Chelsea Councilor Damali Vidot Votes “No” on City Budget Amid COVID-19 Budget Cuts to Essential Services

On Monday night, At-Large Chelsea City Councilor and Candidate for State Representative of Charlestown and Chelsea Damali Vidot voted against the proposed municipal budget for the City of Chelsea. Though the budget ultimately passed by an 8-3 vote, Vidot cited differences between her values and the values reflected in the proposed budget, rallying  two other Councilors to join in a dissenting vote. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic and yet we’re seeing proposed budget cuts to some of the most important departments, such as Health and Human Services” said Vidot. She added that “We needed more creativity in this budget. Cutting the funding for this department in a city that has lost 152 lives is unacceptable.”

Councilor Vidot has long been a leading voice on the Chelsea City Council, lifting community voices, especially those from communities that are often left out but most impacted.

In a Facebook Live chat following the budget vote Monday night, Vidot reflected further on her decision to vote against the budget in light of the upcoming Independence Day holiday, adding that “the values of democracy have been central to the United States since its founding, and sometimes the deliberation process leaves too many voices out. Our government must have space for all voices, especially the marginalized and vulnerable. Our government must be representative of the people it serves.” Despite the budget’s passage, Vidot emphasized, “Tonight I voted on my values. You can always expect that from me. As always, it is an honor to serve my community.”

Channeling her commitment to younger voices, Councilor Vidot highlighted that some of the Founding Fathers were in their 20s or early 30s. Serving as inspiration, Councilor Vidot committed to continuing to engage today’s youth in the democratic process: “Right now, our young voices are leading the conversation on the most challenging topics we’ve ever discussed, urging us to reflect and change. Young people across this nation are telling us that for too long we have been complacent with a system that leaves so many out.” Earlier this week, Vidot participated in a conversation on race and equity organized by the youth-focused Turn It Around Charlestown Coalition and Boston City Councilor for District 1, Lydia Edwards. Vidot said she was “so moved by the work of young people. I am heartened by the diverse array of local youth who showed up for these much needed conversations. This is how we move forward together.”

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