Mixing up the conversation with a debate format, the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council hosted five candidates running for Massachusetts State Senate on April 4th at the North Bennet Street School in Boston’s North End. Peter Howe, former NECN-TV news anchor, moderated the evening to an audience of over 100 North End residents who came out on the snowy evening. The entire debate is shown in the above video, recorded by NorthEndWaterfront.com.
Attending candidates at the forum were Joseph Boncore, Lydia Edwards, Diana Hwang, Jay Livingstone and Dan Rizzo. Candidate Steve Mirabito had a conflicting Revere City Council meeting and candidate Paul Rodgers also did not attend.
Candidates are vying to fill the First Suffolk and Middlesex district seat in the Massachusetts State Senate left open by the recent resignation of Anthony Petruccelli. The district includes Boston’s North End / Waterfront, Beacon Hill, East Boston as well as Revere, Winthrop and parts of Cambridge.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the evening was when candidates asked each other questions (49:00 in the video). Rep. Jay Livingstone asked Dan Rizzo to apologize for invoking the Boston Marathon bombing via negative campaign ads put forth by Revere City Councilor George Rotondo. Rizzo responded that he has no control over campaign surrogates.
Rizzo returned the volley to Livingstone asking about his sponsorship of a House Bill that would require government agencies to disclose the installation of surveillance cameras. Rizzo said he is against the measure “that would give advance warning to criminals intending to hurt citizens.” Livingstone stood by the privacy measure.
Joe Boncore asked Jay Livingstone about his support for the recently approved Government Center Garage redevelopment project despite concerns by resident groups. Livingstone said the concern was regarding sewer infrastructure and that he was satisfied the MWRA had resolved the issues. Boncore questioned whether all resident concerns were addressed regarding the large project, recently approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
Lydia Edwards asked Dan Rizzo about their prior work on immigrant driver licenses, a measure both candidates support. Diana Hwang ended the question session by asking Jay Livingstone about his 5-week old son.
00:00 Welcome by NEWNC President, Philip Frattaroli
01:00 Introduction and debate format by Moderator Peter Howe
02:40 State Senate candidates make introductory statements
08:15 Charter Schools
14:30 Existing State Senators that candidates admire and respect
21:00 Minimum wage increase / Small business impact – Diana Hwang
23:30 Increased property taxes / Impact on residents on fixed incomes
25:20 Pedestrian concerns – Blocked crosswalks and congested streets
27:20 Boston Public Schools in transition / Impact on current BPS students
30:00 Drug / opiate crisis
33:00 MBTA capacity / Increased downtown development
34:40 Uber / Ride share regulations
37:20 North End Feasts and Columbus Day Parade
39:20 Sidewalk maintenance and replacement
42:20 Waterfront development / Lewis Wharf hotel proposal
49:00 Candidates ask each other questions and offer rebuttals
1:01:00 Wynn casino in Everett
1:07:00 Concluding remarks
All candidates are running as Democrats with the Special State Primary Election set for Tuesday, April 12th.