Candidate at a glance

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN NEW BEDFORD? WARD 5?
Camacho spent time outside the city, but says she was born and raised in New Bedford and has resided in Ward 4 as well as Ward 5, where she has lived for nearly three years.
WORK:
Works as the Community Engagement and Mobilization Coordinator for the HEAL Center, a NorthStar initiative. And she’s a “proud mom.”
FACEBOOK PAGE

Q&A
Raena Camacho

Tell us briefly about your qualifications and why you are running.

I served Brockton’s Mayor Harrington, under the city’s economic development firm (a quasi-entity) promoting sustainable action strategies, affordable housing and activities which fostered economic and cultural growth. I believe in providing culturally responsive care to marginalized communities and have a great passion for my city. My real-world training and cross-cultural skills make me the perfect candidate for Ward 5 City Council.

Amid rising home prices and escalating monthly rents, what can New Bedford do to ensure there is enough affordable housing for those who want to continue living in the city?

Focus on solution-based initiatives. Eliminate regulatory barriers at the local, state and federal level to leverage our building capacity. Be intentional in lobbying for regulatory policies that support affordable housing. Utilize innovation to increase productivity and leverage capital. Be strategic in upstreaming and collaborative efforts. Offer financial literacy workshops, credit repair, homebuyer’s education courses, home lotteries and Community Development Block Grant funding for revitalization. Tap into creative financing to leverage home ownership. Offer higher incentives for New Bedford residents vs. non-residents. In terms of space, I suggest we begin to build upwards!

Police and fire departments recently shifted staff and consolidated operations in a new public safety station in the city’s South End. Is there still adequate public safety in Ward 5? How will you work to keep the neighborhoods safe?

I believe in fiscal responsibility not modernized government — public safety before innovation. Uprooting public safety in communities where it is most needed leaves our elderly, youth and families vulnerable. It will be crucial to develop emergency management plans and streamline directly into culturally reflective community policing. Mandate higher-education requirements, restorative justice and alternative diversion programming for officers. View crime from a public health lens. Bridge cultural gaps by utilizing community resource liaisons. Cultivate partnerships with stakeholders to increase trust, encourage accountability and build engagement. Eliminate blight, repair harm, and provide employment and youth programming to increase quality of life.

New Bedford has a higher rate of COVID-19 than the state average, along with a lower vaccination rate. Are you in favor of mandatory vaccines for public employees as announced by Mayor Jon Mitchell? If not, what would you do to make New Bedford residents safer amid the rising cases?

Vaccination laws violate the 14th amendment due process rights. I believe in the constitution and keeping the rights of our people intact, therefore I do not believe in mandatory vaccines but the right to choose. Enforcing mandatory vaccines can result in the destabilization of our communities and our economy. It can also come with legalities around liability. Limiting the risk of workplace exposure can be done by providing reassignment and remote work but by also making sure employees are compliant with COVID protocol and COVID health screenings. I believe you can be pro-vaccine while also being anti-mandate.


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