Boston mayoral candidates look at family concerns
By Ling-Mei Wong
The Focus on Family mayoral forum took place August 21 at the Josiah Quincy School. Seven of the 12 mayoral hopefuls attended the event hosted by the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center and Sociedad Latina.
The primary election to select the final two mayoral candidates is Sept. 24, with the voter registration closing Sept. 4. The top two candidates will face off Nov. 5 to become mayor of Boston.
Education was a top concern, as candidates discussed bilingual education and school quality. John Barros said he was the only Boston School Committee member who voted against the school assignment process because it was unequal.
City councilor at-large Felix Arroyo suggested adding more bilingual schools to the Boston Public Schools. “There are only four dual-language schools and they only offer Spanish,” he said. “We need others with languages like Mandarin, Vietnamese and French.”
State Rep. Marty Walsh advocated for a four-day school week so students could visit colleges and better vocational training. “One of my plans is making sure vocational-tech programs partner with contractors, unions and developers.”
Another emphasis for construction was hiring Boston residents. “Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and the hub of New England,” said former state Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie. “I want people from out of state to shop and visit, but I want jobs to go to Boston.”
City councilor John Connolly advocated for more public transit, such as late-night operation for family members who work long hours. “The mayor needs to make the case to suburban legislators that investing in Boston helps everyone,” he said.
The candidates voiced support for progressive taxes to charge the rich more, although the city does not decide state tax laws.
“I will form an urban caucus with Cambridge and Somerville, go to statehouse and support the representatives and senators,” said Mike Ross, district 8 city councilor. “I will push to get a fair tax policy passed, as the urban core of Quincy, Chelsea and Revere is desperate.”
Another proposal was taxing academic institutions. “If colleges and universities paid the same amount of property tax we pay in one year, it would be $47 billion,” said Charles Clemons, candidate.
Richie pledged to establish an office of youth affairs and to increase youth jobs.
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