Boston City Councilor and mayoral candidate Michelle Wu joined Boston Public Radio on Friday to make her pitch for the city's top executive seat. Wu is running among a historic field of candidates of color and women: fellow city councilors Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi George and acting Mayor Kim Janey, and former economic development director John Barros.

Wu told hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan she has the unique perspective of "living the stakes" of many Bostonians — living in a multigenerational household with her mother and raising her children in the public school system — while also having a decade of experience in City Hall.

On mandating COVID-19 vaccines

Acting Mayor Kim Janey said she is "leaning towards" a mandate for city workers, but has not yet done so. Wu said she supports mandating vaccines for all city workers, including school employees.

"The administration needs to catch up: City Council has already moved forward with a vaccine mandate for city council staff, under the leadership of our council president pro tempore Matt O'Malley and we need to see that across our city, and I also support making sure we're protecting workers in public places like restaurants and theaters, especially when we're getting into the colder months when people are going to go back indoors for activities. This is urgent," she said.

Wu said she also supports mandating vaccinations for places like gyms and restaurants, but with the help of city resources to move the burden of enforcement away from businesses and workers.

"I support proof of vaccination, but ensuring the city of Boston’s not just putting the burden on local businesses to be the front lines of enforcing it as well, we need to step in, bulk up our public health infrastructure, and ensure we are creating the information, public awareness campaigns, leaning in so we can really be a partner."

On rent control

Wu is singular for her long-standing, outspoken support for rent control as a means to cap yearly rent increases. Rent control was abolished state-wide by a 1994 voter referendum. But there's a growing state-wide push to allow individual cities and towns to set their own rent control policies.

"Rent stabilization is the ability for city government to have an impact and protect our tenants, who make up two-thirds of residents across the city," she said. "This is something that has arbitrarily been taken out of local control."

Wu noted that rent control alone won't be enough to solve the housing crisis; she supports more development too.

"It does provide immediate emergency relief for families that would otherwise be pushed out of our city," she said. "We need to end displacement while we’re boosting supply."

On reforming the way Boston approves developments

Wu has called for the Boston Planning and Development Agency, or BPDA, to be abolished, because it is so deeply politicized.

The BPDA, said Wu, is "opaque."

"We’re still working off a zoning code that hasn’t been updated in a comprehensive citywide way since 1965," Wu said. "Politically, that means that every single project has to come before city government, seek permission to get a waiver from that outdated code, and that's the chance for local entities to squeeze this or that concession or payment out of that," she said.

"It means," she added, "we get a mishmash of what happens across the city, and we're not seeing development delivering the resources that it should to close gaps around racial equity, transportation access and climate resiliency."

On Patrick Rose

"We are not close to having accountability on this case, and I really want to emphasize that this is not the end of what we should be aiming for," Wu said.

Wu then pivoted to structural change within the Boston Police Department's history, like reworking the contract to whittle down baked-in overtime costs and ensuring accountability beyond Rose's case.

"I'm pushing for Boston to lead the way," said Wu, "in terms of moving to a public health-led response, shifting items away from armed law enforcement particularly when it comes to mental illness, homelessness and substance abuse or overdose calls."

Wu called for a national search for the next permanent police commissioner, to be appointed by whomever is elected mayor.