By Sherrie Choong and Hao Lu
The Boston Chinatown Resident Association and the Governor’s Asian American Commission continued the second and third Chinatown mayoral candidate forums at the Josiah Quincy School. Felix Arroyo, Boston city councilor at-large, discussed his plans for Boston on July 10. On July 24, former state rep. Charlotte Golar Richie and John Barros spoke to the community.
Arroyo called for “Invest in Boston,” a plan to invest the city’s money in banks that support local businesses. If he is elected, city council will prioritize doing business with banks that support local community growth. The plan is intended to promote economic growth in Boston and create more job opportunities.
Having grown up in a subsidized housing community, Arroyo advocated for affordable housing.
As a graduate of Boston Public Schools, Arroyo emphasized the importance of education in Boston.
Poor families are not able to afford private schools and their children have no other option but to attend public school. Arroyo suggested there should be a second teacher or assistant to help struggling students. He also proposed a longer school day, allowing students to choose more subjects such as arts, music, theater and sports.
Richie and Barros discussed issues affecting the Chinatown community, such as high quality education, affordable housing and building a permanent public library.
Richie talked about workforce development. She proposed building educational institutes in the community and bringing more job opportunities to young people.
“The economy is actually going better,” Richie said. “Thousands of jobs will be coming over the next ten years. So we want to make sure we have a top notch educational institution that is going to be able to offer skills, building and training for our young people to be able to have all the certifications that let them get those jobs.”
Chinatown closed its community reading room in February, after funding for a full-time staffer ran out. A Chinatown resident asked Richie how she would support a permanent library in the community when budget funds are insufficient. Richie promised to get a thorough understanding of the library budget and then work with the community to make specific plans.
“There is no way that we cannot build a permanent public library in Chinatown,” Richie said. “Here I promise you that if I can’t do it, I will get back to you and explain to you why it couldn’t be done.”
Barros showed his support for second-generation immigrants as the child of immigrants from West Africa. He said immigrants were an important part of Boston.
His administration would help provide service, training and education for the immigrant community to make sure they not only learn English, but have the necessary support for a better living.
“I believe that all of our students need the best of what they can have, and just because you speak a second language doesn’t mean you should get second-class materials or resources,” Barros said.
Along with issues of housing, education and local economy, Barros also emphasized his willingness to support the jobs and leadership development for the city’s younger population. He would commit to at least 14,000 jobs for youth during the summer and 2,000 jobs year-round.
This post is also available in: Chinese