With Michelle Wu now advancing to the general election, we enthusiastically recommend that JPP endorse her for Mayor of Boston.
Michelle has shown herself to be a brilliant thinker, both in policy and politics. Voters can always count on her to do her homework and be thoroughly informed on the issues that matter to our city. As a city councilor, Michelle led on equity issues such as paid parental leave for city employees, prohibiting health insurance discrimination based on gender identity, increasing language access for city services, and pushing for food justice and greater racial equity in city procurement contracts. We love her consistent, outspoken leadership on city transit issues, putting forward a vision for free public transit that is now being piloted on bus routes here and in other MA cities, as well as her commitment to support the reestablishment of rent control and to prioritize housing justice. In short, her ability to develop plans that capture her vision for the future of our City is inspiring. Michelle is constantly thinking outside the box with innovative tactics and collaborations while working to tackle structural issues, from campaign finance to climate change. And her deep commitment to addressing climate change now rather than later has earned her the support of Sunrise Movement Boston, the Sierra Club, 350+ Mass Action, and ELM Action Fund.
We are at a pivotal time in our cityâ€™s history, and we have the opportunity to elect a genuinely forward-thinking mayor this November. We cannot afford to sit back and relax nowâ€”while Michelle got the most votes in the preliminary, thatâ€™s no guarantee for the general, and itâ€™s important that we all come together and do everything we can to elect Michelle Wu as Bostonâ€™s next mayor.
CITY COUNCIL AT LARGE
Julia Mejia (City Council At-Large)
Julia Mejia has been an unapologetic and tireless champion of the progressive causes we care so much about in her first term as city councilor. After her stunning one-vote win, she and her office went to work, with a particular focus on the issues confronting low-income communities in Boston. She is serving as Chair of the Committee on Civil Rights and the Committee of Small Business and Workforce Development. In that role, she and her team created culturally responsive food access projects to support small businesses and feed our most vulnerable, as well as a COVID business readiness program to build capacity for Black, Brown, and immigrant-owned barbers and hairstylists. Her office has also designed and implemented a community-centered civic engagement model to address city-wide quality of life concerns and filed legislation to improve access and accountability in city government. Julia has wielded her focus, persistence, and grassroots organizing skills to make sure all of Bostonâ€™s communities have a seat at the table, particularly working-class communities of color. She has brought energy and passion to the Council this term, despite the incredible difficulties of learning a job and building an office in the midst of a global pandemic, and we agree she has more than earned a second term.
David Halbert (City Council At-Large)
David Halbert first ran for City Council in 2019 and received our endorsement then. David has come back stronger than ever and is delivering a more effective message, grounded in the same values. He combines progressive ideas and how different policy areas intersect with one another, which has led to his proposals for solutions that speak to the systemic and institutional change we need in government. He has the background as well as the skill and expertise to bring these changes into practice. As a former staffer for former City Councilor Sam Yoon, David has a deep understanding of how City Council can act to make positive change in our city. His work and experiences span the city, from East Boston Main Streets to his home in Mattapan. He is also a BPS parent and is committed to education equity for all students in the City. In addition to the importance of his experience and ideas, David would be the first Black man elected citywide in 40 years. David would be a thoughtful, honest, and consistent progressive councilor.
Ruthzee Louijeune (City Council At-Large)
Ruthzee Louijeune is the daughter of Haitian immigrants and was born and raised in Boston and attended Boston Public Schools. While a student at Harvard Law School, she volunteered with Project No One Leaves and was Co-Director of the Eviction Clinic at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, providing legal assistance for individuals facing evictions and representing them in Boston Housing Court. She is currently a lawyer and advocate who works with the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance. In addition to her work on housing issues, she created a program called Each One Teach One, which mentors young Haitian immigrants. She also worked at the Posse Foundation, a non-profit working on expanding access, equity, and meritocracy in education. Ruthzee served as Senior Counsel on Senator Elizabeth Warrenâ€™s presidential and Senate campaigns and she has been endorsed by both Senator Warren and by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz. She would be a great addition to the Boston City Council. Several times during the forum other candidates responded â€œI agree with Ruthzee,â€ as do we.
Carla Monteiro (City Council At-Large)
Throughout the preliminary election, Carla Monteiro showed us that she walks the talk when it comes to standing up for progressive values, beyond questionnaires and candidate forums. She was one of the few candidates to show up for the rally in support of our neighbors who are facing displacement at the Forbes Building. She testified at an outdoor hearing in Roxbury with the chairs of the State Legislatureâ€™s Redistricting Committee in support of creating a majority Black Senate district in Boston. She shows up everywhere, and in all the places you would hope to see a progressive with a strong connection to community. Â She has also received important endorsements, including from City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia. Councilor Mejia’s accomplishments remind us how important it is to ensure all Bostonâ€™s communities are represented at City Hall and how the lived experience of elected officials influences the issues that are brought to the Council. Carla would bring a unique lens to the Council. Her experience as a licensed social worker will be invaluable as we confront the mental health and substance abuse crises that surround us and as we strive to reform the Cityâ€™s approach to public safety. Â
DISTRICT 6 CITY COUNCIL
Kendra Hicks is a first-generation Black Dominican woman, a community organizer and activist, an artist, and a BPS parent. Her long-standing commitment to and work in her community has led her to a theory of change that prioritizes the voices and needs of the community itself. Kendra practices collaborative politicsâ€”inviting residents into the process, empowering their voices, and centering collaboration in her leadership. Her astounding 36-part policy platform was created in partnership with residents and leaders from every part of District 6. This yearâ€™s election is District 6â€™s first competitive race in more than a decade and offers us the chance to elect a bold, collaborative, and progressive councilor. Kendra Hicks is exactly that person, and we trust Kendra to continue her collective community-building work that connects and truly represents every bit of District 6.
