Liz Breadon is a strong progressive leader for Boston with a vision for an inclusive, equitable and resilient community where all can thrive. An immigrant from Northern Ireland, Liz is an activist and community builder in Allston-Brighton, her home for 25 years, where she lives with her spouse Mary McCarthy. In 2019 Liz became the first openly LGBTQ+ woman elected to Boston City Council. As a physical therapist, Liz gained a deep understanding of what people of all backgrounds and abilities need to thrive. Liz is a passionate advocate for the community, championing affordable housing, sustainable development, climate resiliency, reliable transportation, fair labor practices, safe streets, excellent schools, and good jobs.
Boston Candidate Science Survey Response
Below are the survey responses from the candidate. To ensure the candidate’s voice comes through to the voters, the content of the answers are unedited.
Technology + Society
As the City uses more advanced technology to monitor city services and communicate with residents, how will you ensure citizens’ privacy rights as increasing numbers of monitoring devices are installed around the city? What will you do to make sure that the data collected will be used for the benefit of all Bostonians?
This is a huge subject and needs to be regulated at the state and federal level. I would support regulations similar to those in Europe which focus on protecting the individual. Technology, such as the 311 app, has improved city services. Demographic data can help us make sure that we are meeting our goals to be an equitable and inclusive city. As we collect data of all sorts from Bostonians, we need to be diligent in protecting personal data so that citizen’s privacy rights are protected. I will support initiatives to build these protections into all data collection programs.
What are your policy priorities to address the ongoing climate crisis? How will you ensure climate resiliency projects are distributed equitably among communities, especially in low-income neighborhoods? What are your policy priorities to protect areas of the city that are vulnerable to sea level rise (i.e. South Boston, Back Bay, Downtown, East Boston, Charlestown, Dorchester, Seaport)?
Climate resilience is one of my key priorities. In my first term I got 1.3M in funding for restoration for parks and ponds. My district, #9, Allston-Brighton, is on the Charles River and is directly affected by the rise in sea level and at risk for increased flooding. Increasingly intense weather events with increased precipitation also create a risk of flooding due to storm water. I am a proponent of building bioswales and permeable hardscape to absorb stormwater and keep it out of the sewer system. I support sustainable development and a master plan for Allston-Brighton and other Boston neighborhoods so we can design and implement policies that improve our climate resilience.
What are your policy priorities to protect areas that are vulnerable to increased temperatures during the summer months due to the urban heat island effect? Given that trees and an urban canopy have been shown to mitigate excess heat, how would you support the implementation of the Urban Forest Plan for Boston?
My District, # 9, Allston-Brighton, like much of Boston, is at risk for increased heat island effect due to increased development which is resulting in a loss of greenspace and tree canopy necessary to keep us cool. I support an urban tree plan for Boston and programs that help communities add trees and maintain them.I support sustainable development and a master plan for Allston-Brighton and other Boston neighborhoods so we can design and implement policies that improve our climate resilience.
What should the role of science and scientists be in government, policy, and decision-making? How does science fit into your agenda for Boston?
Science informed and data-based policies are important for our community’s health and wellbeing. I believe that city government should use scientific research to inform policies and decision making.
Misinformation has been cited as one of the reasons for vaccine hesitancy against the COVID-19 virus. How do you propose the City improve messaging in order to promote science-based actions and combat misinformation, not just for COVID-19, but also broadly?
The government at all levels has a responsibility to share the best information with the community to improve outcomes. We need to invest in the public health infrastructure and community health workers at the neighborhood level to improve health literacy and empower people to make better health decisions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted disparities in healthcare access for different neighborhoods in Boston. As of June 29, 2021, we know that only 38% of residents in Mattapan were fully vaccinated compared to over 70% of South End residents. How can ideas about distributing vaccines, challenging misinformation related to healthcare, and tackling language barriers be applied more broadly to form a more equitable healthcare system? What policy changes should be made to both prevent and respond to future pandemics or health crises in a more effective way?
I believe that healthcare is a right and that we should remove barriers that make it difficult for various populations to access health care services. Providing services in the community and information in multiple languages are two important strategies that I support to ensure broad access to services. A top-down approach rather than a community based approach meant that the people in Boston with better internet access were able to get their vaccines earlier. We need to address the digital divide in healthcare and education so that low-income communities and non-English speakers can easily access healthcare at the same time as other better resourced communities.
How, if at all, has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your positions on education policies? What should the City’s role be in ensuring public schools are equitably funded and serve the needs of our children?
I believe that all children deserve an excellent education. We have an obligation to make every student’s experience positive by investing in ALL of our schools and holding them ALL to high standards. COVID-19 high-lighted the need for universal access to the internet and technology for all students, especially low income students. Universal pre-K and affordable childcare are essential infrastructure to support families and children and ensure that they achieve their full potential.
Boston’s technology, innovation, and scientific research ecosystem has long made it a hub that attracts a diverse group of people and talent from around the world. How can the city maintain and foster its international status as a technological hub and attract immigrant scientists to strengthen the diversity, culture, and economic activity of Boston?
I am an immigrant from Northern Ireland and I know first-hand what it means to feel welcome and at home in Boston as a newcomer. Many new Bostonians are refugees who need support with ESOL classes, citizenship and job training to fully integrate into the workforce. Many are well trained scientists and professionals who need pathways to contribute. We need to provide good STEM education in our schools so children of immigrants in Boston can become the next generation of scientists.
What is your plan to strengthen the Boston scientific research and technology enterprise to benefit our economy? How can you ensure that the economic benefits of investing in science and technology reach all Bostonians?
The key to economic advancement in our communities of color is to ensure that our BPS students and residents of Boston have a pipeline to train workers in the emerging bio-science economy and get them good paying jobs.
Food + Agriculture
What policies do you propose for the City to maximize land use in the city for green spaces and community access to gardens or farms? How can your administration bring more transparency to this process and connect community groups to the resources they need to support sustainable urban farming?
Local access to food and agriculture is an essential component of a sustainable future in a time of climate change. The city can donate land for urban farming and advocate for other anchor institutions like universities and hospitals to donate land. The city and these other institutions can help connect the community to additional foundation funding.