Downtown Schools for Boston                                    

The State Representative for the 8th Suffolk District will represent many of our neighborhoods, and could be an important partner in our efforts.  We asked a number of questions of the candidates for the office, and have summarized their responses below.  Be sure to vote on May 28th!



Josh Dawson

Jay Livingstone

If elected as State Representative, what would be your top three priorities?

1.       Public education

2.       Transportation infrastructure

3.       Innovation economy

1.       Stronger public schools including full funding of high quality, early childhood education.

2.       Restoring funding for social programs.

3.       Improving our public transportation infrastructure.

4.       Smart Development to protect our neighborhoods & quality of life.

Why should we vote for you?

I have experience working on and passing legislation in the State House and I can hit the ground running on day one. I just got married, I live here, I am personally connected to all the issues that matter to you. I know how important it is to raise a family here.

Because public schools were important to me before I started running for office, and I would continue this advocacy as your State Representative. I signed on to support Downtown Schools for Boston in November 2012, while encouraging others in the community to do the same.

With regards to public education - what specifically would you try to get accomplished?


Improving all public schools in Boston by investing in local schools, creating downtown elementary schools, and providing professional development for teachers and staff.

Every child in the city should have a good school nearby. I would fight to increase baseline funding for all schools, and to make sure we have after-school programs available.  I would also continue to fight for a high quality public school in the District.




By ensuring education funding is a top priority in state government, allowing Boston and Cambridge to receive the funding they deserve. Work with the Mayor and other city officials, and with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to bring everybody to the table to ensure the needs of downtown families are being met.

We can only accomplish these goals with the proper level of funding, which I believe requires new revenue sources. I am disappointed that the legislature this year has failed to dedicate new funding to education, especially early childhood education, as the Governor proposed.


I would be a strong voice in the State House for education funding, and would seek opportunities in the upcoming budget debate to accomplish the goals stated above.

What do you believe are the key issues the BPS has to address? What can you do at the state level to help address these issues?


       Communication with the communities it serves.

       BPS should be accessible and transparent. I will work to do this.

       I would facilitate a good relationship between BPS and the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

       Look at data with regards to the 2010 education bill to see where it has been effective and where it could be improved. Look to see if 2010 legislation did what it was intended to do and how we can build upon it.

       Professional development for teachers and staff during the school day to create an environment of learning, not just for students.

        Funding of early education helping kids early on will be a big help in later years.

        Understand what is causing schools to be underperforming and what can be done to increase quality.

        Better principals and more effective administration serves as a good driver of quality outcomes for our kids.  A good example is Suzanne Lee's record of accomplishment in the Quincy School.

        Look at other reforms that are known to work, such as extending the length of the school day. The state legislature could offer incentives to municipalities which extend the school day.

What would you do with regards to charter schools?


I am committed to doing everything I can to bring high-quality traditional public schools to downtown neighborhoods that have none. However, the most important thing is that students get the high-quality education they deserve. I would be open to exploring any options that make this a reality including charter schools. I would be potentially be open to lifting the cap on in-district charter schools if the data showed that there was demand for these schools and that those currently operating were successful in educating our city's students. I would not advocate for dramatic policy changes like eliminating the cap entirely without more time to analyze how successful the 2010 education reforms have been.


I would first need to understand what is happening to Boston charters compared to traditional public schools before I would consider lifting the cap. Boston Charters are doing better than charters outside of Boston but other states have run into significant problems with charter schools, especially with respect to parity in special education services and students with English as a second language. Quality public education must be kept available to all kids, not just a select few.

What else would you do to keep families living downtown?


      Maintain great public spaces maintain funding, protect the Esplanade

      Encourage DCR to promote farmers markets, make fresh produce available

      With regards to housing encourage Colleges and Universities to do master plans (Like Suffolk did)

      Promote an innovation economy encourage businesses to locate in greater Boston so people can earn a good living, and live, work, start a business in Boston

      Focus on transportation infrastructure, so that people can walk, ride their bike, or take the T.

        Strongly advocating for a new downtown Boston public school that is located in the 8th Suffolk District.

        Improving Public transportation.

        Family friendly housing: affordable 3-bedroom condos.

        Preserving public spaces supporting the sunshine bill to protect Esplanade, Magazine beach, and other select public spaces in the area.


       The Boston Globe

       Steve Grossman, State Treasurer

       Suzanne Bump, State Auditor

       Mike Ross, City Councilor

       Cambridge City Councilor Leland Cheung

       Tito Jackson, Boston City Councilor

       Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts

       Massachusetts Teachers Association

       Cambridge Fire Fighters Local 30

       Boston Fire Fighters Local 718

       New England Regional Council of Carpenters

       Marty Walz - State Rep 2005-2013

       Paul Demakis - State Rep 1994-2004

       Denise Simmons - Vice Mayor of Cambridge

       Minka van Beuzekom - Cambridge City Councilor

       Craig Kelley - Cambridge City Councilor

       Marc McGovern - Cambridge School Committee Member

       Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee

       Mass Alliance

       Progressive Massachusetts

       Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts

       Sierra Club of Massachusetts

       Mass NOW PAC

       National Association of Social Workers MA PACE

       Massachusetts Voters for Animals (formerly Humane MA PAC)



Updated May 22, 2013