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Keller @ Large: Boston City Council President Focused On Closing Wealth Gap

BOSTON (CBS) -- The newly elected Boston City Council President, Kim Janey, sat down with Jon Keller. Janey grew up in Roxbury, graduated from Boston and Reading public schools and Smith College.  She was elected to the council in 2017.

"I think education, transportation, housing, are certainly the issues that are important to residents in the City of Boston. Certainly, I hear about those issues and concerns from residents that I represent in District 7," said Janey. "But I'm also interested in hearing more about how we close the wealth gap in Boston."

She said she would have liked to hear more about "an economic strategy that really lifts people who have been left behind in terms of economic prosperity in Boston" during Mayor Marty Walsh's State of the City address this week.

"We have to create opportunities, whether it's by supporting small business owners, whether it's helping families purchase their first home, whether it's our city contracts, whether it's construction jobs, we have to do more to ensure that there's shared prosperity."

Janey said there are also opportunity and achievement gaps in the education system. "We can say we can just invest more money and the rising tide will lift all boats. I happen to believe that a rising tide can be dangerous if you don't have a boat."

She added the investments need to target those who need it most, "that's our English language learners, students with disabilities, black and brown children who may not have the same out of school experiences that some of their peers have."

Janey went to Reading schools as a part of the METCO program. She said while she and thousands of others have benefited from the program, she wants to remain focused on Boston Public Schools.


Keller mentioned one transit issue he thinks does not get discussed enough is the difficulty that many city residents with limited means have getting to jobs on Route 128 and I-495.

Janey countered: "There are many corporations that are moving into Boston and want to make Boston their home and it's important that those jobs be available for Boston residents. I would love for people to be able to work right here in our city and then that would certainly help us with congestion."

She also said public transit in the city needs improvement.

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