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Dorcena targets violence, poverty in campaign against Menino

Democratic mayoral candidate Will Dorcena said Boston deserves a mayor who would implement effective policies for residents and focus on the incorporation of marginalized Bostonians.

“We can do better as a city and we can do better as a community to stop violence and try to eradicate poverty,” Dorcena said.

Dorcena said Boston is in dire need of great leadership that “galvanizes, energizes and engages,” the public and inspires community-wide discussion.

He is the first opponent to challenge Mayor Thomas Menino, who could be running for an unprecedented sixth term in 2013. Menino has not announced whether or not he will seek reelection.

Although Dorcena lost his 2011 Boston At-Large City Council campaign, he said he learned how to run an effective canvass and is now ready to seriously challenge Menino.

“I’m starting much earlier this time with the grassroots campaign,” Dorcena said. “I’m motivated to run for mayor because, the honest truth is, it’s been a long-term goal of mine.”

Dorcena said that if elected he would focus on strengthening Boston’s public schools and lowering crime and violence rates among youth.

The “vicious cycle” of poverty, Dorcena said, should be one of the city’s main priorities, a process he said Menino has failed to solve.

This cycle is one Dorcena said he was exposed to growing up in the outskirts of Boston in Dorchester.

“The thing I heard the most growing up, which really stuck with me was, ‘by the time you are 18, you’ll be shot dead or in prison,’” Dorcena said.

A number of his peers accepted this state of mind, but by making good choices, Dorcena said he did not allow this outcome.

“I was able to overcome that because I made good choices on a daily basis,” he said. “I’m inspired by the fact that it’s possible, that there’s hope to teach the next generation of kids that your life does not have to be what others have predetermined it to be.”

Dorcena said there are many private schools that can be used as role models for good education systems in the public school system.

He said charter schools, independent schools and institutions such as the Boston Latin Academy have effective education systems and ideas that should be discussed in town meetings throughout Boston.

“What I’m proposing is, and what I will execute as mayor, is to pull together the leadership and the parents who are involved with all these schools and bring them together to ensure we make the best practices in these schools,” Dorcena said.

While Dorcena said implementing these practices would require a “spirited conversation with the Boston teacher’s union,” it is one that he is able and willing to have.

Dorcena, the son of Haitian immigrants, said the diversity of Boston is what makes the city strong. He said he loves how Bostonians “get so many different cultures melded here in one big melting pot.”

While at Babson College earning his Masters of Business Administration, Dorcena served as president of student government.

He has sat on more than 11 boards throughout the city, taught part-time at Madison Park High School and acted as a trustee at Roxbury Community College, he said. He was also involved with running the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Dorcena said as mayor he would engage with public and accurately represent them.

“I would be front-and-center — live and die by you,” he said. “Whatever it would be, I would live and die by it, because I know that every step of the way I would have engaged the public and created the opportunity for the families of the 22-plus neighborhoods of the city to have a voice and to put some skin in the game.”

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