This moment is a call to action. To me, that means thinking big about how to build a more resilient, healthy, and fair Boston, and then having the courage and political will to fight for all of our families. We can make real investments in education, food access, and good jobs. We can build wealth in our communities by closing the racial wealth gap and supporting small businesses and local entrepreneurship.
Our policy platform is more than a vision. It’s a promise to Boston residents—a commitment to take on our hardest challenges, and to center our efforts on the pursuit of racial, economic, and climate justice.
Whether it’s as basic as fixing administrative processes or as broad as writing new legislation, using policy to change systems has been at the core of my time in public service. In partnership with community, we’ve shaped some of the most impactful policy discussions in our city. Over my seven years on the City Council, I’ve authored and passed legislation to deliver for families across the city, from guaranteeing paid parental leave, language access, and healthcare equity, to ramping up renewable energy and reforming city contracting.
Each day I am reminded that the only way to act with the scale and urgency that this moment demands is to make government as accessible and transparent as possible, so that democracy, community, and advocacy drives everything that we do together.
Safe, healthy, accessible, affordable housing is a human right. Yet in Boston, a stable home has become a luxury not everyone can afford. Only about one-third of Boston residents own their own home, and half of Boston’s renters are rent-burdened. As COVID-19 devastated communities already struggling with displacement and rising rents, tens of thousands of Boston families are living in fear of the impending evictions crisis. Michelle will fight for resources to create truly affordable housing and end chronic homelessness, zoning reforms to prioritize fair housing and affordable homes for families, protections to stabilize tenants, and ways to expand permanent affordability, such as community land trusts. Michelle will prioritize housing stability for Boston families.
As a Boston Public Schools parent, Michelle knows personally how our schools are at the very heart of our community and our future in the City of Boston. In this moment, school communities are facing unprecedented upheaval and uncertainty. Boston students, teachers, and families deserve a system that is responsive to their needs and provides the type of support that enables everyone to succeed. Our system should be structured and led by anti-racist policies that undermine structural inequities rather than perpetuate them.
Black and brown communities, through institutional racism and discriminatory policies such as redlining and segregation, have been systematically denied the rights and access to build generational wealth. In Boston, the median net worth of a white family is $247,500, while the median net worth of a Black family is just $8. The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the racial wealth gap even more. Michelle has been fighting for shared prosperity through aligning city contracting to close the racial wealth gap and policies for racial and economic justice.
Safe, reliable, affordable, and sustainable transportation is the foundation for shared prosperity and health. We need proactive city leadership to fix our broken transportation system: Boston currently has the worst traffic in the country, and Black bus riders spend 64 more hours on average each year on stalled buses than white riders. Michelle is fighting for transportation policies built on economic, racial, and climate justice, from dedicated bus lanes, to pedestrian safety, fare-free transit, safe cycling infrastructure, and easing traffic congestion.
Shaping development across the city for equity and resiliency is one of the most powerful roles of city government. But without comprehensive planning and responsive zoning, Boston’s development decisions are based on special approvals and exceptions after a complex and opaque public process. Not only do we fall short in transparency and accountability, but we are missing out on the potential to harness development to address our growing crises of unaffordability, climate vulnerability, inequality, and traffic. Michelle is committed to overhauling our development processes to empower planning that prioritizes the stability and resiliency of our communities.
Small businesses are the backbone of Boston’s economy, serving as cultural hubs in our neighborhoods, economic engines for families across the city, and one of the most important ways to build wealth in our communities. As a former small business owner, Michelle has been standing up for entrepreneurs and breaking down barriers so locally-owned businesses can thrive, starting with streamlining processes for small business permitting and licensing, and reforming city contracting and procurement to align with our goals to close the racial wealth gap and support worker cooperatives. Michelle will help build Boston’s economic recovery to center local small businesses, their workforce, and the communities they serve.
Boston boasts world-class hospitals and serves as a hub of medical innovation and industry, but the thriving health care economy has not always translated to adequate care for all of our residents. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and widened Boston’s deep health disparities by race and neighborhood, further afflicting communities already burdened with exposure to gun violence and environmental hazards, and further destabilizing residents struggling with homelessness and the opioid epidemic. Michelle is fighting for the access and resources to ensure the health of every family and the resilience of our public health infrastructure.
Whether in our schools or on our streets, public safety should be built around restorative justice and community trust. From ending gun violence and domestic violence, to reforming our crisis response infrastructure, building wellness in our city means dismantling racism in our institutions and setting a new standard for accountability and community oversight.
Economic justice starts with a commitment to worker power, workplace safety, and livable wages. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, standing up for labor rights has life and death consequences. Boston’s economy and our economic recovery should be built on good, green jobs, made truly accessible when we tackle the struggles facing working families, from lack of affordable child care options to housing insecurity. Michelle is focused on confronting wealth inequality and building economic prosperity through a commitment to labor rights.
With bold leadership and vision, Boston has the potential to be a worldwide beacon for climate action and environmental justice. In partnership with community activists and organizations, Michelle has proposed the first comprehensive city-level Green New Deal agenda of its kind, laying out an ambitious policy roadmap for delivering the kinds of structural changes we need in order to provide our kids a future built on sustainable energy, good jobs, and healthy, connected communities.
Growing up, the arts were central to Michelle’s immigrant family, grounding her in culture, heritage, and community. In her time as City Councilor, Michelle has served as Chair of the Arts, Culture & Special Events committee and helped oversee the formation of several of Boston’s cultural districts, as well as the Boston Creates plan. As Mayor, Michelle will be a champion for Boston’s diverse, vibrant arts and cultural sector that stretches across each of our city’s neighborhoods.