Meeting The Candidates For Mayor Of Boston: Michelle Wu

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Mayoral candidate and Boston city councilor Michelle Wu speaks with the media. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Mayoral candidate and Boston city councilor Michelle Wu speaks with the media. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The Boston mayoral primary is a little more than a month away on Sept. 14.

WBUR's Radio Boston will join WCVB, The Boston Globe and the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston to bring you a debate among the major candidates on Thursday, Sept. 9.

Ahead of the debate, we're inviting each candidate on the show to make their case to you. Here's our conversation with Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu.

Interview Highlights

On why she's running now and what she brings to the race:

"We are in such an incredibly consequential moment for Boston, and I am living the stakes of policymaking. I'm a mom with two young kids in the Boston public schools. I live in a multigenerational home and have raised my sisters in the city as my mom was struggling with serious mental illness. So I've seen the gaps that our families face, and I've had a decade now in City Hall knowing how to move the levers of government to close those gaps and truly deliver change. I have the longest track record of building coalitions and taking on what we were told would be impossible fights one after another and showing that more is possible. We don't have to keep doing things the same old way in Boston because we have the resources, the activism, the energy. We really just need a vision for the future, and I'm excited to deliver that with strong leadership to meet this moment."

On how her background informs her platform:

"I'm someone who never thought I would end up in government. But as my mom was struggling and as I was finding my way, raising my sisters, working through our school system and finding ways to provide support and resources, opening a small family business and understanding all the barriers there, and navigating our health care system, I've seen just how deep the gaps and how tall the barriers feel. And so for me, this is about taking action so we are not passing on these challenges one more generation and one more generation to our kids and grandkids. The pandemic has truly shown us just how fragile our status quo already was, how unjust so many of our systems already were. And now's the moment to move away from putting Band-Aids on long-standing crises and really tackle our issues head-on, deliver the leadership that Boston is capable of."

On enacting vaccine mandates in Boston:

"The city council, under the leadership of our council president pro tempore, Councilor O'Malley, has already moved forward with vaccine mandates for workers and staff on the city council side. We are ahead of the administration on this one, and we need to see the rest of City Hall moving into those protections as well. I also support moving forward with what we have seen proposed in other cities where there would be protections, even outside city government for indoor settings, particularly as workers who are frontline workers would be exposed to these risks. Now, of course, we need to keep closing the gap for vaccinations across our communities. But now is the moment to really emphasize that we have control over how we are protecting our residents, how we're protecting workers, and how we're protecting Boston residents. We cannot see the same type of situations as we did a year ago, where workers were forced to choose between putting food on the table or being in unsafe situations. This is a matter of ensuring that we're taking every step to save lives."

On reinstating rent control in Boston:

"We are in a full-blown housing crisis. We are seeing families across our city displaced, unable to afford to stay. It is the number one concern that I hear from residents all across our communities as I'm out and about knocking on doors and out at community events with this urgency, with the eviction moratorium lapsing and families barely holding on. The real question is not why I'm the only one standing with the people in supporting protections, but why every other candidate is not. We're not talking about a return to old-style rent control of large bureaucracies and frozen systems. This is about ensuring that city government has the power to have parameters and guardrails, that we will have one more tool that's necessary, along with increasing housing supply, along with reforming our zoning code, so we can speed up these processes and simplify the red tape for affordable housing, along with investing city dollars in building affordable housing directly. We need to ensure that as we're transitioning to more housing supply, in the years that that is happening, we're not losing our families in the process and we're able to stem displacement right now."

This segment aired on August 4, 2021.

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Tiziana Dearing Host, Radio Boston
Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston.


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Amanda Beland Senior Producer
Amanda Beland is a producer and director for Radio Boston. She also reports for the WBUR newsroom.



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