. We chose Newton because of its walkable neighborhood schools, historic village centers and green open space. Our three children were educated in the Newton Public School system.
I am still here 25 years later, ready and able to serve as your next Ward 5 City Councilor – to give back to the community that has given so much to me and my family, and is the place we call home. During my children’s primary education, I was an active and fully engaged parent. I served as co-president of my children’s preschool and as a room parent in all of my children’s classrooms.
I also served on the Angier School Building Committee and co-chaired the Respect for Human Differences Committee for the years my youngest daughter attended Angier School.
My civic engagement in Newton began in 2012 through my relationship with my dear friend and mentor, Brian Yates. Brian was our former, longstanding Ward 5 Councilor At-Large and an exemplary humanitarian. I knew him well as both a dedicated public servant and as a friend. I had the privilege of running his last three election campaigns, along with other citizen volunteers. His recent passing motivated me to run for office, to honor his priorities and the vision he held for Newton – a city rooted in “village values.” I share Brian’s sensibilities: a passion for my community and a belief that city government needs to care for the most vulnerable among us, as well as to respect and to preserve the uniqueness of each of our Ward 5 villages – Upper Falls, the Highlands and Waban. I am committed to valuing these priorities and to being a true voice of our Ward 5 community.
Volunteerism within the community is important to me and on a personal level enriches my life on a daily basis. I am a founding member and current Vice-President of the Waban Neighborhood Area Council. On the Council, I have continuously served in many roles, most recently as a co-educator for our community on the proposed new zoning code. It is important for the citizens of Newton to be educated on these changes as I believe we, the residents, are the most important and affected stakeholders of any proposed changes to our zoning code. In addition, I am on the Board of The Friends of Hemlock Gorge and a member of the League of Women Voters Newton.