Mayoral candidate Charlotte Golar Richie outlined her vision for Boston on Wednesday night, promising an enthusiastic crowd that she will improve schools, work to make neighborhoods safer, and establish a city office to work with young people.
Climbing the stage in a packed Hibernian Hall in Roxbury, Golar Richie danced briefly behind the podium, eliciting even louder cheers from the hundreds in the crowd. Golar Richie spoke with conviction as she described her campaign as a grass-roots effort to build a network of new leaders in Boston.
“If you really want to make change in this world of ours, you can’t just be sitting on the sidelines,” Golar Richie said. “You’ve got to get in it to win it. And guess what, I’m in it.”
Golar Richie is one of 12 candidates running to succeed Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who is not seeking a sixth term. She is the only woman in the race, and Golar Richie made light of what might distinguish her from the crowded field.
“I guess I can say I’m the tallest candidate,” Golar Richie said. “And I can also say I’m the only one wearing a skirt.”
Richie served in the Legislature for five years and in Menino’s administration as director of the Department of Neighborhood Development. She managed a 200-person city department with a $100 million budget. She also worked for Governor Deval Patrick and at YouthBuild USA, a national nonprofit that builds affordable housing and works with young people who have limited prospects for employment and education.
In the first major speech of her campaign, Golar Richie vowed to establish a year-round office of youth affairs and to encourage pedestrian and bike travel. She talked of improving schools by pushing for a clear definition of quality and measurements for performance.
Golar Richie talked about crime, telling the audience that in her home neighborhood of Bowdoin-Geneva she has heard too many gunshots and walked past too many teddy bear memorials for victims of violence.
“If we want stability in all of Boston’s neighborhoods,” Golar Richie said, “it is critical that we address crime and violence in our city.”
As mayor, Golar Richie said, her administration will find ways to use new technology to fight crime and create viable reentry plans for people released from prison.
“If you want to see a Boston united by shared goals and a common identity,” Golar Richie implored the crowd, “I need you to stand with me.”Andrew Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.