Why are reproductive rights and access to women’s health care important to you? What can the City of Boston do to protect reproductive health and rights?
MK: I want to live in a city that creates a pathway to a bright future for everyone. In order to make that vision a reality, we need to continue to cultivate safe and healthy communities. Reproductive health must be a part of the conversation when we talk about advancing public health in Boston.
For ten years, I served as Mayor Menino’s South End and Bay Village Neighborhood Coordinator and as the Mayor’s Liaison to the LGBT Community. I fought for policies like the Safe Schools Initiative that encouraged LGBTQ youth to make healthy choices and a needle exchange program in the South End. I saw firsthand how these programs made residents healthier and neighborhoods safer.
As the Trump Administration and GOP leadership continue their attacks on health care access, it is critical that local officials step up and protect reproductive health and rights.
I will advocate for Boston’s school district wellness policy to be fully implemented citywide so that every young person has access to comprehensive sex education and is able to make healthy, informed decisions. Every day, I will work to create programs that engage our youth and neighbors to strengthen the fabric of our local communities in the face of these national attacks.
You have quite the record on working within schools and communities to:
a.) improve access to sex education and;
b.) create more affirming spaces for LGBTQ youth.
Why are these priorities for you and how will you as a Boston City Councilor continue this vital work to support Boston youth, particularly those most impacted by health disparities?
MK: Youth advocacy is deeply personal for me. I got my start in activism by working with LGBTQ youth. If elected, I would be the first openly LGBTQ City Councilor in Boston in over 25 years. My career and my civil liberties would not be possible without the activists and elected officials that came before me that made my dreams their priority.
I have been fortunate to be able to follow in their footsteps. I dedicated my career to advocating for youth, the LGBTQ community, and Boston’s most vulnerable. In the 1990s, I was an active member of the LGBTQ Speakers Bureau, and used this platform to support sexual and reproductive rights. For 10 years, I worked for the City of Boston and continued my advocacy for Boston’s youth.
As City Councilor, I will fight to ensure that all public schools in Boston have the resources they need to effectively implement the Boston Public School Wellness Policy. I also want to explore new ways to keep teen parents in school, including subsidized daycare, flexible scheduling, and allocating funding for “Expecting Moms Liaisons” to support young mothers as they complete their high school degrees. By supporting and protecting young people, we can ensure a vibrant, healthy Boston for years to come.
We’re facing a national political climate that threatens the rights and well-being of Boston’s neighborhoods. What will you do as a Boston City Councilor to stand up against these attacks?
MK: The Trump administration’s attacks on sexual and reproductive health care – including attacks on birth control coverage – are direct threats to the health and well-being of Boston residents. I have spent my career advocating for improved health care services on the local level and these national attacks only strengthen my resolve.
Should any of these attacks cause a local impact for Massachusetts residents, I will work with my partners at the State House and in state government to find concrete ways we can offset the impact. I am a staunch supporter of the Contraceptive ACCESS bill, which would ensure every woman in Massachusetts has access to no-copay birth control. Trump’s politics have no place in Massachusetts and I would do everything in my power as City Councilor to keep it that way.
Is there anything else you want Boston voters to know about you?
MK: As an activist, city official, and member of my community, I am proud that I have been able to enact tangible change in Boston. My vision for District 2 is informed by the progressive working-class values that were instilled in me by my parents. Sexual and reproductive health issues are near to my heart.
As a City Councilor, I will bring real resources to my district and continue to fight for the health and well-being of all Boston residents. If you live in South Boston, the South End, Chinatown, and downtown, I humbly ask for your vote on November 7th. You can find your polling location here.