DISTRICT 4 CITY COUNCIL
Jamaica plain includes a few precincts in the Woodbourne and Walk Hill neighborhoods that fall within the 4th City Council District. The two finalists in the race to represent District 4 present a clear contrast in progressive values, and for this reason the JP Progressives membership has voted overwhelmingly to endorsed Evandro Carvalho. Evandro has an impressive personal story of resiliency and resolve. He immigrated to Boston from Cape Verde when he was 15 years old, speaking little English at the time. As a teenager he worked alongside his single mother as a janitor to support their family while attending Madison Park High School. He went on to attend UMass Amherst and Howard Law and has since demonstrated his passion for public service. After serving as an Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County, he was elected as a State Representative in the Massachusetts House, where he became a champion for criminal justice reform. As a State Rep, he was a leader on criminal justice reform legislation, including championing bills to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes and changing the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system to make applying for jobs, housing, and other benefits more accessible for people with criminal records.
Evandro’s positions on other important progressive policies stand in sharp contrast to those of his opponent, Brian Worrell. Carvalho supports shuttering the BPD gang database, a hard cap on police overtime, safe consumption sites, rent control, and breaking up the BPDA – all of which Worrell opposes. Similarly, Evandro is opposed to new fossil fuel infrastructure and the expansion of charter schools in Boston, both of which Worrell supports. We could go on, but you can see a snapshot of their differences in this tweet or the full responses of both candidates to the Progressive Mass Questionnaire at the links below. Perhaps most concerning, Worrell has been endorsed by the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association.
As a progressive, Evandro’s priorities for the City Council are what you would expect, but he will bring additional qualities, including passion, truth-telling, and a real commitment to the democratic processes that champion the needs of youth, immigrants, and the movement for Black lives. This is a time of profound change for Boston and we have an opportunity to have an even more progressive and stronger City Council. Evandro Carvalho will be an important part of this new future
YES ON #1: FOR A BETTER CITY BUDGET
Question 1 is a binding question regarding the city charter and Boston’s budgeting process and has two main parts. Reform 1: Allow Boston City Councilors to better represent our neighborhoods by giving them the tools to amend and improve the Mayor’s budget. The Mayor would still create the budget, but the Council could make changes to subsections through a majority vote. Reform 2: By 2024, create an independent office of Participatory Budgeting to allow Boston residents to propose and vote on parts of our annual budget. These reforms will increase transparency, accountability, and democracy in Boston’s budgeting process. Click here for the final charter amendment as passed by the City Council & approved by the Mayor and Attorney General. https://yeson1boston.com/
NO ON #2: NO EASTIE SUBSTATION
A non-binding advisory question, Question 2 asks, “Should a high voltage, electric substation be built at 400 Condor Street in East Boston, along the Chelsea Creek, near homes, parks, playgrounds, jet fuel storage, and in a flood risk area rather than in a nearby alternative safe and secure location such as non-residential Massport land at Logan Airport?” The proposed substation would be located in an area that floods during storms, giving rise to concerns about possible explosions. It’s also adjacent to a playground and only a few hundred feet from a large storage area for Massport’s jet fuel. The site had been promised to the community as a space for outdoor recreation. The working-class, immigrant-heavy community has already been overburdened with industrial pollution from the nearby airport and highway and from regional stockpiles of jet fuel, residential heating oil, and road salt. https://xrmass.org/wiki/substation/
YES ON #3: ELECTED BOSTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE
Question 3, another non-binding advisory question, reads: “Should the current appointed school committee structure be changed to a school committee elected by the residents of Boston?” Boston is the ONLY municipality in MA that is not allowed to elect its own school committee representation. This is a voting rights issue, as well as an issue of accountability to the community and to BPS students, families, and other stakeholders. Boston’s school committee was switched to an appointed structure in 1991, after a previous non-binding advisory question squeaked through with a razor-thin 1.5% margin, failing in every neighborhood of color and in South Boston.
ELECTION 2021 RESOURCES
Read the candidates responses to questionnaires distributed by the Boston Chapters of Progressive Mass here: https://www.progressivemass.com/boston2021questionnaires/
Watch the videos of our candidate forums (Preliminary Election cycle) here: https://www.youtube.com/user/jpprogressives