The Boston City Council has thirteen members: nine district representatives and four at-large members, with no term limits. Four City Council Districts will hold preliminary elections on September 26, 2017. Districts one, two, seven, and nine have all met the candidate requirement to call for a Preliminary Election. Each district race has at least three candidates running. But, the remaining five out of nine District City Council contests will not have a preliminary election.The general election for Boston City Council will take place on Tuesday. November 7, 2017.
I view the role of city councilors as representatives first, and legislators second. Allston-Brighton is in the midst of significant changes regarding development, and I believe that it is time for fresh leadership to start a new chapter for our community. I will be a highly accessible city councilor. I will hold office hours within the district so that I am able to meet with more people. I will have an open door policy for community organizations who represent the interests of the neighborhood. When there are pieces of legislation that are significant or particularly contentious I would host public meetings to hear what the community had to say about the issues. I feel that leadership means listening first, and acting second. I would use the input from my community to inform my decisions. I would work hard to support legislation that leave the community with benefits from development, safer streets, and justice for marginalized communities.
Living in Allston-Brighton affords me the opportunity to walk most places that I need to go. When I leave Allston-Brighton, my main mode of transportation is my bike or the T. I think that we need to shift our way of thinking about transportation away from focusing so narrowly on car infrastructure. As a city we need to talk about how all traffic works together. We should be working hard to create a culture of respect when it comes to the flow of traffic. Buses respecting cars, cars respecting bikes, and all modes of transportation being aware of the potential danger they can pose to pedestrians on foot. We need to be working to create a complete streets approach that allocates safe bike infrastructure, adequate crosswalks, and more responsive street crossing buttons. As a city we need to be thinking about 21st century approaches to transportation issues, this is particularly true when it comes to traffic calming measures that make streets less dangerous to cross by foot or bike.
As a teacher I know first hand the importance of early childhood health. Students who are healthy and well fed almost always have greater success in the classroom. Universal breakfast allows access to food that is otherwise not available. Every student deserves to learn with a full belly! In addition to food security, students in the Boston Public schools deserve access to a nurse. It is not uncommon for nurses to split their time between schools. We must make certain that our schools receive adequate funding so that every school can have medical care for students. We need to make sure that we are supporting the whole student. Students need to have access to mental health services through adequate staffing of clinicians, social workers, and counselors. The City of Boston can do better with regard to providing services that students deserve
The most important role that the City Council plays is to analyze, review, and assess the budget that the Mayor puts forward. As Chair of the Committee on Ways and Means, I have made a significant effort during my time on the Council to scrutinize department heads and representatives of the Mayor during the budget review process, and ensure that every dollar of taxpayer money is being responsibly spent.
In addition to the significant role we play in the budget process, City Councilors also serve as a direct conduit between residents and the city of Boston’s government. District City Councilors have an especially important role in advocating for the interests of their district. It is our job to ensure that every person residing in our districts have an advocate at City Hall that can assist them with accessing city programs, or turning big ideas into actionable policy solutions.
The City of Boston has begun to roll out programs that will directly help to improve pedestrian safety, and I think expanding these on a more aggressive schedule is imperative. The Slow Streets program should be extended beyond the 5 communities that will be receiving the benefits of it this fall, and a wider swath of communities should be able to work directly with the Boston Transportation Department and the Department of Public Works to develop a community driven plan to protect pedestrians from traffic.
I have also been a strong supporter of the Commonwealth Ave Phase 2A project, which is a $16 million investment in the dangerous corridor from Packard’s Corner to the BU Bridge. This project will create physically separated bike lanes to help protect cyclists, as well as being the first example of protected intersections in the city, where physical barriers are used to protect pedestrians while crossing Commonwealth Avenue.
City Council, the Mayor, and the school committee have been committed to providing universal, high-quality pre-kindergarten for every student in the City of Boston. This is an important investment that the City and State need to prioritize. I endorse the idea proposed by the Mayor to use surpluses from the Convention Center Fund to fund the universal pre-k for all Boston students. Students who attend pre-k have better long-term education and health outcomes, so creating classroom space for every student in Boston is crucial.
I've worked with BPS officials to change the elementary school assignment process so students are assigned to a school in their neighborhood. When students attend schools in their own neighborhoods, parents can more easily get involved with their child’s education, and communities around neighborhood schools can form. This community helps to cultivate better outcomes for students, and increases involvement of parents in their child's education.