The second night of Emerson’s ‘Engage in Your Democracy’ town hall-style forum provided a stage for Democrat Ayanna Pressley to speak with a crowd of attentive students. She challenges incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano in the race to represent Massachusetts’ seventh congressional district.
Capuano first started as the democratic representative for Massachusetts’ eighth district in 1999. Pressley opened the night by acknowledging critics who denounce her decision to run by claiming she should wait until after Capuano’s official retirement.
“Data shows that it takes a minimum of seven people to convince a woman to run for office,” Pressley said. “It takes a man one, and it’s usually himself.”
David Fadul, the student coordinator of the event, moderated the evening. He asked the Boston city councilor about several subjects such as public transportation and Boston’s housing crisis—the same questions as the night prior.
Pressley spoke about public health, her top priority. She detailed how housing issues remain the number one constituent call in her office.
“The housing crisis is a public health epidemic,” she said. “Children displacement trauma is equivalent to children experiencing homelessness.”
When Fadul asked about her proudest vote, Pressley offered two.
The first was a vote on reforming antique liquor license laws in the city in a direct move to give the advantage back to local restaurants. The second was a public school’s initiative to include comprehensive sexual education as a part of health education.
Pressley’s speeches received multiple rounds of applause from students in the Greene Theater. The crowd cheered the loudest after the city councilor announced the need for late-night subway service.
The candidate told students to direct message her on Twitter if they thought of more questions during the remainder of her race.
After the forum closed, Fadul said he enjoyed watching how Pressley’s passionate speaking connected with students.
“Just to hear all the different solutions she has for these problems is just inspiring,” Fadul said. “It shows that, yes, students have the ability to change the community.”
As for what’s next in potential ‘Engage in Your Democracy’ events, Fadul admitted he looks forward to a short break. After that, it’s back to work, he said.
Pressley left the event early to attend a memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury. The Democratic primary election is on Sept. 4, 2018