At-Large City Councilor and mayoral candidate Michelle Wu fielded questions about making public transportation free, structural changes to the Boston Police Department, an elected school committee, and more. Q: Many of your big proposals require State House and Governor approval like a Free T and rent stabilization. What is your specific plan to get these passed on Beacon Hill? Wu: Boston needs bold leadership and a broad coalition to fight for what we need. I’m proud to have the support of many state and federal leaders and know that we will have to work together at all levels of government to deliver change.
Boston City Council District 6 candidate Kendra Hicks fielded questions from Jamaica Plain News about housing, Boston Public Schools, police, and more. The following interview was conducted electronically.
Q: You shot out of the gate after announcing your candidacy like very few candidates in recent years. How long have you been preparing to run for District 6? Hicks: I have been a community organizer since I was 15 and, for the past six years, have committed myself to supporting nonprofit organizations in shifting their structures to be more equitable. I had not planned on running for the city council, but the social uprisings in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, including here in D6, made it clear that our residents demanded strong leadership.
At-Large City Councilor and mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George fielded questions about police body cameras, gentrification, development and more. The following interview was conducted through email. Q: What is your specific plan to address the rising cost of living in Boston? Essaibi George: Boston’s residents are struggling to pay rent, our families can’t find or afford stable housing, and too many individuals are experiencing chronic homelessness. COVID-19 has only emphasized these realities, and those effects will last long after the pandemic.
Boston City Council District 6 candidate Mary Tamer fielded questions from Jamaica Plain News about development, whether she supports having an elected school committee, police, and more. The following interview was conducted electronically.
Q: You chose to run for the Boston City Council District 6 seat after the current councilor announced he would not seek reelection. Why did you decide to run? Tamer: With the number of challenges facing Boston right now, it was the right time for me to serve by bringing my advocacy, public service, and leadership experience to help address those challenges. I’ve spent my professional life advocating for families, children, and those whose voices are often not heard.
A few days ago, a mailer arrived in the mailboxes of some voters in District 6. A composite photo of the D6 city council candidates showed Mary Tamer on one side, in color and light, and Kendra Hicks on the other side, in darkened black and white. This kind of image manipulation is a known racist tactic used to make Black candidates appear menacing, and it is entirely unacceptable. It is difficult to believe that the Tamer campaign was unaware of this trope in the year 2021. On Monday morning, after several days of outrage and pushback from the D6 community, the Tamer campaign released a statement noting that the mailer “did not set the right tone.” We call this a statement and not an apology because nowhere in it was an expression of regret, an acknowledgement of the harm caused, or the word “sorry.”
The mailer also commented on Kendra Hicks’ voting record.
This year, there will be a question on the November ballot that would change how the city budget is created. It would allow the city council to change budget items by a majority vote, and create an Office of Participatory Budgeting to allow people to vote on certain budget items. More of us would get a say in how we spend our city’s money. Currently, city councilors can only vote yes or no on the entire budget; they have no power to shift funds within the budget. Also, there is currently no process for voters in Boston to have direct input on the budget through participatory budgeting processes, a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend a portion of a public budget. This project exists in many other major cities like our neighbors next door in Cambridge, as well as New York, Seattle, Oakland, and Chicago.
Boston City Council District 6 candidate Kendra Hicks responded to a campaign mailer sent by her D6 opponent Mary Tamer this weekend that many community members are calling a racist dogwhistle. Following feedback from the community, Tamer also issued a statement. “In 2021, there is no place for such blatantly racist messaging in a campaign hoping to represent as diverse a community as District 6. I entered this race to meet the urgent need of residents across the city, focused on solutions and with a belief that together we can create better policy with more voices at the table. Darkening or editing a photo of a Black person to look more menacing is a racist tactic that has long been used by candidates in political campaigns, most notably by Republicans.
Seven different ward Democratic Committees are hosting a virtual Boston City Council At-Large candidates forum on October 19. The forum is being sponsored by Democratic Committees for Wards 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 19, and 20. The forum will be moderated by Jacquetta Van Zandt, Vice President of Engagement at the Partnership. All eight candidates have been invited to participate. The candidates running in this race are current At-Large City Councilor Michael Flaherty and Julia Mejia, and Althea Garrison, David Halbert, Ruthzee Louijeune, Carla Monteiro, Erin Murphy and Bridget Nee-Walsh.
Last November, voter turnout was the key to turning the corner on the hatred and ineptitude of the former presidential administration. The highest-ever percentage of voters ages 18-29—53%—showed up to cast their ballot for change. Our kids, who were in 5th grade in Boston Public Schools at the time, were super-engaged: watching parts of the debates, discussing the election with their teachers and classmates, and accompanying us to the polls. And during the run-up to this September’s primaries, we had multiple conversations about how exciting it was to have so many women of color on the ballot and what kind of change that could represent for the city.
At home and during their time in BPS, our kids have learned about how long it took women to secure the right to vote, and how hard African-Americans fought for decades to secure equal access to voting rights. And in both spheres, our kids are learning to be critical thinkers—why did it take women and people of color so long to get the vote?—and how to focus on how they might create change.
As middle schoolers now, our kids get it: The ability to vote is the ability to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and their policies.
Jamaica Plain based nonprofit Ethos is solely devoted to keeping elders at home, and has always created opportunities to bring issues that are relevant to older adults to the forefront of debate among candidates for office and elected officials. With that in mind, Ethos will be hosting two forums, one for Boston City Council's District 6 race and a mayoral forum. Ethos will be hosting its Boston City Council District 6 candidates forum virtually with Kendra Hicks and Mary Tamer on Oct. 13 from 11 am to 12:30 pm. Ethos will be hosting its mayoral candidates forum virtually with At-Large City Councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George on Friday, October 15, from 11:30 am to 1 pm.