“As a City Councilor, I will work to facilitate these essential collaborations and will push the administration to tackle the housing crisis.”

Bridget Nee-Walsh

Bridget Nee-Walsh, 42, is a South Boston local and currently a member of the Ironworkers Local 7. Nee-Walsh is also a business owner with two stores, Southie’s Own and Babe Mannion’s Irish Shoppe, and a single mother to 5-year-old Celia and the primary guardian to her 14-year-old godson Aiden.

Born and raised in Boston, Nee-Walsh received an education at Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree before attending Burren College of Art in County Clare, Ireland and Montserrat College of Art in Beverly. 

After an initial survey before the primary election in September, we surveyed Nee-Walsh again: this time, on some of the election’s most pressing issues. Here are her responses.

What are your thoughts on Mass. and Cass and what solutions would you suggest to the problems that have arisen in the area?

I have seen far too many of my friends, neighbors, and co-workers find themselves struggling with substance use, and so too have the hundreds and thousands of Boston residents that I have met over the course of this campaign. The people out on Mass. and Cass aren’t bad people, but they aren’t getting the help they need, and we cannot let this crisis continue any longer. Increasing the number of social workers on Mass. and Cass, as proposed by the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, is a good start, but we cannot stop there. We must take every measure possible to fully fund recovery services and increase the number of treatment beds in and around the city because when people who are struggling are ready to get help, they need to get it right away.

How can housing in Boston be more affordable and inclusive of all communities while mitigating gentrification?

As a single mother, I KNOW how hard it is to afford housing in the City. We need to direct funding from the American Recovery Act to building more affordable rental units to ease pressure on the housing market, where we are seeing rising costs push long-time Boston residents out of the City. Additionally, we need to make investments in rent-to-own programs, which will allow working families in the City to put down permanent roots here and build their long-term wealth. I also strongly support investing in senior housing, so that the generations who have built this city aren’t forced to relocate due to skyrocketing costs or to get the care they need. These investments require funding, but they also require working with the BPDA and collaborating with neighborhood organizations and leaders so that we build the housing we need without gentrifying long-time residents out. As a City Councilor, I will work to facilitate these essential collaborations and will push the administration to tackle the housing crisis.

How would you, if at all, adjust the Boston Police Department budget?

As a business owner and mother of a 5-year-old daughter, public safety is something I take seriously. I do not agree with reckless calls to defund or abolish the Police. I actually believe we need to invest more money in community policing and safety training, and I am proud to have the endorsement of the Boston Police Patrolmen in this race. However, we also need to do the hard work to rebuild trust between the BPD and the residents they protect. I support bringing back some of the community policing tactics that were successful under the Menino administration, such as increased foot patrols, community engagement, and stakeholder input.

What are your top priorities for Boston Public Schools right now?

My daughter and my godson are both BPS students, and I strongly support doing everything we can for our public schools. I firmly believe that we need to fully fund all of our public schools, and ensure that our students, teachers, and parents have the resources needed to be successful. We cannot continue to congratulate ourselves on exam school performance while too many other students are denied the resources they need and the opportunities they deserve. I also strongly support bringing more vocational trades into our BPS, and would like to see increased partnerships between schools and labor unions to create a path into the trades for students on a vocational track. Not every student is going to go to college, and that’s okay, but it is our obligation to make sure we are creating another pathway to the middle class for them, and I believe vocational curriculum is a way to achieve this.

What are two of your top priorities that you would like to address?

As someone who was born and raised in South Boston, I have seen far too many of the people I grew up with forced to move as a result of skyrocketing prices. We must get our housing market under control by investing in affordable housing construction, rent-to-own programs, and senior housing and senior care. We cannot stand idly by and watch living in our city continue to become an unbearable financial burden for working families. We also have to take care of Boston’s workers when it comes to establishing workforce protections. With Mayor Walsh now heading the labor department in Washington D.C., working families need another champion in City Hall. As a City Councilor, I will work with the administration to crack down on abusive practices like wage theft, worker misclassification, and union-busting, and will fight for improved wages, quality benefits, and safer working conditions for everybody in the City of Boston.

Visit Bridget Nee-Walsh at her websiteFacebook or Twitter.

Candidate responses were edited for length and clarity.

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