Losing one seat in the US House of Representatives, while troubling, pales in comparison to the chasm in District 7 following Chuck Turner’s conviction and subsequent removal from the Boston City Council. Tip O’Neil’s adage “All politics is local” rings painfully true!
Demographic shifts will no doubt put some of the increases squarely in neighborhoods of color like District 7.
Admittedly, redistricting efforts meant to empower historically disenfranchised groups from the political process and remove any bias favoring incumbent or monolithic political agendas is a good thing. Our democracy is stronger from such efforts. It’s why neighborhoods of color have more political clout, or why a person of color is the leader of the free world.
But with power comes great responsibility. In his first radio address of 2011, President Barack Obama said it was “time to make some serious decisions about how to keep our economy strong, growing and competitive in the long run.”
One could argue this was the right political move given the results of the last mid-term elections and the swearing in of the 112th Congress. But we know better. How will we attract the companies of tomorrow to set up shop and create jobs in our communities? What will it take to get those jobs? And, what will it take to out-compete other countries around the world?
These are fair questions to ask ourselves, leaders and would-be leaders. The president has asked and will be thoughtfully looking for answers.
In a recent National Pubic Radio interview, Jim Kessler of the policy think tank Third Way, said that “the Democratic Party has to shift from being a party primarily concerned with economic security and dividing up the pie to one that is primarily concerned with economic growth and expanding the pie.”
Thinking locally, we could ask if we’re really expanding the pie in Dudley Square, Jackson Square or Bartlett Place, or if our focus is still on the safety net. If continued lack of for-profit business investment, an ever-growing, nonprofit service sector and failing schools is any indication, much work remains.
Sorting through the throng of candidates vying for the District 7 councilor seat, while daunting, can be boiled down to a few questions: What is your plan for an economically vibrant District 7? Who are the critical players to execute your plan? How will you execute your plan and what makes you uniquely qualified to oversee this plan?
The future of District 7 hangs in the balance with no voice, so we’re eager to hear!
In the Banner’s Jan. 6 edition, the Roving Camera erroneously misplaced the quotes and photographs of Kendall Mill and Kenyia Elisa-McLaren. We regret the errors.