Felix Arroyo discussed his detailed platform and his strategy for beating the other 11 trying to become Boston’s mayor. He didn’t have the time to describe all his planks, available on the vision area of his campaign site.
We spent a lot of time on education, which he couples to so much â€” jobs, crime, housing and more. He comes from a family that believes in the public schools, and several members, including his mother and wife taught or teach in the BPS. He comes in without blinders but thinks every neighborhood can have high-quality schools. He also believes that the $1 billion-plus a year the city spends on schools needs new budgeting and priorities. Listen in as he suggests how the city can afford pre-K for everyone and longer schools days for enrichment. A key there is financing from the classroom level and tightening as you go up to the admin offices instead of the reverse.
He also has reasoning why expanding the school day won’t break the bank. For example, staggered teacher starting times can mean coverage for enrichment with the same number of teacher hours. He doesn’t see himself as having to slug it out with the teacher’s union or schools administration to get his approach in the works.
We did get around to the points the pundits are big on â€” no one candidate of the dozen dominates the field, but there is a top tier of the best funded already running TV ads with a month to go before the preliminary. Arroyo is not daunted in his effort to be one of the two who emerge for the November final.
As his father before him, Arroyo was an organizer before becoming a City Councilor. In this case, he organized for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). He spoke of giving janitors higher profile as a group, as well as an elevation to $16 an hour. He said he uses these same skills campaigning, door-to-door, person-to-person.
Arroyo is not surprised the polling shows no single dominant candidate. While he’d likely rather be higher in various polls, he figures he has the time, energy and people power to canvass and get out the vote. Moreover, as this is the first time in 20 years Bostonians will definitely elect a new Mayor, he says voters “are thinking; they’re really processing.”
He figures to win by convincing one voter at a time. He says that is a valuable lesson he learned from Mayor Tom Menino â€” “Every minute in the neighborhood is a minute well spent.”