JPP’s 2023 Boston City Council General Election Endorsements

JPP members voted to endorse Councilor Julia Mejia, Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune, and Henry Santana for At Large City Council and Ben Weber for D6 City Council. Read our endorsements below:

Councilor Julia Mejia (At Large) and Julia Mejia’s Progressive Mass Questionnaire
Julia Mejia continues to be an unwavering champion of the progressive causes that are at the heart of our organization’s values. Councilor Mejia’s dedication to inclusive civic participation and transparency has been the hallmark of her tenure; a commitment that has extended beyond policy-making and legislation. Her approach may sometimes be unconventional, but it’s precisely why she is so effective and beloved by her constituents, many of whom have been historically excluded from government processes. Councilor Mejia understands that she has to meet her constituents where they are, from using social media and other platforms to share highlights and updates from council meetings and committee hearings or through the constant flow of virtual and in-person events and town halls, she creates opportunities for constituents to have direct access to information and engage in meaningful discussions. And she continues to show up despite the constant barrage of harassment and incivility she and other City Councilors have increasingly been forced to endure.

We are particularly appreciative of the Councilor’s extensive efforts to involve young people in the political process. Through the Civic Engagement Institute established by her office or the weekly mental health check-ins during COVID, she is tireless in her effort and genuine concern for the well-being and involvement of Boston’s youth.

Julia is also an excellent example of why the lived experience of our elected officials matter. Born in the Dominican Republic, Councilor Mejia moved to the United States when she was 5 years old and was forced at an early age to serve as an interpreter for her mother and many other English language learners in her community who were unable to access the very institutions that were supposed to serve them. It is no surprise that one of Julia’s significant accomplishments during her time on the council is the filing and passing of a language access ordinance. This legislation expanded existing laws to provide essential services to people who speak languages other than English, breaking down barriers and promoting inclusivity in city government. 

Under her leadership as Chair of the Committee of Small Business and Workforce Development, the Councilor and her team created culturally responsive food access initiatives as well as a COVID business readiness program to build capacity for Black, Brown, and immigrant-owned barbers and hairstylists. 

As Chair of the Committee on Education, she has also championed transparency and civic engagement, holding town halls around BPS school reopenings post-COVID. And while it was ultimately vetoed by the Mayor, JP Progressives is especially grateful to Councilor Mejia for filing the home rule petition for an elected school committee in Boston.

As she seeks a third term, we believe that Julia Mejia’s accomplishments and unwavering commitment to progressive values make her an important voice on the council, where we know she will continue advocating for an inclusive, equitable, and thriving Boston. Her focus on serving underrepresented communities, promoting transparency, and engaging residents in the decision-making process is precisely the kind of leadership our city needs. The JPP Steering Committee wholeheartedly recommends endorsing Julia Mejia for re-election to the Boston City Council At Large, confident that she will continue to be a strong voice for positive change in our community and will deliver on her mantra of all means all.

Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune
(At-Large) and Ruthzee Louijeune’s Progressive Mass Questionnaire
JP Progressives endorsed Ruthzee Louijeune during her first run for office in 2021, and she has not disappointed us. Her lived experience as a daughter of working-class immigrants from Haiti, a product of Boston Public Schools, and an experienced lawyer who has represented families facing eviction and foreclosure, plus her involvement in supporting voting rights cases in front of the Supreme Court, has made her a thoughtful, inclusive leader on the City Council

During her first term she advocated for the allocation of federal ARPA funds to the communities most in need, focusing on housing, small businesses, and seniors. She worked in partnership with community groups and leaders to ensure the funds would materially impact those communities. She held hearings on the needs of migrant communities and on civil rights. She filed resolutions and passed legislation on a myriad of issues including anti-displacement efforts, beekeeping, fair housing, the unionization of fire and emergency relief services, and regulating limited service pregnancy centers and crisis pregnancy centers in the City of Boston. Councilor Louijene filed a home rule petition (that passed in the State House) that released four liquor licenses to the Bolling Building in Roxbury and one to the Strand Theatre in Dorchester, because she understands that restaurant clusters are economic and social anchors in Boston’s neighborhoods. 

After a federal judge blocked the Council’s original redistricting map, several councilors pushed for redistricting to be handled by the Committee on Civil Rights and Immigrant Advancement, which Councilor Louijeune chairs. Councilor Louijeune led the work that ultimately produced a 10-2 vote on a final district map, after a contentious process that was summarized by the Boston Globe as “two weeks, four map proposals, five marathon hearings, and countless personal attacks.” This was not an easy task with a body as polarized as the current City Council, but Councilor Louijeune did a remarkable job in the face of the intense pressures related to finalizing these maps

Finally, Councilor Louijeune shows up: for other progressive candidates, for her constituents, and importantly for Jamaica Plain. She does this proactively and with a strong sense of solidarity. From Wake Up the Earth to JP Open Streets to local ward committee meetings, Ruthzee is a constant presence in Jamaica Plain, which is not something we can say for two of the current at-large city councilors. Engaging with all Boston residents is an important value for a councilor serving at large.

