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Candidate Interviews: Walsh And Connolly

Boston mayoral candidates John Connolly, left, and Marty Walsh at WBUR (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Boston mayoral candidates John Connolly, left, and Marty Walsh at WBUR (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

BOSTON — With Election Day in Boston’s first open mayoral race in a generation less than a week away, polls show an increasingly tight race between City Councilor John Connolly and state Rep. Marty Walsh.

The candidates faced off in their final broadcast debate Tuesday night, where, as WBUR’s David Scharfenberg reported, they “clashed over negative advertising and carved out stylistic differences.”

Both candidates joined WBUR’s Morning Edition Wednesday.

Walsh Interview Highlights:

On ensuring fair wages for city workers while honoring taxpayers:

I don’t necessarily think you have to raise taxes to pay for wages. I think you can do it by building a strong economy. City employees, middle class folks out there, they’re trying to make a living and I think it’s important they get paid at a decent wage. There’s also other opportunities to help city employees. There’s certainly pension and health benefits, so there’s a package there that a lot of people in the private sector don’t receive.

As mayor of the city of Boston, I want to be fair but there’s a lot of things we need to do in the city too. I mean, part of that is by constructing our fields and doing a lot around public safety and education so there’s a fair balance. I think any cooperation has the same challenges. What do you pay your employees and how do you move your business forward?

On colleges and universities offering more on-campus housing for students:

This is a big priority. I mean, particularly in Oak Square, the Brighton area, and the Allston area as well. Communities, especially at the beginning of the school year, September, through the end of the school year, they feel overrun by these students. We have to sit down and talk to our colleges. I know some colleges are looking to do more on-campus housing. It would be great to see all colleges have on-campus housing for all of their students. Some colleges don’t have the capacity, don’t have the land to be able to build a dorm on campus. So I’m certainly in favor of them going into a a partnership with a private developer to build them housing.

On public safety:

The heart of the issue in many neighborhoods in our city is gang violence and gun violence. … In dealing with gun violence we have to deal with untreated trauma. Many of these young people in Boston have experienced a friend or a relative being gun downed or have a culture of violence in their neighborhood and we have to begin at the root of it.

Connolly Interview Highlights:

On how he would vote on the East Boston casino proposal:

I’m trying to be respectful to the people who are going to decide this and not try to cast a shadow over it in terms of what I think. I have made that commitment to the people of East Boston to let them decide what would be best for their neighborhood. But I do say that recent development is deeply troubling to me. It would certainly be on my mind as I headed into the ballot if I lived over there.

Nobody in East Boston is actually asking what I think. It’s only the media that is asking me what I think. What I’ve heard loud and clear from East Boston is: “Let us decide.” So I think there’s times when a mayor has to say clearly what he thinks and there are other times where he has to recognize that it’s the community’s voice that is most important.

On adult education:

I want to keep schools open at night and have them as places for adult learning, where we can do English as a second language, adult education generally. Link with community partners and community colleges to expand programming for adults who want to seek more education. I think that this is something we need to do as a city.

On jobs for teens:

I want to move the summer jobs that we have, which are great, I want to move a number of them to year round jobs connected through our high schools so that we can get our young people jobs and have them making a little money, something they need to stay in school. It’s a key that we tie them to career pathways. So I want to have partners in high schools who are going to develop curriculum and programs with teachers but then connect that to internships and externships and year round jobs that will both pay our students and give them training in what could hopefully become a career pathway.

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