Politics

Kelly Bates

"I know what it takes to make change happen and build solutions because I have worked at this all my life."

Doug McGoldrick

Kelly Bates, 51, is running for an at-large City Council seat and is the president of Interaction Institute for Social Change. She lives in Hyde Park with her husband Yves, her son, and her stepdaughter.

Bates went to State University of New York at Albany as an undergraduate and attended Boston University School of Law on a full scholarship.

Why are you running for at-large city councilor?

I’m running for City Council at-large because I know that by coming together, we can not only recover from the crises before us but repair and reimagine a better and more equitable future for Boston. As the proud daughter of a Black mother and an Irish father, I grew up in two worlds that were so similar yet so different. I saw pain, but also beauty, in each. I moved through these worlds standing on the shoulders of strong women and community advocates, who taught me that by bringing people together, we can overcome anything. I want to bring my twenty-five years of experience to City Hall to help us live into this future. I’m a lawyer, a crisis manager, a leader of social change and racial justice organizations, and a mother of a student in the Boston city public schools. I know what it takes to make change happen and build solutions because I have worked at this all my life.

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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’m a collaborator and bridge builder. I have worked with people of different backgrounds, different organizations, races, and economic backgrounds to get work done. I kept the libraries open around Boston when budget cuts were threatening closure. I fought to extend hospital stays for mothers giving birth because we know that maternal mortality rates are unacceptably high. I passed the state’s first anti-sexual harassment laws protecting women and making the workplace safer. I worked to bring jobs, health care, nutrition assistance and rent reforms to families. I will fight for children to get a high-quality and equitable education just as I did as a member of Mayor Menino’s BPS External Advisory Committee. I worked for 10 years to expand voter engagement. I led the redistricting efforts in Massachusetts which created the pathway of several progressive people of color being elected at the congressional and state level, including the district Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley won. I know that we have work to do. I am different from the other candidates in the race because I have the vision, values, and experience that will get us to a brighter and more equitable future.

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What would be your top three objectives during your term as city councilor?

My top three priorities are creating solutions for the housing crisis, improving our schools city-wide, and recovery from COVID and its impact on our economy, health, and well-being. I grew up facing economic and housing insecurity. I’ll fight for pathways to affordable homeownership, rental stabilization, and work to eliminate homelessness. I am a mother of a teenager in BPS. My mom and husband were public high school teachers. We need world-class schools in every neighborhood, extensive vaccination and booster efforts at our schools and in our community, and better school buildings with upgraded ventilation systems. Students deserve better learning resources, social-emotional support, youth jobs, and community-based programs. Teachers need resources and more support in the classroom. Social isolation due to COVID-19 has worsened long-standing mental health and addiction challenges. We have to provide people a way out of addiction, invest in mental health services, and ensure safe and healthy neighborhoods. I have lost too many people to addiction; cousins and other family members. Many people lack coping support including my mother who was in mental health hospitals most of my life.

What is one thing you want the City of Boston to know about you?

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I am incredibly persistent and caring. I believe we can always find a solution to any problem or locate services to help someone. We can turn every stone, remove any barrier, and partner and collaborate if we don’t have the answers. I care about each and every resident. Your life, story, and needs matter to me. We live, work, or socialize in this city together and I want to do everything in my power to make that a positive, rewarding, and special experience.

What is your typical Dunkin’ order?

Iced coffee all the way! I can hear the ice jiggling now!

Visit Kelly Bates at her website, or social media @batesforboston on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Previous candidate: Ruthzee Louijeune

Next candidate: David Halbert

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