For the first time in twenty years, Boston residents will select a new mayor this fall. A vigorous city council race is also underway. With crowded, dynamic fields, it is essential that voters get the most useful, transparent information about the candidates.
That’s why we are excited to announce the launch of a voter guide for Boston’s races for mayor and At-Large City Council.
This is the first time Planned Parenthood has broken away from the conventional practice of keeping questionnaire results under wraps. We are fortunate to have many strong candidates who support comprehensive sexuality education and other policies that protect the sexual and reproductive health of Boston’s residents, and we want voters to know where the candidates stand.
Our online voter guide allows voters and others who are interested in the race to see where the candidates stand on issues such as comprehensive sexuality education, condom availability in the city’s district high schools, and school-based sexual and reproductive health services. The guide contains information collected from an issue-based questionnaire we delivered to all mayoral and City Council At-Large candidates.
Inadequate sexuality education, high rates of teen pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections are important issues facing Boston. These issues are directly related to many of the city’s persisting problems, including intergenerational poverty, crime, health care disparities, and a high school dropout rate that is nearly twice the state average (pregnancy is a leading cause of students dropping out of high school). Providing teens with the resources and education they need to make healthy decisions should be a top priority for everyone concerned about opportunities for our young people and the future of Boston. And it must be a top priority for municipal leaders.
In the race for City Council At-Large, we are proud to endorse Ayanna Pressley and Jack Kelly, who clearly distinguished themselves as strong public health advocates committed to full implementation of the new Boston Public Schools wellness policy. Given the strong support demonstrated by some of the other candidates for City Council At-Large, endorsing additional candidates in the general election is a strong possibility.
We are not endorsing a candidate for mayor in the preliminary election and will consider an endorsement after September 24. In the meantime, we are challenging candidates in both the mayoral and city council races to use the coming weeks as an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and propose innovative and holistic policies that acknowledge comprehensive sexuality education and access to health care as part of the solutions for the city’s larger issues.
Check out the voter guide and keep your eyes and ears open on the campaign trail. Have you already heard a candidate talking about issues such as access to health care and comprehensive sexuality education? Will you plan to ask them about these issues at the next campaign event? How do you think access to comprehensive sexuality education and sexual health resources should figure in to the next mayor’s plan for city schools? Drop us a line in the comments.