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Boston Voters to Choose Next Mayor from Most Diverse Candidate Pool Ever

September 14, 2021 by Dan McCue
The City of Boston.

BOSTON, Mass. — Voters in Boston are casting their ballots for mayor on Tuesday, choosing from the most diverse mayoral slate in the city’s fabled history.

The Sept. 14 vote, of course, is just the city’s preliminary mayoral election, intended to pare the field down from five major candidates to the two that will face off in November.

The final poll of the campaign showed the lead being held by Michelle Wu, the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Boston City Council. 

Wu garnered 31% support in the Suffolk/Globe poll of 500 likely voters, followed by Acting Mayor Kim Janey with 20%, City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George with 19%, City Councilor Andrea Campbell with 18% and former city economic development chief John Barros with 3%. The margin of error was +/- 4.4%.

The Suffolk/Globe poll was the third poll she’d topped in as many weeks.

Wu, whose parents emigrated to the United States from Taiwan before she was born, later graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School. 

Wu got her start in city government, working for Mayor Thomas M. Menino as a Rappaport fellow in Law and Public Policy. She later served as statewide constituency director in the U.S. Senate campaign of her former law professor, Elizabeth Warren.

She was first elected to the city council in 2013, when she was 28, and she was later elected council president.

Second place in the most recent polling in the race had acting Mayor KIm Janey and City Councilor Andrea Campbell in a virtual tie.

Kim Janey was named acting mayor in March after Marty Walsh resigned to serve as President Joe Biden’s secretary of labor. A native of the city’s Roxbury neighborhood, Janey became the first person of color and the first woman to serve as Boston’s mayor when she was sworn in on March 24.

Before assuming the mayor’s office, Janey was Boston City Council president after being elected to the body in 2017, as the first woman to represent Boston’s 7th District, which includes parts of the South End, Dorchester and Fenway.

The grandmother of three has been running on her family’s deep roots in the community, where they’ve been educators, entrepreneurs and community advocates.

Andrea Campbell has served on the City Council since 2015, and served as city council president before Janey, making her the first Black woman in that position.

Campbell’s personal biography is marked by tragedy and triumph.She was just eight months old when her mom died in a car accident going to visit her father who was incarcerated at the time.

Despite such adversity, Campbell excelled in school, attending Boston Latin School, Princeton University and UCLA Law School. 

LIke Wu, City Councilor at-Large Annissa Essaibi George, who was third in the polls heading into the election, is also the daughter of immigrants. Her father arrived in the U.S. from Tunisia, and her mother, from a displaced persons camp in Germany after World War II.

Essaibi George graduated from Boston Technical High School, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Boston University and a master’s degree in Education from University of Massachusetts Boston.

Starting in 2001, Essaibi George taught Economics, Business Management and Health & Human Services to juniors and seniors at East Boston High School. 

She is also the founder and owner of Stitch House, a retail store that sells yarn and fabrics. She was first elected to the Boston City Council in 2015.

The fifth candidate of note in the race is John Barros, who served for seven years as chief of economic development under former Mayor Marty Walsh. 

The son of Cape Verdean immigrants, Barros became a community organizer while in his teens, and later graduated from Dartmouth.

After a period in the business, Barros went on to head the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, a community-based planning and organizing group in a low-income section of Boston. 

During his tenure, the initiative partnered with developers to create 300 new homes, a town common, gardens, urban agriculture, parks and playgrounds. An additional 300 housing units have been rehabilitated.

It was due to this experience that former Mayor Walsh tapped him to serve as his economic development chief.

Also running are bank vice president and developer Robert Cappucci, and North End resident Richard Spagnuolo.

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