By Lauren Bennett
Louisiana native Landon Lemoine has lived within District 8 since 2009, and is joining Kristen Mobilia and Helene Vincent in the race for the District 8 City Council seat currently held by Josh Zakim.
Lemoine was raised in Baton Rouge by a public school teacher and a bootstrapped metal fabrication business owner. He said that his parents instilled in him early on a “roll up your sleeves” kind of attitude and to help those who may not have the same opportunities. When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, Lemoine worked for a few different non-profits to help rebuild the community.
“New Orleans has such a definite character and a unique personality,” Lemoine said, and compared it to that of Boston. Lemoine came to Boston to go to Northeastern University, where he studied communications and political science. He said he was drawn to the culture and history of Boston, and feels that the issues of his potential constituents are ones that are real for him as well.
“There’s a pattern of not caring, and that pattern has to stop,” he says of his reason for running for City Council. “Everyone can give back to their community, even if it’s in a modest way.”
“I have planted trees, painted the Knights of Columbus, worked for Rosie’s place, volunteered for the Red Sox,” he said, “always trying to do my part where I can.”
Right now, Lemoine works for a healthcare startup as the VP of Growth. He is responsible for figuring out how the company can grow, which includes “getting hands on and involved.”
Lemoine is also a member of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay technology task force, which is part of the reason why he wants to bring community innovation to District 8 should he be elected. “Community innovation can come in all shapes and sizes,” he said. But he said he really wants to make sure that there are more women and minority owned businesses, and that new ideas are being brought forward.
“I don’t believe the politics of the past are working,” he said. “I do believe that Boston is such a fast growing city—policies have to align with the city so everyone can be successful.”
Aside from community innovation, Lemoine says his top issues are affordable housing, education, and public safety.
He says that as far as affordable housing goes, “new construction can play around with the line for what is affordable. We have to make that process as clear and as straightforward as we can,” he said. He said that the wage gap must be closed and more affordable housing for all needs to be brought to District 8.
Lemoine said is goal is to have a family in the city, but “there needs to be a new school in District 8,” he said. He said that parents should not have to look to the suburbs for places to send their children to school. He said that he feels that “leveraging the leaders of industry in the area”—science, engineering, technology, medical—to create more programs for youth while they’re in school will help them further specific skills that will help to bridge the opportunity gap.
Lemoine said the haas personally experienced a break-in and a shattered car window, so he sympathizes with those in areas where this is especially prevalent, such as the Back Bay. “I see the importance of collaboration between law enforcement and community,” Lemoine said. He wants to make sidewalks and bike lanes safer, as well as educate homeowners about how to make their homes more secure. He said he would also like to hold landlords and property managers accountable for updating keypad locks and doors. He added that incorporating technology for keeping parks safer will “bring the neighborhood to the next stage.”
He has also taken a look at the data for 311 calls regarding potholes and unsafe sidewalks. Since 2014, over there have been over 18,000 requests for pothole repair and over 13,000 for sidewalk repair requests. He said when he goes to meetings, he only hears about new construction, but he feels that there is not enough being done to address the current infrastructure and its issues. “It doesn’t take a tour around the city to see what’s happening and what the problem is in the streets every single day,” he said. He said that City Hall needs to pull more from data scientists and engineers, and that’s something he would do as City Councilor. “Good data creates good policy,” he said.
Lemoine also said that he doesn’t think people should “vote for officials by default,” and that people should be excited about new ideas. “Everything I do is going to be based in reality—real issues, real data that need to be solved by real solutions,” he said.
He said that he wants to keep his campaign as local as possible, and wants to “cut through the noise” of the plethora of issues that the community faces to “get to what people are complaining about every single day.”
He said he admires the current administration’s transparency, but looks forward to bringing new ideas and new solutions to the table through innovation. “I don’t even believe in career politicians anymore—you have to live it to solve it,” Lemoine said. “I am not afraid to work harder than anyone and roll up my sleeves, being on the ground, filling a pothole if I have to.”
“We need somebody that’s going to have the energy and be excited to get stuff done,” he said.
Lemoine officially announced his campaign next Thursday, Feb. 21, in the Fenway.