Tania Anderson

https://taniaford7.com/

Tania was raised in Cape Verde before moving to Roxbury. At age 12, she received an award from Mayor Ray Flynn for performing an emergency delivery of her aunt’s baby. Tania worked as a Peer Counselor for survivors of sexual assault at he Roxbury Multi-Service Center, during which time she received an award from Major Tom Menino for her work on violence prevention. She worked as a Program Manager for a homeless women’s shelter, a child social worker, and has fostered seventeen children. Tania founded Noah’s Advocate, an organization to provide mental health services to the Boston community. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets. 


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?


While we must continue to encourage the creativity and innovation of our scientists, the privacy of our citizens must be ensured. Our citizens live a lot of their lives online, and we must protect our private, sensitive data from big corporations who seek to purchase and collect it. As the city’s capability for surveillance grows, we must also protect our citizens who are most at risk of being targeted. I will fight for more comprehensive regulation that fully takes into account how far our science has come. An update to our privacy and technology legislation should take into account racial and economic inequities that are fostered at the hands of things like artificial intelligence and law enforcement surveillance, while also still allowing room for innovation.

Environment

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)?


Low income neighborhoods and marginalized communities should be centered in our climate planning due to the fact that they are, so often, the most impacted by our current and ongoing conditions. These neighborhoods should be the focus of the city’s funding and budget allocation when thinking about climate planning, especially due to the fact that these areas of the city are often, already, underfunded. This should center on replacing and updating the infrastructure within these areas to better prepare for harsher climate conditions like flooding, heat, and snow storms. Waterfront neighborhoods are also among the more vulnerable areas of the city to climate change. City officials must seek to continue comprehensive budget allocation and updating building code in order to protect residents residing there.


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 policy priorities are to support the areas that are most vulnerable to increased temperatures. I prioritize areas that need livable temperatures, especially for children and pets. As a city official, my support and aid in the Urban Forest Plan will be primarily in public engagement. I want to ensure that our urban forest is better managed today and in the future. I will support the necessary analysis, engagement, and implementation we need to benefit from the many values that our trees provide.

Science

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 is important to my agenda for Boston for many reasons. Our industries and our evolving technologies should be working together, not apart, in order to create and support our local workers and residents in our city. In office, I will partner with local community colleges and our local industries in order to create programs that train our workers in new and emerging technologies, with guaranteed placement among completion of the program. I will ensure the advice and expertise of scientists is used to formulate public policy. Where this will be most evident is in our district’s climate and COVID-19 planning. We must listen and work closely with our most foremost climate scientists to equip the city with the protections it needs to combat our ongoing climate crisis. Throughout the pandemic, our scientists and frontline workers have served as the best experts on where our policy priorities should lie. Our COVID-19 recovery plan must also be created and implemented in close partnership with our local scientists and experts. Ensuring they continue to have a voice in our health policy is integral to continue to address the ongoing crisis, especially as we look towards possible new spikes in cases due to the Delta variant.


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 have to meet people where they are at and be conscious of the way in which the academic community and the government has shown up in our neighborhoods over the past several hundred years. For example, during the early days of the pandemic, the City paid, at great expense, to flyer doors across the city with information about the pandemic. This information was only likely effective for people who were already knowledgeable about the pandemic with the hardest-to-reach communities not understanding what this random flyer from the government was saying. Instead, we as a city should be relying on local community partners to engage with the community in a way that is informative but also respects the interpersonal relationship that the city has with its residents.

Healthcare

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 order to address inequality in our pandemic response, specifically in our distribution and information dissemination, we must take a hard look at our digital infrastructure. Websites and technology is what gives the residents of District 7 and beyond access to information and appointments to set up vaccines and Covid-19 testing, however if web pages cannot be translated and help navigating websites is not readily available, residents cannot access what they need. As technology continues to develop and we become more reliant on digital infrastructure, the government must ensure internet access for every resident. I believe this is a major key in being ready to prevent and respond to future pandemics. In office, I will fight for wider internet access for residents, as well as more resources to foster technological literacy within our community for those who need it.

Education

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?


The COVID-19 pandemic has only made more apparent the disparities in education access between wealthy families and low-income families. It is clear to me that our education needs to be more equitable so that no child gets left behind. Far too many students were unaccounted for when schooling went virtual, the majority of which came from low-income and marginalized communities. We need to focus our resources on improving our infrastructure, accessibility, and curriculum to serve the needs of all of our children. In the exam school debate, I support the anti-racist and equitable solution of changing the admissions process to 100% allocation by tiers. The City needs to ensure that they invest equitably in our schools’ infrastructure so that each school maintains the welcoming and learning-positive atmosphere that students need to succeed. I also support a complete review of BPS curriculums with an agenda to push our schools to a more diverse learning experience that emphasizes student’s strengths and community needs. Increased 21st century vocational training, computer programming, coding, and computer language should all be standard classes. Ethics, robust civics, and financial literacy classes need to be available to all students. This way, we can ensure that we nurture every child’s unique educational path so that they reach their potential. Every dollar we invest in education reduces crime, which disproportionately affects communities of color. My goal to make education more equitable can easily be achieved by simply providing pathways for BIPOC communities to graduate from college and close the achievement gap.

Immigration

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?


Cost of living is a major factor in a person’s decision to move. My campaign promises a fight to stabilize the rental market and support land development to expand the housing market. I will fight for affordable housing by creative incentives for competitive rents, cracking down on evictions, and incentivizing developers to make sure that new housing units contain at least 25% affordable units. Creating pathways to homeownership for our current residents will prevent heavy displacement that often occurs with large incoming populations. In conjunction with housing, I will fight to strengthen the infrastructure of our city, including creating extended bike lines and the development of more electric charging stations available. We also must ensure that immigrants looking to move to Boston have full access to the city’s resources and are confident in our city’s commitment to equity and diversity, which means a continuous and public fight to address and change the many institutional disparities our immigrant communities face.

Economy

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?


My campaign is committed to partnering with community colleges and the local technological industries to create a pathway to success for our current residents in new and emerging industries. This includes providing programming to train residents for jobs within these sectors, guaranteeing job placement upon completion of the program. In conjunction with training, I will fight to ease regulations and barriers that currently keep production and business opening artificially suppressed, blocking our industries from truly flourishing.

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?


Having access to green spaces is important for both the physical and mental health of communities. When the City is planning out its land use, it needs to take into account practical access for communities. We need to ensure that we have gardens distributed across the city in locations that are easily reachable by bus, train, or by foot. I support policies that ensure green spaces are accessible to all. We should focus on locations in low-income and minority communities, where unprocessed, healthy food access is key to improving health. Additionally, I propose that the City focuses on investing in underutilized spaces already open in the city. Rather than carve out new and expensive locations, I believe we should take abandoned and unruly locations in the city and turn them into beautiful, environmentally friendly green spaces. The best resources to consult are community members themselves. My administration will improve transparency by involving community groups in the process every step of the way. I plan to have community representatives as key planning members and ensure that we integrate them with farmers and horticulturalists to support long-term sustainable urban farming.

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