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Keller @ Large: City Council President Wants Boston To 'Think Outside The Box'

BOSTON (CBS) -- It has become customary for Boston City Council presidents to join Jon Keller to discuss their agenda after they have been elected.

In that way, Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell is no different.

Campbell's presidency is a first for another reason, she is the first African American woman to lead the Council.

"It's extremely important and significant. I didn't actually take it in until I gave my inaugural speech at our first Council meeting where I was elected Council President. Seeing the faces in the room, my family and the joy on their faces, made me really reflect on how important it is," said Campbell.

The council is predominantly female and has six women of color.

"My colleagues elected me because one, I am fair and pragmatic, I like to get things done, I'm collaborative, I don't like wasting time. And now that I have a five-month-old, I really don't like wasting time," said Campbell. "I'm excited about moving the needle forward on major issues: education, public safety, criminal justice, affordable housing, there's a lot to do and I'm excited to do it in partnership with my colleagues."

Campbell represents District Four which is comprised of neighborhoods in Dorchester and Mattapan, as well as parts of Roslindale and Jamaica Plain.

When Keller asked what one of the largest problems her district faced was, she said access to affordable housing,

Recently, Mayor Marty Walsh told Keller he was working hard to fix Boston's housing problems.

Campbell agrees the city is going in the right direction but said officials need to do more.

"We have to think about all strategies that will work to create units of housing so it's not just about building more units, it's about having a regional approach and I think he's doing that," she said.

"In addition to a plan, I want us to think outside the box, I want us to look at best practices and initiatives even outside of our city."

Campbell has not reviewed the Mayor's proposed Airbnb regulations yet.

Campbell also hopes the City Council is more involved in talks with Amazon than they were during the city's dealmaking with General Electric.

"I will tell you, folks need jobs. That's one of the biggest things I hear about from residents in my district. Of course, that then means what do we about transit to get residents from Mattapan and the southern part of Dorchester to the Seaport area. But I do think large employers like G.E. and Amazon have the opportunity to help us address major issues like affordable housing, things even in the criminal justice space, who is employing forks that are coming out of the system," she said.

While she is excited by the prospect of Amazon creating a second headquarters in Boston, she said the company's presence would need to improve key issues, such as housing and education.

Campbell said Governor Charlie Baker has risen to the challenge in some ways but not all areas.

"I think folks at the end of the day want to see their electeds in their communities or they want to see them more. I get that the Governor covers the entire state, but we would like to see him more in District Four."

She also wants to see more "bold leadership" when it comes to criminal justice.

"I never want to say that we always get it right, I tell my team 'if we are good and excellent, we can always do and be better.'"

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