Stephen's Vision for District 3
"I believe in a bold, progressive Boston. We must put forward a strategy to ensure this is a city where every Bostonian can lead their best life. But looking ahead is not enough - we must also reckon with the policies and institutions that have led us to where we are. Our systems are broken and we must change them. I pledge to work for the residents of District 3 - and all of Boston - to ensure that we continue to create change for everyone."
Every student across District 3 deserves access to a high-quality public education. Yet across Boston, Black and Latinx students continue to underperform their white peers in testing. We must address the systemic issues that lead to these disparities early on and combat them, investing in our schools and our students. This requires an investment in universal access to early childhood education and pre-k for all Boston students. With over $400 million planned for our schools from the American Rescue Plan, we must ensure that there is a comprehensive plan that will raise the quality of our schools across the city. Access to STEM education, providing equal access to digital materials, and investing in vocational education will ensure that students across this city are empowered to thrive in properly funded schools.
We must invest and expand schools models that reinvent how we envision education in Boston. By investing in the Community Hub School model that positions our schools as the center of the community, we can expand programming that focuses on bringing educators, families, and other stakeholders together in a supportive ecosystem. And in expanding our inclusion schools and building on the model of the Henderson, we will provide more opportunities where students at all levels learn together and from each other. Stephen plans to raise a family in Boston and wants to make sure his children and their neighbors are able to have access to the same high-quality education as any other child across the city.
Public Health & COVID-19
In our fight to ensure equitable health access for all, we must work to address the underlying factors that lead District 3 to have the highest rates of premature mortality in the city (page 13). The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted that our healthcare system does not work equally for all residents. District 3 experienced some of the highest infection rates across the city. Moreover, when the time came for the vaccine roll out, our neighbors saw the greatest roadblocks in front of them in terms of access, efficiency, and information. Dorchester and Roxbury were not at the forefront of our efforts, even as our neighbors continued to get sick. Stephen will push to make sure that any offered resources - be they from the federal government or the city or state - are shared across the city. Stephen will work across District 3 to ensure that residents are not left behind as we begin to move ahead.
Mass and Cass
District 3 runs from Long Island to the intersection of Melnea Cass and Mass Ave, bringing into sharp focus the impacts of the opioid epidemic. There are no easy solutions to the reality we face at Mass and Cass. We’re up against dual crises of addiction and houselessness and in order to solve either, we’ll need to address both. We must continue to press for the opening of Long Island and not let up in our push to build a bridge to the facilities on the island.
However, those suffering cannot wait for action on Long Island, we must act now. The District 3 city councilor bears a unique responsibility in addressing this crisis that sits in our District and it has only gotten worse in the last 10 years. We need a bold leader who can partner with the rest of the council to deliver real solutions. We must decentralize the services offered by taking advantage of properties under the BPDA’s control and acting swiftly to get those suffering into treatment programs. We need more housing options that provide on-site treatment while continuing to provide the necessary resources at Mass and Cass that can match the scale of the crisis. This problem is bigger than just Boston and we won’t be able to solve it alone. As a City Councilor, Stephen will partner with Beacon Hill to ensure that resources are available across Eastern Massachusetts, alleviating some of the pressure on our communities and working in partnership to address this crisis.
Safe, Stable, and Affordable Housing
Boston is growing - twice as fast as the rest of the nation in the past decade. The median household income in Boston is just above that of the rest of the country, but the median home value is almost 2.5 times higher. Addressing our city's housing crisis begins with reimagining development in Boston for what the city is and what it can be. By comprehensively updating our zoning code, we can assess how and where to increase our housing stock at all price points. It's time to put people over developers! Stephen will fight to ensure that each resident has access to safe, stable, and affordable housing. Stephen will push for changes that create added transparency in the permitting process so that residents can more clearly understand what to expect and guarantee commitments made to them are honored.
Stephen will push to ensure any new development projects dedicate a higher percentage of their units to affordable housing. Boston currently lags behind our peers in Cambridge and Somerville on this measure. To demonstrate his commitment to inclusive and sustainable development, Stephen is not accepting campaign contributions from developers, so he can be accountable to the communities that have been harmed when development goes unchecked. It is time to legislate that affordable means affordable-for-all.
Lined by the Neponset River and Boston Harbor and stretching to the Harbor Islands, District 3 will disproportionately bear the consequences of climate change. We have made progress but must continue to raise the bar. We must build a sustainable waterfront that is connected to inland neighborhoods creating an open space destination for all Bostonians. Stephen will promote the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program and the Community Choice Electric program. Each program allows more households to invest in clean energy without facing the steep upfront cost that is often associated. Stephen will also continue to identify opportunities to install solar panels on its buildings and fund installment on private structures to help ease reliance on fossil fuels.
We must also invest in sustainable transit and push to reduce Boston's carbon footprint to protect the city for future generations. This begins by reimagining public transit as a public good that is free and reliable for all. Expanding and improving our public transit will reduce the need to own and use a vehicle in the city and reduce the cost burden for low-wage residents who may spend up to ⅓ of their income on transportation. Stephen will advocate for a Green New Deal for Boston to protect our communities and create good paying jobs. As we combat Climate Change, we must also commit to climate justice. We have too often placed climate burdens at the doorstep of low-income communities and communities of color. It is time to confront this crisis with urgency and equity.
The median net worth of white Bostonians is 30,938 times greater than that of their Black neighbors - $247,000 to just $8 (page 87). Eight dollars. Though it may not be intentional, a gap this large is not accidental. Creating avenues for wealth, including home ownership and business investment, and focusing on the recovery from COVID-19 will be instrumental in addressing the racial wealth gap.
This requires reform across sectors, including amongst Boston Police. Stephen’s first priority is to advocate for a diversification of services across the city. We need to spend less money on our police departments and redirect that money towards resources that more directly address the city’s needs, such as social services. We have allowed ourselves to put too many responsibilities on the police, that they are ill-equipped to handle.
Diversifying our response will reduce the scenarios where a police response is the only course of action. To ensure this effort extends to black and brown communities, Stephen will prioritize hearing directly from the community to learn how each new service functions in the community and where other services, including the disproportionate presence of police, have failed in the past. Moreover, Stephen will advocate for the roles of new community service providers to be filled by people from within the communities themselves whenever possible to foster trust within the community. This also includes removing police from roles like parade details and construction flaggers and replacing them with civilian workers. This workforce will provide new jobs for city residents, saving money and creating jobs.
You deserve to know what City Hall is doing for you. Your voice will take us there and will be heard while we serve. Listening sessions and community meetings will be a part of both our campaign and time in City Hall. Share your vision for Boston here.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Stephen will ensure that Boston continues to lead the way in protecting their rights and that the voices of everyone in the community are heard. He will also continue to push against the systemic issues that have lead to such disparate inequality in the city.
District 3 is an expansive, diverse cross-section of Boston. Ensuring that this campaign and its seat in City Hall are transparent and represent the entirety of the District is core to Stephen's mission.