Henry Santana, 28, is initially from the Dominican Republic, however grew up in Mission Hill.
Santana previously labored as Director of Metropolis of Boston’s Workplace of Civic Organizing, and is looking for his first time period as metropolis councilor at massive.
We surveyed Santana on his priorities and a number of the most urgent points going through the Boston Metropolis Council this election season, based mostly on enter from our readers.
The next responses have been frivolously edited for readability.
What are two of your high priorities that you simply wish to tackle?
My high priorities as a candidate for Boston Metropolis Council are housing and public security.
Rising up as an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, entry to public housing was key to making sure my household was in a position to keep right here and thrive in Boston.
I do know firsthand the difficulties of securing housing and can advocate for funding for reasonably priced housing initiatives, assist neighborhood land trusts, and promote insurance policies that forestall displacement and guarantee housing stability.
Gun violence has had a devastating influence on communities in Boston. I’ll prioritize the implementation of evidence-based methods to scale back gun violence and make sure the security of our neighborhoods.
This contains supporting community-based violence prevention applications, advocating for stricter enforcement of gun legal guidelines, investing in youth employment and academic alternatives, and strengthening partnerships between legislation enforcement and neighborhood organizations.
What options would you assist relating to the world of Mass and Cass and the underlying problems with dependancy, psychological well being, and homelessness?
We’re seeing the influence of the opioid epidemic right here in Boston, Massachusetts and throughout the nation.
The intersecting crises of psychological well being, substance use, and unsheltered homelessness at Mass. and Cass space is a humanitarian situation that needs to be handled with care and urgency.
So as to tackle this, I assist initiatives that prioritize entry to housing and remedy for these battling dependancy. This contains leveraging metropolis and state sources to make sure entry to transitional housing and remedy applications can be found for these in want.
On the identical time, working with neighbors, companies and neighborhood companions, together with metropolis companies and first responders, is important to making sure the general security and cleanliness of the neighborhood.
By fostering collaboration, we will create a holistic and equitable response that helps people and addresses systemic causes.
How can housing in Boston be extra reasonably priced and inclusive of all communities whereas mitigating gentrification?
Public housing allowed my household to place down roots in Boston and have actual stability. I would like that sort of housing stability for each Bostonian.
As an adolescent and a renter, I do know we want extra reasonably priced leases and actual paths to reasonably priced homeownership. We should leverage private and non-private land to extend the availability of reasonably priced housing.
Boston ought to put money into a spread of housing fashions, together with social and cooperative housing, in addition to supportive and low-threshold housing choices for residents experiencing homelessness.
We should additionally require builders to construct extra deeply reasonably priced items, by way of an enhanced IDP coverage and by higher imposing our “Affirmatively Furthering Honest Housing” zoning provision.
We also needs to work with house owners of vacant business buildings to transform them to housing. To guard tenants, I’ll advocate for hire stabilization measures and sturdy tenant protections.
With the rental market persevering with to push residents out, it’s essential that we use each instrument obtainable to stop unjust evictions and unfair hire hikes that result in displacement.
By actively involving residents in native decision-making, we will additionally make sure that growth aligns with neighborhood wants and aspirations, whereas additionally mitigating dangers of displacement.
What does town have to do to handle gun violence and enhance public security?
Public security wants to come back first in each determination we make as a metropolis. In Boston, each single incident of violence impacts so many residents and households and ripples by way of our communities.
Making certain that each resident, each household is related to top quality sources and providers is a high precedence of mine.
We should additionally urgently work to get weapons off the road whereas addressing the foundation causes of violence – poverty, lack of pathways to alternative and systemic racism.
I may even advocate for main investments in youth applications, summer time and afterschool initiatives, that are key in empowering our younger individuals to succeed in their full potential and connecting them with protected areas and alternatives.
Moreover, we have to proceed to do all we will to construct extra belief between our cops, first responders and neighborhood members.
Group policing fashions that prioritize dialogue, problem-solving, and constructing relationships can improve public security.
By investing in providers, public security companies, financial alternative and sturdy neighborhood partnerships, we will be sure residents throughout Boston are protected and really feel protected throughout each neighborhood.
How would you enhance Boston’s roads and public transit?
For Boston’s roads and public transit to work, we have to put money into enhancing transportation on a metropolis stage and advocate for an MBTA system that’s protected and dependable.
As a Metropolis Councilor At-Giant, I’ll proceed to push the T for higher service and work carefully with Boston’s newly chosen MBTA board consultant, Mary Skelton Roberts, to make sure we’re getting outcomes.
On the identical time, we have to make our roads protected for everybody who makes use of them, particularly pedestrians and cyclists, by way of crucial infrastructure enhancements.
I additionally assist lively engagement with communities to supply bikes, helmets, bike share entry, classes and bike repairs for residents to encourage and empower lively transit in all of our neighborhoods, particularly low-income, and communities of shade.
Many readers say they’ve misplaced religion within the Boston Metropolis Council. How would you’re employed to regain their belief?
I’m working for Boston Metropolis Council At-Giant as a result of I consider that our metropolis wants leaders who’re laser centered on getting issues carried out and dedicated to creating a greater future for each resident.
I’m decided to make use of my voice and my platform to advocate for insurance policies that promote fairness, justice, and alternative, and to working collaboratively with everybody to construct a stronger, extra resilient metropolis.
My profession has been devoted to giving again to my neighborhood, serving to our most weak, and provoking the subsequent technology. I’ve over 15 years of expertise with the Mission Hill Summer time Program, have served constituents in Councilor Kenzie Bok’s workplace, and served beneath Mayor Wu because the Metropolis’s first-ever Director of Civic Organizing.
I understand how native authorities works and have collaborated with residents, neighborhood teams, and elected officers regardless of their views or positions for years throughout all neighborhoods to ship wonderful constituent providers, arrange neighborhood occasions, and make an actual distinction within the lives of our residents.
As your Boston Metropolis Councilor At-Giant, I’ll work tirelessly to take away boundaries, amplify the voices of marginalized communities, and advocate for insurance policies that uplift and empower all Bostonians.
Collectively, we will make Boston a metropolis the place each resident has entry to what they should thrive. A Boston the place all of us work collectively to construct town our households deserve.
It’s time for a brand new technology of progressive management in Metropolis Corridor that’s centered on combating for households and getting issues carried out for all of Boston’s residents.
Discover out extra about Henry Santana on his web site and social media.
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