Kim was raised in Roxbury and the South End and has stayed in Boston since the birth of her daughter when Kim was sixteen. She began her career in public service by joining the Massachusetts Advocates for Children, an organization dedicated to reform systemic racism in Boston Public Schools. During her sixteen year tenure with Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Kim volunteered with numerous local and state organizations, including the NAACP, Diamond Girls Boston, and Discover Roxbury. She is also a founding member of MassVOTE, a nonprofit that seeks to increase voter participation in Massachusetts. In 2018, Kim became the first woman to represent District 7 in the Boston City Council and was appointed President of the City Council in 2020. She made history again in 2021 by becoming the first Black and first woman Mayor of Boston after Mayor Walsh was elected to President Biden’s cabinet.
Three Major Science and Technology Related Efforts in Boston:
- Authored legislation to equitably regulate the cannabis industry to provide equal opportunity for business owners and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds
- Launched a city hotline for vaccine appointments for populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
- Started a pilot program to give Boston workers prepaid Charlie cards and Blue Bike passes to increase access to public and environmentally efficient transport
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?
I have been an advocate for privacy rights for the residents of Boston for many years. While on the city council, I spoke out against unregulated police use of drones, and I have voted against allowing Boston to use face surveillance technology. As mayor, I also stopped a proposal that would create a vast surveillance network in the City Boston, protecting residents’ privacy, civil liberties and freedom to live their lives. These draconian measures do not belong in a free and open society, and we need to hold the line against such surveillance issues.
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)?
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?
Climate change is an absolute threat which could have a disastrous impact on our city. We need to take decisive action to prepare ourselves for all of the potential negative effects. I fully support working to make Boston carbon neutral by 2050, and working to achieve this goal sooner if possible. I will work with anyone to make our city more energy efficient, which will help to reduce our carbon emissions as well as providing savings to consumers through the use of green energy.
As a city councilor, I voted for funding to help turn the City of Boston’s fleet of vehicles into hybrid fuel systems, so that we can do our part in reducing our climate footprint. As mayor, I have introduced millions of dollars of funding which can be used to retrofit older buildings to make them more energy efficient, as well as studying how we can reduce the potential of coastal flooding in Boston Harbor.
We also need to make sure that our climate resiliency projects are implemented with an eye toward areas which already suffer from greater pollution and other impacts of climate change, such as heat islands. I support the Urban Forest Plan for Boston. When I was on the city council, I joined a protest opposing cutting down more than 100 trees planted alongside Melnea Cass Boulevard. I look forward to reviewing the Boston Tree Canopy Assessment and looking for areas where we can expand our canopy coverage.
What should the role of science and scientists be in government, policy, and decision-making? How does science fit into your agenda for Boston?
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?
We need to follow the guidance of scientists, particularly with regard to how we can combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The city of Boston is following the guidelines of the CDC including mandating masks in our schools to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. We also need to ensure that people are know the truth; that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing serious cases of COVID-19. Nearly all of the hospitalized cases caused by the Delta variant are from unvaccinated people. I will continue to fight to present this information and encourage vaccinations, wherever possible.
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?
In Boston, we have made efforts to meet people where they are on vaccines. This includes mobile clinics, mass vaccination sites, and public service announcements in multiple languages targeted at multi-lingual areas. I have announced a total of $3 million in spending on vaccine equity grants, to help reach out into communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we must do more. I will continue to fight to improve our vaccination rates across our city.
For future pandemics, we need to look at the areas where our nation and Boston failed, and look at how we can improve on them. This includes creating stockpiles of PPE and ensuring those supplies remain effective while in storage. This also includes addressing many of the societal problems which were aggravated during the COVID-19 pandemic, including affordable housing and economic security for families. By building a better economic foundation for everyone, we can be better prepared for the ancillary effects of the next public health crisis.
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?
COVID-19 has exposed the flaws in our educational system which is still in many ways built on a 20th century learning model. We need to revitalize our education to prepare students for the future. As mayor, I will fight to expand technological access to our students, including through affordable internet access and the technology needed to complete assignments remotely or in person.
But we need to look further, and ensure that what our students are learning will work for them in the future. I support a curriculum which will prepare our children to become participants in the Boston of the future, and give them the skills that they need to succeed in a 21st century economy. This includes extra focus on financial literacy, computer programming and coding, and decolonizing our curriculum so that graduates of BPS understand the full picture of America, and are able to empathize with people who come from different backgrounds. The students we create at BPS will be a model of what every American should strive to be.
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?
The past years have been devastating for immigrant communities, and the actions of the federal government have destroyed the trust developed between local governments and immigrant communities. Even with a new administration in office, it will take years of work to rebuild the trust between the city of Boston and the immigrants who call Boston home. Over time, we can do this by demonstrating that we will work with immigrant communities to help them thrive as a part of our city as a whole. One way we can improve Boston’s standing internationally is by providing the opportunities needed for immigrants to come and succeed in our city. I support making city services more accessible to immigrant communities by improving online language translations for municipal services, and by ensuring that city staff working with immigrant communities are able to communicate effectively with the populations they are serving.
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?
Boston is known for hosting many of the best universities in the entire country, but we need to invest in science and technology particularly amongst our younger populations. I want graduates of BPS to become the leaders of tomorrow in science and technology, and the best way to accomplish this is to invest in 21st century skills for our students, including a comprehensive STEM curriculum as well as programming classes an opportunities. By investing in these programs both within and outside of schools, we can also reach older populations to build a more digitally literate workforce. This will provide a strong incentive for more innovative companies to call Boston home, and will benefit the city as a whole.
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?
I am a big supporter of more urban and community based farming opportunities. Particularly in food deserts, these gardens can provide fresh produce and healthy food options for local families. I support investing into these local gardens, and seeing where these investments would work best with communities which have been neglected for far too long.