District 4 City Council Andrea Campbell was unanimously chosen as the Boston City Council president on New Year's Day. Campbell is now the city council president in only her second term in office after being first elected to the council in 2015. District 4 primarily includes Dorchester and Mattapan, as well parts of Roslindale and a small part of Jamaica Plain. Below is Campbell's inaugural speech given during the Boston City Council's first meeting on New Year's Day:
Good afternoon! I want to welcome all of you -- family, friends, and guests -- to the Boston City Council chamber on this historic day in the city of Boston.
There are thousands of gas leaks in Boston. Thousands. The leaks are obviously dangerous, and also consumers pay more due to millions worth of gas escaping into the air. An ordinance passed by the Boston City Council and authored by Jamaica Plain's City Councilor Matt O'Malley is aimed at eliminating natural gas leaks and improve the leak repair system. The council approved the ordinance 12-1 at its Wednesday meeting and now Mayor Martin J. Walsh has to sign it to become law.
Two Boston City Councilors have proposed an ordinance to prevent employment discrimination based on credit checks. District 4 City Councilor Andrea Campbell and At-Large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley cosponsored the proposed ordinance that will be discussed on Sept. 29 in a public hearing. The current City of Boston Code protects people from being discriminated based on a host of things: race, sex, gender identity or expression, age, ability, national origin ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, parental status, ex-offender status, prior psychiatric treatment and military status. But some employers use credit checks as a determining factor to hire a possible employee. The ordinance states, "...individuals burdened with student loans, medical bills, or those who have been involved in the criminal justice system," are being adversely affected while seeking employment.
Jamaica Plain's City Councilor Matt O’Malley will co-chair a public hearing on Tuesday about his proposed city ordinance aimed at eliminating gas leaks in Boston. “As rate payers, we are subsidizing nearly $90 million annually for unaccounted-for gas that escapes through leaks into the environment,” said O’Malley. “Leaks can be damaging to the environment, cause public health problems, and inflate consumers’ bills. And gas leaks can last for years, if not decades.”
O'Malley wants to eliminate gas leaks in Boston in six years, prioritize gas leak repairs and monitoring, and in turn, help the environment and save consumers money. The councilor hopes to improve coordination between utility companies and the city during road work to prevent gas leaks.
On Wednesday the Boston City Council overwhelmingly voted 12-1 to change councilor terms from two to four years. At-Large City Councilor Michelle Wu was the lone councilor to vote against the proposal that was proposed by District 3 City Councilor Frank Baker. [poll id="5"]
The proposal is a home rule petition, meaning Mayor Marty Walsh would have to support the proposal and then it would have to be supported by the state legislature. "My concern is that the measure would strengthen incumbency and make it harder for new candidates to put together a credible campaign," wrote Wu on her Facebook page. "I remember how much pressure there was to fundraise as a new candidate in order to appear viable, and I believe giving incumbents a longer period of time to build up campaign accounts would raise the barriers for newcomers."