It is clear to the JPP Steering Committee that Boston needs the calm and principled leadership of Ruthzee Louijeune on the City Council.

Henry Santana (At-Large) and Henry Santana’s Progressive Mass Questionnaire
JPP’s Steering Committee recommends endorsing Henry Santana for Boston City Council At-Large because the future of the council as a progressive body is at stake. We believe Henry’s presence will be critical on the council and that he will join our other endorsed and previously elected At-Large City Councilors Ruthzee Louijeune and Julia Mejia in holding the line on the progressive policies that are most likely to address our housing crisis. Based on Henry’s responses to the Progressive Mass Questionnaire, we know that he is aligned with us on the issues, but we are also excited to have a young leader on the Council who can champion the issues that many of his generation care so deeply about, including housing stability and a holistic approach to public safety, environmental justice, and civic engagement.

We also believe that it’s important to have elected officials who reflect the composition of our city, and Henry does that. He will bring the lens of another neighborhood, Mission Hill, to the mix of those represented by our at-large city councilors. He has personally experienced the barriers and inequities that persist within our civic institutions as an immigrant and as a first-generation college student. And he will bring the unique perspective of someone who grew up in public housing to the current dialogue around housing affordability. Henry deeply understands the challenges faced by low-income residents and this firsthand experience fuels his passion to develop a comprehensive housing policy that includes increasing funding for public housing and implementing tenant protections. Throughout his career and life, he has demonstrated he is dedicated to empowering youth and fostering leadership in our neighborhood. Additionally, Henry’s experience as the City’s inaugural Director of the Office of Civic Organizing and as Councilor Kenzie Bok’s neighborhood liaison will be helpful to ensuring the Council stays grounded in the needs and voices of the residents of Boston. 

Henry’s endorsement by several elected officials who we respect further reinforces our belief in his ability to effect meaningful change. Leaders who share his vision for a more equitable and inclusive city have recognized Henry’s potential to bring about positive transformations in Boston. His commitment to environmental justice and creating a greener city is resonating with environmental advocates and community leaders who understand the urgent need for sustainable policies. Moreover, his holistic and multifaceted approach to public safety—which includes understanding the links between housing stability, mental health services, and investments in programming for  positive youth development—has garnered support from activists working toward safer neighborhoods for everyone. 

We believe Henry’s lived and professional experience give him a relevant and compelling background to tackle pressing issues facing residents of our city and make him a much needed voice for the Council. Our endorsement of Henry Santana would be an endorsement for a more inclusive, sustainable, and just Boston.

Ben Weber for District 6 and Ben Weber’s Progressive Mass Questionnaire
JP Progressives is endorsing Ben Weber for D6 City Council. During our membership vote prior to the preliminary election, JPP used ranked-choice voting and Ben clearly was our members’ top choice of the two candidates who advanced to the general election. As we fast approach Election Day on November 7, it is important to ensure that the City Council–and especially our district–has strong progressive representation.

Ben is a worker’s rights attorney who has dedicated his life to working for clients to ensure equity and justice. He began his career providing free legal services for migrant farmworkers in the South. He is not afraid to take action when he sees inequality in the workplace and has sued the Boston Police Department over its promotion policies. 

As a BPS parent, Ben understands how complex it is to navigate the system to ensure that students with special needs have the resources they require for success. He believes, as we do, that every child, regardless of zip code or what school they attend, should receive the quality education they deserve, including access to resources such as music and the arts. 

He will be a climate justice city councilor and fight to expand public green spaces and limit the use of fossil fuels in new construction. Ben is committed to preserving our communities’ cultural diversity and promoting the success of locally owned businesses. He understands that housing affordability is a major concern, and that all residents deserve a safe and affordable place to call home.

Ben is someone who will listen to his constituents as well as the experts. He is committed to learning from and collaborating with members of the community. His social policies are the same as JPP’s, to identify and find ways of reducing inequalities in whatever form they take and to continue to move the City of Boston forward. 

Ben has been endorsed by Mayor Wu, State Representative Sam Montaño, and more than ten unions including SEIU 1199, 888, and 509 as well as Local 26. We believe that Ben shares our values and concerns. We ask you to join us in supporting Ben Weber for D6 City Councilor.