This is why I'm running.
Like many people, the thought of running for office has always appealed to me. I loved the idea of shaping my community, solving problems, helping people, and being in the room where decisions are made. With a full-time job as an administrator at MIT, two young girls who keep my wife and me very busy, and an old house that is constantly calling for attention, it would have been easy to sit on the sidelines a bit longer. But I was inspired to get involved by some recent developments:
Quincy is in the midst of a huge revitalization. We are seeing unprecedented investment by the city and by real estate developers. If we are not careful, we could wake up to find a city completely stuffed with high-end apartments, a few restaurants, no parking, and absolute grid-lock. I promise this now, I will meet with any real-estate developer who wants to sit down with me, but I will not take one cent from a real-estate development company in this campaign.
In the past several years we have seen our hospital shut down, the last remaining theater gone, and Quincy Center's MBTA parking garage sitting condemned for about five years. We are building new schools because the population demands it, but what is being added to enrich the cultural fabric of Quincy? Quincy needs to not just make room for housing, but it needs to bring back businesses that enrich the life here. We need arts festivals, more farmer's markets, library improvements, maker spaces, and the other amenities you'll find in small towns around Boston.
And now that Quincy is revitalizing, the MBTA has deemed us worthy for some long needed attention. They are working to refurbish all four Quincy stations with hundreds of millions in projects. The MBTA is doing many of these major projects in parallel with what seems to be little regard for the impact on Quincy residents. State Sen. John Keenan even remarked "It’s not going to be easy. We’ve just got to get through it.” To appropriate the hit show, Game of Thrones: "Winter is coming" and it will be up to the mayor and the city council to be a check on the MBTA to make sure the their budgets and convenience are not serviced over the needs of Quincy's residents.
And finally, I was bothered by a sequence of events that recently occurred within the city council. Councilor Nina Liang was trying to pass a motion to discuss whether or not Quincy should be a 'sanctuary city.' I was grateful to the councilor for facing what is a very relevant and sensitive issue many communities in this country are facing. I was inspired to start drafting a letter to my ward councilor, asking her to support councilor Liang's motion. I regret that I did not write fast enough. Within a few weeks, I was dismayed that the city council objected to the motion and then voted against the discussion before joking about it. I encourage everyone to follow Patriot Ledger reporter, Sean Phillip Cotter's coverage of this situation and Quincy as a whole.
I was not outraged that people were against Quincy becoming a 'sanctuary city'; though I and others believe Quincy should make this designation. What I found outrageous was the lack of leadership by our city council. Of course, I can understand why some people would feel differently. But, I believe as a city with a rich history of immigrants and a population that is nearly 30% foreign born, our citizens deserve, at very least, an informed discussion. You'll find more about my stance on this in my issues page.
At this pivotal point in Quincy's development, I believe Quincy needs courageous leadership with a view towards making Quincy a complete city. While it is a time of great investment, it is not time to let the developers and the MBTA to cash-in at the expense of Quincy's citizens. I hope I get to meet all of you while I campaign and together we can do our part to make Quincy's development citizen-focused.