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Carla Monteiro, 38, is a Boston native currently working as a social worker and living in Dorchester with her spouse and son. Monteiro works in addiction care at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and emergency psychiatric care for young people at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Monteiro attended Quincy College in 2015, obtaining an associates of science degree in human services. Later, she went on to receive a degree in social work from Bridgewater State University in 2017 and a masters of social work degree from Boston College in 2019.
Why are you running for at-large City Councilor?
To close the gaps in services that I overcame growing up in Boston. My family was evicted from our apartment when I was four years old. Later as a young mother, I found myself on the brink of homelessness and on an excruciating waiting list to access affordable housing. Today, I’m a Dorchester homeowner and provide stable housing for my family. I’ll fight to deliver housing stability for every Bostonian. During middle and high school, I struggled academically due to undiagnosed anxiety brought on by losing friends and family members to gun violence. I’m proud to say that I turned my GED into an Associates Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, and now a Masters in Social Work. To be a healthy city, we must invest in behavioral health services. I have lived in Boston’s heat zones my whole life. As a candidate for office, I’ve traveled around our city and seen firsthand the disparities between neighborhoods. It’s time we pass a bold Boston Green New Deal to provide a livable future. There’s so many more ways that my lived experiences inform my policy platform and motivate me to run for office that I am excited to share with voters on the campaign trail.
There are 17 candidates for at-large city councilor. What accomplishments and proposals do you think make you stand out from the others? Please be specific.
I am honored and inspired to be a part of a class of candidates for the city of Boston that is historically diverse, qualified, and talented. Among this class, my candidacy is unique for two important reasons, the first being my lived experiences and the second being my background as a clinical social worker. I share examples of the challenges I’ve overcome and how they inform my policy platform because I truly believe we need to elect people to office who have lived the day-to-day struggle that many Bostonians face daily. From the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance’s first time home buyers program to the professional development and educational services at Jewish Vocational Services, my life achievements would not have been possible without taking advantage of such essential services. Especially as the city of Boston looks to a prolonged recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, our city will endure a period of healing and recovery. During this period the Boston city council needs the voice, perspective, and lived experience of a social worker. What has made me a celebrated social worker, will make me an effective city councilor – listening, identifying needs, and connecting people to the services they need to thrive.
What would be your top three objectives during your term as city councilor?
This campaign is about a vision of Boston where we emphasize programs and services that ensure we meet the basic needs of all residents. Over the course of my life, housing instability, disparate educational opportunities, and a lack of mental health and substance use resources contributed to many of the challenges that I faced and witnessed in my Dorchester neighborhood. For housing, my objective is to put Boston residents on a pathway to housing security rather than displacement. To me, that starts with redefining what affordable means in Boston so it matches the real income of neighborhood residents and increasing the percent of units that we mandate be affordable in every new development. In education, our students need more social workers and nurses in their schools and our school committee needs to be fully elected with two voting seats for stipended student members. Lastly, to be a healthy city, we must invest in behavioral health services. In order to tackle the mental health and substance use crisis facing our city, I plan to convene community leaders and stakeholders to fix our disjointed system and design a strategic plan for integrated, equitable, and accessible mental and behavioral health services.
What is one thing you want the City of Boston to know about you?
What I hope every voter understands about me, whether they’re meeting me on the doors, phones, at events, or reading about me, is how deeply I care about Boston and its residents. I’ve spent my life not only caring for other people but fighting for them as well. As a social worker, it’s in my training and education to understand and look at systems from all levels. I know the policies that negatively impact Boston residents and the ones that, with more funding and other improvements, could do far greater good for residents as well. I’m invested in the betterment of our city and delivering solutions that improve the lives of Boston residents and will commit my whole self to this work.
What is your typical Dunkin’ order?
I go with a hot black tea & a wake up wrap.
Next candidate: Bridget M. Nee-Walsh
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