During this election, the future of District 7 and the City of Boston will be decided. Jose Lopez wants to be part of that decision, especially when it comes to education and housing.
”We’re looking to find the answers for working class families who have lived here for generations and can’t afford to live in the city anymore,” Lopez said.
Lopez, a graduate of Boston College, said the larger problem is the lack of vision by leaders and candidates running for office.
”Boston has been an international powerhouse made up of neighborhoods and people with a great history and tradition of putting people first,” Lopez said. Lopez also noted that now, leaders must ask themselves what type of city they want to be, and have a clear vision.
”It was then that I said, ‘if it’s not there, then I have to run,” said Lopez, who has taught U.S. history at Martin Luther King and Curley middle schools and at English High School.
In addition to maintaining the vibrancy and longstanding traditions of District 7’s neighborhoods, Lopez said, if elected he is committed to providing quality education.
He said Boston was known in the early 20th century as ”The Athens of America” because of the many writers, poets, scientists and aristocrats who lived in the city and the world class universities here.
”It was known as the Athens of America, but they’re kicking the Athenians out. I know is not just about who we are but what do each of us want. We have to solidify what Boston is” said Lopez, 34, who is also a lawyer graduating from Suffolk University School of Law.
He noted there is a charter school in District 7 that partners with a city university, yet the MCAS scores in math are in the 47 percentile.
”It can be fatal to the future of those students to navigate our society with its growing technology,” Lopez said. ”I see how incredible it could be if we use the power of our universities in our public schools, the students would pass the MCAS science with 80 percent.”
Born in the U.S. of Puerto Rican parents, Lopez has lived in Boston for 13 years. ”I had an amazing education because our teachers pushed and motivated us. It goes to show how transformative education is,” Lopez said.
He said he doesn’t consider himself special, but lucky because he was able to find people in his life to help him. ”It’s a great example of how easy a child can be diverted to the wrong path, which is why we need to do more to protect our children.”
That is why he became a teacher, getting a master in education from Boston College and now wants to continue helping his fellow Bostonians through politics.
Talking about finding a vision for Boston and District 7, Lopez said city leaders should include stakeholders and citizens who have an expertise in housing, education, planning and the environment and have them serve on City Council committees dealing on these issues.
Due to the ethnic and economic diversity of District 7, Lopez said it will play an important role when the future of Boston is planned.
”It is not written yet and when we do, it’s going to be a great model for an old American city, or it could read as an obituary of an old historic neighborhood that died,” Lopez said.