Welcome to MALN Opinion+, a weekly series airing every Friday. This is a space for our opinions, where we talk about current events and questions the Latino community is curious about!
This week we were joined by Mayor Kendrys Vasquez of Lawrence Mass. Prior to the start of his term as Mayor of Lawrence, Vasquez had years of experience as one of the city’s youngest council members along with previously held roles in health care and government administration.
Mayor Vasquez and I sat down to talk about how the first seven months of his short term have gone, his plans for the continued support of Lawrence’s small businesses that were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, and how his administration aims to keep the community safe as the Covid-19 delta variant spreads quickly across the state.
Vasquez told me that at first when he took over as mayor it felt like he was “governing two cities.” The City of Lawrence with all of its daily necessary functions, and a city with specific needs for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. He said it was important to stay on top of the needs of the community by setting up call centers so citizens could get frequent updates and ask questions about the pandemic, and testing centers to keep track of the virus’ spread in the city.
Another important aspect of his work that Mayor Vasquez mentioned was his goal to help small local businesses through this tough time. Many local shops were hit hard by the pandemic and Vasquez told me they are working to help not only businesses find the funding they need to stay afloat but also have helped provide things like child care for employees and shuttles so they are able to get to work.
Be sure to watch this week’s interview for more detailed information on how Mayor Vasquez and the city of Lawrence’s local government are working to keep people safe and businesses open during these tough times.
Resources mentioned in the video:
City of Lawrence Summer Series event info