The Lit Drop: Wu talks housing in Dot, unions endorse candidates

Councillor Michelle Wu spoke in front of a home on Dorchester’s Edson Street on Wed., June 16 to tout her housing plans. Rebeca Pereira photo

In Dorchester, Wu pitches housing plans

With Boston set to take in $500 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, mayoral candidate Wu is pushing for $200 million to go toward community land trusts, repairs of the city’s public housing, and expanding access to homeownership.

Roughly a third of Boston residents own their homes and half of households that lease pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent, according to her campaign.

Wu, who appeared on Dorchester’s Edson Street to tout her housing plans, called the federal funds a “once in a generation chance to invest” in housing and other infrastructure. She is the only mayoral candidate among the six to back a full return to rent control, which was banned across Massachusetts in the 1990s through a statewide ballot.

“Everywhere across the city, at every event, knocking on doors, out in the community, housing tis he number one stressor that families are facing,” Wu told the Reporter before the event. “Affordability has been a deepening crisis in Boston long before Covid-19, and the pandemic has really pushed it to the forefront of what our recovery has to focus on.”

Funds should also go toward transportation grants to boost transit-oriented development, she said.

Looking ahead, Wu said city officials can integrate and co-locate affordable housing when redeveloping libraries, school buildings and municipal parking lots.

Unions issue raft of endorsements

Joel Richards scored a plum endorsement on Friday in the contest to succeed Andrea Campbell as the city councillor in District 4. The Boston Teachers Union, which counts more than 10,000 men and women in its ranks, tapped Richards for the seat, citing his experience as a public school educator and a union organizer.

Richards lives in Dorchester with his wife and two sons.

“As a Boston Public Schools teacher, I have taught in schools that were underfunded, overcrowded, and constantly understaffed,” said Richards, who is one of about a dozen people running for the district seat, which includes parts of Dorchester and Mattapan.

The Teachers Union has also endorsed At-Large City Councillor Julia Mejia for re-election, as well as candidate Ruthzee Louijeune. There are four City Council At-Large slots, and more than a dozen candidates vying for the jobs.

Louijeune, who worked on Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign, also picked up the endorsement of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, a union representing 23,000 people in 85 health care facilities.

The nurses’ union also backed City Council At-Large candidates Erin Murphy, a former Boston Public Schools teacher, and David Halbert, a former City Hall staffer.

Meanwhile, Alex Gray, who served in Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration as public policy aide, picked up endorsements from former Lt. Gov. Tim Murray and Jay Gonzalez, Patrick’s former budget chief who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018.

Reporter Editor Bill Forry contributed to this report.

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