February 27, 2024

Politics

Louijeune stated she was targeted on rejecting the dichotomy between an “previous” and a “new” Boston as she assumed the function of council president.

Boston Metropolis Council President Ruthzee Louijeune seems to be on after being sworn in at Faneuil Corridor on Jan. 1, 2024. Sophie Park/Boston Globe

On Monday, a brand new Boston Metropolis Council was sworn in. 4 members joined the physique, and At-Giant Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune assumed the function of council president from Ed Flynn.

Louijeune, the daughter of Haitian immigrants who grew up in Mattapan and Hyde Park, attended Boston Public Colleges earlier than shifting on to Columbia College and Harvard College. As a lawyer, Louijeune has in depth expertise representing households who face eviction and in voting rights circumstances. She served because the senior legal professional on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential marketing campaign, and was elected to Metropolis Council in November 2021.

Final yr, Louijeune earned reward and noticed her profile rise after guiding Metropolis Council by means of the ultimate phases of a contentious redistricting course of. Now, she is ready to guide her colleagues by means of what guarantees to be one other momentous yr.

Boston.com caught up with Louijeune this week to get her ideas on therapeutic divisions throughout the Metropolis Council, priorities for the brand new yr, de-stressing strategies, and extra.

In your remarks on Monday, you spoke about rejecting the dichotomy of an “previous” and “new” Boston and a “zero sum mentality.” Inform us about why you felt this concept was price together with so prominently, and the way you’ll work to struggle towards that dichotomy.

RL: All of us lose one thing once we imagine in a system that should create winners and losers. A zero sum mentality has too usually hampered fights for progress. Folks opposed college desegregation out of concern that equal alternative for one group would jeopardize the training of one other, and cities throughout the nation closed their swimming pools somewhat than permitting Black youngsters entry. I don’t imagine in a system of winners and losers; we do the work of fairness by specializing in teams which have confronted historic discrimination, however we’re not leaving anybody behind.

For instance, the Pryde constructing in Hyde Park is changing into an LGBTQ+ pleasant inexpensive housing growth; this doesn’t imply it is going to be completely for LGBTQ+ individuals, however will affirm residents who do belong to the neighborhood. We’re dedicated to inexpensive housing for everybody, however we all know LGBTQ+ people face specific challenges in accessing inexpensive housing, so we work to interrupt down these limitations whereas growing entry to housing for everybody.

As highlighted in your remarks, you’re the third Black girl to guide the Metropolis Council, following Andrea Campbell and Kim Janey. Have you ever spoken to them in regards to the place? What recommendation have they got for you?

RL: I’ve spoken to each of them, they usually have offered invaluable knowledge as I start the function of Metropolis Council president. One among their fundamental items of recommendation was to verify I maintain on to what’s actual. All three of us are girls of religion, and that guides the work we do. I’ll proceed to lean on them for steering and assist as I navigate this new function.

During the last yr, many residents expressed frustration over the Metropolis Council’s seeming lack of ability to work collaboratively amid underlying racial and political divisions. Have been these frustrations justified? What could be achieved to assuage residents who’ve misplaced religion within the Metropolis Council?

RL: It is a new Metropolis Council, and I’m excited to work with my colleagues to advertise collaboration and construct bridges. There have been situations over the previous two years the place the council has misplaced public belief. In fact, we may have moments the place we disagree, and have wholesome debate — as we should always.

We’ve got political variations, we’re a various physique with completely different lived experiences that form our views and so there are going to be plenty of approaches to progress. My purpose is for us to regain that belief by means of collegiality, transparency, and most significantly, the work we on the council will do collectively on behalf of the residents of Boston.

You and your colleagues have plenty of work forward, on many points. Should you might single out one matter or drawback as being probably the most pressing to you, what would it not be? What can members of the general public look towards as the primary steps to creating progress on this space?

RL: Boston is within the midst of a housing disaster, and we should act to assist our residents combating inexpensive housing. I’m keen to construct on my work as chair of the Committee on Civil Rights and Immigrant Development and vice chair of the Committee of Housing and Neighborhood Improvement, the place I secured funds for honest housing testers, elevated housing assist for susceptible populations, partnered with neighborhood land trusts to forestall displacement of tenants, and spearheaded initiatives for inexpensive homeownership.

Different prime priorities embody strengthening waste assortment all through Boston, making certain each Boston Public Faculty pupil has the instruments for achievement in resilient, climate-friendly buildings that affirm their dignity, and dealing with our unions to make sure Boston helps the rights of employees. I’m additionally dedicated to supporting the problems necessary to my colleagues on the council and aiding them in representing and advocating for our constituents.

Your life as a metropolis councilor should be very busy and worrying. How do you discover steadiness in your life? Do you have got techniques that you just use to de-stress? Do you have got any enjoyable hobbies you could dive into in your free time?

RL: Most significantly, I spend time with family members. I like hanging out with my household, my mates, and their youngsters. I additionally love trying out new eating places, going to concert events, and going to my favourite spots in my neighborhood and all through Boston. Once I can, I wish to get out into nature and go mountaineering within the Blue Hills or bike alongside Southwest Hall Park. And, after all, I like catching a Celtics recreation. Bleed GREEN!