Council Candidates Weigh In On Activism And Education

By WGBH News


Oct. 18, 2011

sean ryan and ayanna pressley
Boston City Council challenger Sean Ryan and Councilor Ayanna Pressley are running for two of four At-Large seats. (Danielle Dreilinger/WGBH)

BOSTON — Schools and the Occupy Boston movement topped the list for three Boston City Council candidates in a radio roundtable with Callie Crossley on October 18.
Challenger Sean Ryan and sitting councilors at-large Ayanna Pressley and John Connolly are three of seven candidates vying for the four At-Large seats November 8. The race is heated, and the results could transform the dynamics and diversity of Boston’s lawmaking body.
This is Ryan's third bid to get on the Council. Connolly and Pressley are campaigning as a pair and pooling their resources for reelection.
All three candidates expressed sympathy with the Occupy Boston protesters camped in Dewey Square.
"I've been down to Occupy Boston five times. One day I spent about five hours just interviewing everybody, because I wanted to find out what they were saying. I admire what they're doing. This reminds me of stories I heard from my parents who were somewhat politically active, the way a lot of kids were, back in the '60s and '70s due to the [Vietnam] war."
"This [Occupy Boston] is the form of government closest to community, so we need to be working with and for them. So I hope they'll come to City Hall, and I also hope they register to vote."

John Connolly
Boston City Councilor John Connolly (Danielle Dreilinger/WGBH)

"I've run into a lot of folks out there saying negative things about the folks down there . . . [such as] 'Look, these are spoiled college kids,' or something like that. And yet, I find the commentary from Occupy Boston and the commentary from the folks who've criticized them — when you get beyond “What do you think of that” — to be the same. It's a huge frustration at the imbalance in our society with corporate greed."
These candidates must appeal not to one neighborhood but to the entire city. Each laid out his or her agenda for the campaign.
“I run on a message of working for one Boston. I think within that context we take all of our individual neighborhoods and their individual needs and priorities and look for the common ground across. And for me, for four years on the City Council, that’s meant going to work every day focusing on improving our Boston public schools. . . . The quality of our schools is directly indexed to the quality of life in our city. If we have great schools we’re going to have great quality of life in our neighborhoods.”
“My agenda is about combating poverty and violence cycles. And I believe that that is an agenda that is neighborhood transcendent and strengthens the entire city. Even if you’re not personally impacted we’re all affected. The cornerstone of that work for me is about the stabilization of our families. And I mean every family. . . . Our families are hurting. All of them.”
“I have a three-S platform: schools, services and safety. I’m a schoolteacher as well and I attended public schools starting at the age of 4 here in Boston. . . but I don’t agree with all of the policies that are being offered to parents these days. Especially the busing is something that we really should be talking about because in a time when we have less money. . .  we need to be thrifty. We need to do more with less.”
Crossley will interview the remaining four At-Large candidates during the week of October 24.

Check out the candidates on Twitter:

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