Boston City Councilor, District 1
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.
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Lydia Marie Edwards
Operations Specialist, City of Boston Office of Economic Development
Boston has a so-called “strong Mayor-weak Council” form of government. What do you consider the most important functions of the City Council?
Boston is a walking city. Yet, despite its long-term goal of Vision Zero (no pedestrian fatalities), so far this year pedestrian deaths have increased. What immediate safety improvements do you propose and support?
As a candidate for City Council, how would you encourage the Mayor and School Committee to invest in universal programs to support early childhood health and development?
A city councilor's primary role is to represent her constituents. That means being a check on the Mayor and also advocating for community and people over special interests. A city councilor should be seeking to empower and provide a voice for community at all times and to be a bridge builder. There are a lot areas for disagreement even at the local level but a city councilor can seek to provide a space where she is accessible to and listens and learns from all even those that she disagrees with. A city councilor should be focused on constituent services but also be able to handle the big picture challenges to our community including displacement, climate change and a living wages.
I think that the reduction in speed was a good first step but I would make sure that we have more police patrols directing traffic.
We also need to make sure that we have clearer vision at night and lights at cross sections. I would make sure that the city has more speed bumps in neighborhood sections.
I think there is needs to be an increased public safety awareness campaign that really reduces the amount of people that are distracted not just by drunk driving but also texting. There needs to be an increase effort in education for both pedestrians and drivers with regards to traffic laws, jaywalking and right of ways.
Investment in children before the age of 5 years is vital to brain function and to investing in success in high school and college.
I support the city's efforts for universal pre-K and am excited that it has a sustainable funding through tourism dollars. I think we need to make sure that the city's efforts for healthy family is realized through real investment in our community health centers which are often the first place for working families. We also need to assure that we have concerted efforts in making sure we are reaching all Bostonians including those that do not speak English as a primary language.
I worked in Councilor LaMattina’s office for many years, so I have a great deal of knowledge about the role of a City Councilor. In my years in that office and later in the Walsh Administration, I came to learn that constituent services are the most crucial part of the job. A City Councilor is there to help connect constituents with the services provided by city, state, and federal government. I want to help my neighbors fill their potholes, get their crosswalks painted, find senior housing or connect with a detox bed. I want to focus on everyday quality of life issues that affect the people of the District, and ensure that everyone has access to resources and services available to them. In addition to helping residents navigate city government, I want to find new ways of engaging residents in District 1 to make sure that they always have a seat at the table when decisions are being made that will affect them. The role of the City Council in the City’s budget process is also critical.
I believe that technology is part of both the problem and the solution in this case. I think we should be more diligent in enforcing our prohibition on the use of cellphones while operating motor vehicles. Similarly, smart traffic signals can be part of the solution because they can read the road conditions and respond accordingly. For instance, a smart traffic signal has been tested in the UK that changes to a red light when a vehicle driving too fast is approaching. I also think we should prioritize safety improvements and reconstruction projects for the areas where these accidents occur most frequently. Our Department of Public Works and Transportation Department should be using this data to prioritize their capital improvement projects; things like sidewalk bump-outs that make pedestrians more visible to approaching vehicles are some of the immediate measures I would push DPW and BTD to focus their efforts.
Early childhood is a crucial time in laying the foundations for a healthy and successful life. As the father of two kids in the Boston Public Schools, I have experienced this firsthand. The City needs to invest in universal pre-K to ensure our all of children are getting the strongest possible foundation on which to build future success. I’m also very passionate about getting fresh lunches in every BPS school so our children are getting proper nutrition throughout the day. This is especially important at this critical developmental time in a child’s life. Finally, I will be an outspoken voice to ensure that there are adequate neighborhood seats to guarantee that all students in BPS are able to attend a high quality school close to home.
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