BU hosts gubernatorial candidates’ forum with Sonia Chang-Diaz | News

On Friday, April 25, from 6 to 8 p.m., gubernatorial candidate Sonia Chang-Diaz graced the Gubernatorial Candidates Forum at the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground. Chang-Diaz is a former public school teacher who was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate for the first time as the first Latino and Asian woman. The event was hosted by Boston University Student Government and was moderated by Boston University Student Government President Nyah Jordan and Events Director Izzy Watson.

The forum began with an introduction to Boston University’s major student organizations that work across the student body to educate and engage people in local and national politics. Student representatives from Boston University College Democrats, BU Politica, and Boston Intercollegiate Government spoke briefly about their organizations and spread the word among attendees to get involved with them in several ways.

After a brief introduction of student organizations, the gubernatorial candidate was welcomed by the moderators. The forum revolved around questions posed by Boston University students and non-BU students who attended the forum as members of the press. Many topics such as rent stabilization, vaccine and mask policies, sustainable transportation, and improvements to the grassroots education system were highlights of the forum.

“I’m running for governor for very simple reasons,” Chang-Diaz said in his opening remarks. “I look around me and it’s easy to see that in our state every year it becomes more and more difficult for families to live in our state. We have a housing crisis, some of the worst traffic jams in the country and the fastest growing student debt in the country, health care costs, child care costs and the hanging of it all, we have the consequences of climate change that are just bearing down on us. »

Alongside Chang-Diaz, Josh Caldwell, Maura Healey and Orlando Silva are running in the Democratic primary for governor of Massachusetts on September 6, 2022. Shiva Ayyadurai, Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty are running in the Republican primary for the office Governor of Massachusetts.

Chang-Diaz’s platform is focused on solving a variety of issues ranging from housing and health to transportation, economic justice and development. She highlighted her course of action while answering questions posed by the students.

Asked about policies regarding COVID-19 measures and mask mandates, Chang-Diaz said that would be task number one for the next governor.

“The job of managing the pandemic is not just to protect our healthcare system from collapse, but to measure the risks and dangers to avoid the next upsurge,” Chang-Diaz said. If Chang-Diaz is elected, fairness will be the cornerstone of everything she does, including health care.

Dhruv Kapadia, a sophomore at Boston University, asked Chang-Diaz about his plans to address systemic school segregation in Massachusetts.

In response, Chang-Diaz said his “proudest legislative achievement in [her] thirteen years in power” is the Student Opportunity Act which tackles this problem. Once the bill is fully implemented, which will be in a few years, it will inject $1.5 billion into secondary education. It will have a strong focus on the most needy communities. “We will double state investments in the lowest income students in the state. This is going to be a complete game-changer to close the opportunity gaps in our state,” Chang-Diaz added.

In her closing remarks, Chang-Diaz encouraged students to seek careers in public service and work at the grassroots level. “We are a grassroots campaign, a rambling insurgent campaign against the establishment,” she said. “You can make a difference in this race.”

Lauren Nessralla, a student who attended the forum, shared her thoughts on the event.

“The forum was very informative about who Senator Chang-Diaz is,” said Nessralla, a freshman majoring in ethics, social and political philosophy, and political science at UMass Boston. “We should do informed votes when we vote. It’s great to see our candidates up close and ask them questions. I am happy and grateful that BU Student Government is hosting the event.

Mass media asked Zoie Roberson, a political science student at UMass Boston, about the importance of such student forums and why they should also be encouraged by UMass Boston.

“Forums like these are extremely important because they cultivate leadership,” Roberson said. “Policy forums are a great way for students to accelerate their professional development by networking with other students and participants and getting to know their elected officials. This is where our future leaders in their communities can gain insight into current, ongoing issues, what local leaders plan to do as a solution, and what they can do to positively impact their community. Our university and our student body should organize similar events to enable future leaders to learn, network, engage and have an impact.

Melvin B. Baillie