In the general election, Gov. Charlie Baker eeked out his victory with few votes in communities of color.
But, he's been reaching out to those communities in the weeks since the election, and, having repeatedly promised during and after his campaign to pay better attention to their issues, the new governor decided to hold his first post-inaugural public event in Dorchester.
After leaving his swearing-in ceremony at the State House, Baker headed to the Uphams Corner area of Dorchester.
Despite Votes, Citizens Express Willingness 'To Work With Him'
"I said when I got into the race, I was campaigning for 100 percent of the vote, and I meant it," Baker said Thursday. "And we're going to govern that way."
Just two hours after Baker's inauguration, several hundred people waited to greet him at the Salvation Army's Kroc Center in Dorchester.
"I work for Boston Public Schools," said Evelyn Correa-Gonzalez, who was in attendance and said she voted for Baker's Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley. "So, I'm really looking to see what it is that he does with education, also. He's brand, spanking new to the whole thing, this being the first day. So I'm really curious just to see where it all goes, and where he goes from here."
There were others at the Kroc Center who had not voted for Baker. But Fabienne Eliacin said she has an open mind about the new governor.
"We always looking for a better government, so I am willing and as well so many other people here are willing, to work with him," she said.
Baker chose this stop to highlight the accomplishments of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in its 30 years of work to provide affordable housing and improved education opportunities for disadvantaged youth.
"Success sometimes is doing more of what works and less of what doesn't, because frankly, there's a lot of great things going on all over Massachusetts, in many cases in some of its toughest and most disadvantaged neighborhoods," Baker said. "And the fact that we don't talk about that, we don't acknowledge it, we don't replicate it, makes me sad."
Tensions Between Civilians, Police Still Presents A Challenge
Third-grader Mayka Ware was one of four speakers to address Baker at the Dorchester event.
"I like my school. I like my teachers, and I'm blessed for the food I have," she said. "On the first day of being governor, I want you to make police officers stop being racist so I can grow up in a nice neighborhood."
Talking with reporters later, the governor acknowledged the difficult job faced by law enforcement.
"I think the more we can do to build trust, the more time we spend with people — I mean one of the best ways to build trust is to spend time with people and hear them — and I think that's one of the things we tried hard to do during the campaign," he said. "And it's one of the things we're going to try to do in office."
Baker also discussed what Ware said that evening.
"She talked about the fact that she loves the school she goes to, which I'm familiar with," he said. "She talked about the fact that she was reading above grade level. I mean that's a kid that's heading in the right direction, and I certainly hope that as she grows up, that she lives in a community where she learns to believe that's it's a good place to be."
Before leaving Dorchester, Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito both signed a pledge to work with groups like the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative to support affordable housing and expand on systems that work, particularly those that help create great schools and bring economic opportunity to every section of the city.
This segment aired on January 9, 2015.