Built in Boston, City Council candidate Ruthzee Louijeune hopes to build better for the next generation


Avery Bleichfeld

Ruthzee Louijeune is one of the eight at-large candidates vying for a spot on the Boston City Council this fall.

Isabella Ratto, news correspondent

Ruthzee Louijeune, one of the eight at-large candidates vying for a spot on the Boston City Council this fall, is extremely passionate about doing her part for communities similar to the one that she was raised in. 

“I grew up with an understanding that Boston was a diverse city of working-class families just trying to make it,” Louijenue said when asked about Mattapan, the neighborhood where she spent much of her adolescence.   

Within this struggling community she witnessed first-hand the lengths Boston’s citizens will go to support each other. If elected, Louijeune said, much of her attention will go toward doing what she can for these families and neighborhoods. Ones that haven’t historically received recognition but, in her mind, are an integral part of this city’s development. 

“That to me,” said Louijenue, “is [the] richness of history… it’s a richness of the story of everyday people who came together to make Boston what it is.” 

Her desire to aid Boston’s impoverished communities is reflected in the work she is doing with local organizations.

“Something I just did was help negotiate $10 million for a nonprofit here in Dorchester called the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance [or MAHA],” Louijeune said.

This money will go toward assisting first time home-owners, many of whom are of the working-class background Louijeune is highly familiar with. 

Practicing for several years as an attorney has taught Louijeune skills that she feels are highly applicable to the work she would be doing if elected to Boston’s City Council. As can be seen in the deal on behalf of the MAHA, she is a skilled negotiator. 

Louijenue said that she “will bring [her] negotiating skills to bear on behalf of everyone, every resident, every neighborhood here in the city of Boston.”

In addition to working with the MAHA, Louijeune has volunteered her time with various other local nonprofit organizations, several of which are focused on education, an issue of great importance to her.  

“[My parents] really insisted on education being [a] way up and out [for my siblings and I],” Louijeune said.

She has insight into what is needed in Boston’s schools because she attended them, and, in her opinion, there is a lot of work to be done. At the top of this list is implementing important resources inside of public schools from an early grade level to assist the students who need them most.

“I think [one of] the most important [changes to the educational system is] universal pre-K for 4-year-olds and expanding it to 3-year-olds. Working with our family based centers and other centers to make that a reality. The sooner that we get kids in our seats, and we start working on their brains, the more likely we are to break cycles of intergenerational poverty and crime,” she said. 

Louijeune is also passionate about increasing investment in vocational schools. She said “if you have a strong vocational school, it prepares folks for a life in a career in the trades and you’re giving a lot of people a leg up. Especially in Boston … where there’s such a racial wealth gap.” 

Investment in programs like these are a pathway, in her opinion, to comfortable lives in the middle class. 

Another issue Louijeune is highly focused on is the existing racial and gender disparities of Boston’s business owners. She aims to encourage more women in the city, especially Black and Latina women, to pursue entrepreneurship.

 She understands it as a means of “leav[ing] behind the vestige of racism and discriminatory practices when it comes to doing business with the city.” Loujiene made a point of being present for the opening of The Underground, a new Black, female-owned restaurant on Northeastern’s campus which she highly recommends students try. The highly personal level of support demonstrated here indicates how important working towards this equality is to her. 

Much of Louijeune’s agenda represents an effort to combat some of the hardships her parents faced upon arriving in Boston. Her advocacy for both minority and low-income communities in the past reflects the passion she feels for helping some of Boston’s most deserving residents achieve a better life.