Boston’s Mayoral Election Primary Results–Marty Walsh and John Connolly

September 24th’s primary election favored Marty Walsh and John Connolly. Final municipal elections will be held on November 5th.  Here’s how the final two candidates stand on issues related to gun violence:

Part I: Answers to Questions Posed by the MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

 MACPGV: Several candidates have suggested that planning for gun violence prevention should be coordinated between neighborhood leaders, clergy, police, the public health department, and other city agencies. Do you agree? How will you help these alliances effectively reduce neighborhood gun violence?

Marty Walsh: Yes, I do agree. Since the majority of gun violence is committed by youth, I’d also add in Boston Public Schools, teen jobs programs, and case managers at city and non-profit programs for high-risk youth. It’s also important to add in the Boston Police Department, probation departments, Department of Youth Services, and Boston Reentry Initiative to help monitor frequent offenders upon release. There’s no way that any one group can coordinate this alone. It has to be a collaborative approach. Operation Ceasefire showed some success with this kind of model years ago, and the PACT program currently uses something like it. I would like to take it a step further to increase clinical services and work to provide at-risk elementary and middle school students with services before they start to carry guns. There also needs to be more community policing and increased police/student partnerships so that the trust of police that has been lost in some communities can be regained.

MACPGV: Many shootings in Boston have been committed by criminals who obtained their guns through an illegal gun market. Will your mayoral office pledge to ask the question “Where did the gun come from?” for each gun crime in the city and follow up by reporting the findings?

Marty Walsh: Yes. I will engage with municipal leaders in cities known as pathways for guns to Boston. I will engage elected officials and law enforcement across city and state lines to help prevent and remove the flow of illegal firearms from surrounding states with more lax gun laws to Boston. Partnering with fellow mayors in this fashion will highlight my collaborative and innovative approach to city government.

MACPGV: Mayor Menino helped found Mayors Against Illegal Guns and served as co-chair. Will you join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and are you willing to take a leadership role with this group? Will you continue to dedicate mayoral staff to MAIG?

Marty Walsh: Yes. As I mentioned in the previous question, I hope to do even more by directly communicating across city and state lines to elected officials and law enforcement. As mayor I will continue Mayor Menino’s legacy on the fight against illegal guns, while also expanding upon it. I will also continue to dedicate mayoral staff to MAIG.

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MACPV: Several candidates have suggested that planning for gun violence prevention should be coordinated between neighborhood leaders, clergy, police, the public health department, and other city agencies. Do you agree? How will you help these alliances effectively reduce neighborhood gun violence?

John Connolly: I absolutely agree. The “Boston Miracle” that halted youth homicides in Boston in the 1990s was the result of a focused effort on comprehensive violence prevention through coalition-building between police and the community. We can reclaim that miracle. As mayor, I will ensure that Boston Police have the resources and the mandate to engage in genuine community policing by connecting with youth workers, clergy, community organizers, and the general public. But that’s not enough. Families in crisis struggle to keep their children in school and off the streets. As mayor, I will ensure that all city departments are communicating and coordinating services for families with high needs. When a family struggles with poverty, housing insecurity, addiction, or lack of access to high-quality education, the impact is felt across generations. By coordinating support services, our city can stop that cycle.

It’s worth emphasizing how important it is to provide an excellent education for every student in Boston if we want to reduce violence on our streets. As a former teacher, I have seen what happens when young people lose hope or come to believe that there are no opportunities for them. When a young person has no hope then he or she has nothing to lose. We instill hope and reduce crime and violence by providing every child with a high-quality education and by addressing the specific needs of every child, which includes providing services for children who suffer from trauma or mental health issues or who speak English as a second language. We also instill hope and reduce crime and violence by creating good jobs across the city. As renowned antiviolence leader Father Greg Boyle of Los Angeles says, “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.” I couldn’t agree more, and I believe strongly that ending violence on our streets requires that we improve educational and job opportunities for everyone.

MACPGV: Many shootings in Boston have been committed by criminals who obtained their guns through an illegal gun market. Will your mayoral office pledge to ask the question “Where did the gun come from?” for each gun crime in the city and follow up by reporting the findings?

John Connolly: Yes. Bostonians have a right to know where the guns are coming from that are used to create so much violence on our streets.

MACPGV: Mayor Menino helped found Mayors Against Illegal Guns and served as co-chair. Will you join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and are you willing to take a leadership role with this group? Will you continue to dedicate mayoral staff to MAIG?

John Connolly: Yes. Although Massachusetts has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, we are susceptible to a flow of guns across our borders from states with weaker laws. A 2010 report from Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that Massachusetts had one of the lowest ratios of crime gun exports to crime gun imports in the United States. We have got to follow Mayor Menino’s example and work closely with leaders from other cities to take on the debate at the national level. I will be a strong voice in support of national background checks, assault weapon bans, limits on magazine sizes, and the closing of gun show loopholes to reduce the flow of guns into Boston from states with weaker laws. We can’t give up until we have better gun laws and safer streets.

Answers from additional primary mayoral candidates can be found here.

Part II: from the DORCHESTER REPORTER 2013 MAYORAL CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE

Marty Walsh:

Collaboration is the key. Here in Boston, the majority of gun violence homicides are done by youth who are involved in gangs. To address that, Boston — like other cities — has had the greatest success with a collaborative approach that involves close monitoring and services by connecting police departments, community groups, and multiple other agencies that serve and monitor youth involved in violent crime. As mayor I will work to further support and perfect this model. In fact, I have vowed to convene a discussion on how to best approach gang violence in Boston on my first day as mayor.

Recognizing that many of the guns on Boston’s streets come from bordering states like New Hampshire and Maine, I will also be a strong advocate for better gun laws and stepped-up enforcement efforts against illegal gun trafficking.

John Connolly:

Every Bostonian deserves to live in a safe and healthy neighborhood. I will work with all stakeholders to develop and implement a comprehensive plan aimed at better connecting our public safety resources with our public health and housing resources in order to end violence and health disparities and to break cycles of poverty. I will ensure that Boston Police have the resources and mandate to engage in genuine community policing by connecting with youth workers, clergy, community organizers, and the general public.

We can also build trust between the police and the communities they serve by recruiting new officers from every neighborhood, so that our police force truly reflects the city. I will appoint a liaison for reentry services that will work with all city departments to coordinate programs for offenders returning to our communities.

Access to education, employment training and jobs, and mental health and substance abuse services can help offenders to create stable lives off the streets. I will work with our private employers, city agencies, and non-profits to expand our youth summer job opportunities into year-round programs. I will ensure that all city departments are communicating and coordinating services for families with high needs. When a family struggles with poverty, housing insecurity, addiction, or lack of access to quality education, the impact is felt across generations. By coordinating support services, our city can stop that cycle.

I will work with parents to ensure that their children stay in school. In 2008, I sponsored parental accountability truancy legislation aimed at helping chronically absent students. Truancy is a warning sign for dropping out and criminal activity, so parents and school leaders must be partners in getting children and teens to school. Once students are in the classroom, we must provide them with an education that is engaging and relevant, so that they can envision a bright future, and we also need to provide them with fully-staffed social and emotional support services and conflict resolution programs.

Answers from additional primary mayoral candidates can be found here.

 

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