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Lokvani Talks To John Barros

Anil Saigal and Ranjani Saigal

Lokvani had a chance to talk to John Barros, candidate for the Mayor of Boston.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your platform?

I have a long track record of enacting positive change by creating jobs, helping small business owners, building affordable housing, and expanding economic opportunities for women, people of color, immigrants, and working people of all backgrounds. I can bring the city together and achieve our most important goals: from a strong recovery from COVID, to powerful investments in public education, affordable homes, and racial justice. I have a plan to tackle our biggest challenges in a holistic and forward-thinking way; and with the values of equity, justice, and sustainability embedded into everything we do. This is how we will become a stronger community where people are empowered to thrive at every stage of life, and in every way that they interact with the city around them. 

2. What are top three things people should know about you

- I am the only candidate in this race with the executive management skills needed to implement the policies needed to transform Boston. 

- I am a small business owner and know firsthand the hardships that small businesses owners have faced in the last year and a half. However, that also means I have the experience and skills to uplift our small business owners and ensure that they have all the resources that Boston has to offer at their fingertips.

- I’m also the only candidate to have built housing and schools in Boston. As Executive Director of Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, I built hundreds of permanently affordable homes, as well as parks, urban food infrastructure, and a 10,000 sq.ft. green house for the community. I also helped lead a collaborative effort to design, fund and build three new schools in the Boston Public School system.

3. What special Asian American issues are of interest to you? 

1. Affordable housing: Everyone deserves safe, quality, and stable housing, and it’s no secret that AAPI communities have lower rates of homeownership. As mayor, I will help to break down barriers to housing and building wealth that the AAPI community faces by building on the City’s homeownership programs and mortgage products, so more Asian American families have access to the stability that homeownership brings and support legislation that will address discrimination in the real estate industry.

- Strengthening AAPI-owned small businesses: Asian Americans have helped to build Boston, invest in Boston, and shape our future. As Mayor, I will increase financial wellness measures, business resources, and access to capital for AAPI small business owners.  

- Education: Prioritizing public education is one of the most powerful ways to address inequality and become an equitable, just city. I have a plan to build world-class schools in every neighborhood, fully fund them, and deliver opportunities for the next generation in every corner of our city. I will also have a plan to revitalize Madison Park Vocational High School and develop a City College system for Boston to ensure that our young Asian American adults have all the tools they need to thrive in our workforce. 

- Climate resilience and environmental justice: Boston’s Chinatown is one of the most polluted and environmentally vulnerable neighborhoods in the city. As mayor, I will prioritize investments in climate resilience strategies and stormwater management to protect Chinatown and surrounding neighborhoods, and support efforts to lower Boston’s emissions through the decarbonization of Boston’s largest buildings and increase multi-modal transportation options to improve air quality and overall health.

4. What makes you the best candidate in the race?

I’m running for Mayor because I care deeply about the future of our city. I’ve dedicated my life and career to serving the Boston community, and I have decades of experience in executive leadership and public service. I became a youth organizer at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative at the age of 14 and every day, since then, I have worked to make Boston a city where everyone can find opportunity and no one is left behind. 

If elected, I will be the first Black man to serve as Boston's Mayor. I’m ready to address social inequities and make Boston more inclusive for immigrants, people of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQIA+ community. I am the only candidate in the race with the executive and management experience needed to implement the plans that our City needs right now. 

Finally, I have the experience, implementation track record, and leadership style to hit the ground running on Day 1 and lead meaningful, transformative change for the people of Boston by making sure everyone has a seat at the table and Boston truly works for everyone.

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