Boston voters will head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 5 to elect the city’s first new mayor in 20 years. After six weeks on the campaign trail with the two candidates, WGBH News has produced weekly reports on the major issues. Anne Mostue has this final roundup of John Connolly’s platform:
John Connolly has run an exhaustive campaign against Marty Walsh. In six weeks, I’ve watched Connolly crisscross the city- from morning press conferences on City Hall Plaza to afternoon visits in South Boston elementary school classrooms.
Connolly has dined with business leaders in the gilded rooms at the Intercontinental Hotel, spoken in the basement of a baptist church, and walked Roxbury’s Dudley Square introducing himself to people who had no idea who he was.
Connolly's education plan extends the school day, pairs high schools with businesses and community colleges, and increases English as a second language and mental health services in school.
“That is the ultimate link between great schools and safe and healthy neighborhoods. Part of a holistic plan – obviously other pieces that have to be involved, mental health, substance abuse, how we deal with trauma. But there is no doubt that great schools have a direct link to safe neighborhoods.”
Connolly would reinstate the city's gun buy back program, make the police force more diverse and create a new Office of Recovery Services.
"We don’t reflect the city at all in city government right now and you just look at the police department to see that. But it goes for all of city government. So clearly it’s a reflection of systemic racism, in Boston and throughout our country.”
Communities of Color
Over the year, Boston's minority population has become the majority, so Connolly has tried to win votes in neighborhoods of color.
“It’s just about that classic Boston politics. You go where the undecided voters are.”
Connolly promises to bring jobs to struggling neighborhoods, and create more affordable housing units, more micro-lofts and 3-bedroom apartments.
“But we’ve got families struggling to make ends meet and we have developers coming in and buying up housing stock that’s going to ultimately without a smart policy be converted to luxury condominiums. The challenge is how do we maintain a socioeconomic mix?"
Connolly's vision for city development is linked to his transportation plan. One day, we spread out a map of the city of Boston on the hood of his minivan. With a marker he circled the Fairmount Commuter Rail line.
"Transit nodes along the Fairmount Line are going to present that opportunity to experiment with heightened density, also look at real discussions around parking. We can bring costs down and price to the workforce and the middle market, along with the affordable component."
To improve transportation, Connolly also wants to encourage more private investment, like what's happening in Brighton...
“New Balance is building the commuter rail station. They’re paying for it. So there’s a T infrastructure upgrade funded by a Boston headquartered company. That’s so crucial to our development. It’s going to benefit the company, it’s also going to benefit all the residents of Allston-Brighton.”