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Election Roundup: City Council-at-Large Candidates

It’s officially summer! We made it! It’s also less than 100 days until September’s Preliminary Election; we are right in the heart of what is going to be a very busy election season, especially when it comes to the City Council At-Large seats.

Think of the City Council as Boston’s legislative branch of government. Bostonians are represented by nine District Councilors who represent people who live in distinct areas of the city and by four City Councilors At-Large who represent everyone, across all of the districts. In this election season only two of the current At-Large Councilors are running for reelection, Councilors Michael Flaherty and Julia Mejia. Including our two incumbents, there are SEVENTEEN CANDIDATES vying for the four seats. SEVENTEEN!!!! Here they are, in alphabetical order, with a bit about each one and links to their websites:

  • Said Abdikarim  – Mr. Abdikarim’s goal is to help create a more equal, progressive Boston. To do that he will focus on housing, education, equal opportunities, substance abuse, and the environment.
  • Kelly Bates – According to Ms. Bates, she’s running “for City Council At-Large because I know that by coming together, we can not only repair our communities but reimagine a better and more equitable future for Boston.” She wants to focus on: housing & the economy; public health & violence; women & girls; climate & transportation; schools & young people; & mental health & addiction.
  • James “Reggie” Colimon – Mr. Colimon is running to improve education, uplift minority businesses, and ensure equity across the city. He’s running on a 6-point platform: increase access to opportunities; create a pipeline program for minorities; public safety; access to technology; access to the global economy; and increasing access to basic city services.
  • Domingos DaRosa – At a Ward 4 Committee meeting, Mr. DaRosa said, “Running for the City Council is one thing, however governing and making sure that peoples’ needs  are met is another. We don’t need symbolic leadership in government. We  deserve better and as an At Large City Councilor, I want to provide the type of  hands-on, grassroots, on the ground leadership that will provide a better  education, better housing, better economy for businesses and the average working person, better public safety for not only Methadone Mile but the  surrounding communities, better policing for students and neighborhoods,  better transportation and a better future for us all.”
  • Michael Flaherty  – one of our two incumbents. Councilor Flaherty has been on the Council for 16 year (2000-2008 & 2013 – present) and has accomplished many things and focused one many issues. He has worked with community leaders and other stakeholders to pass regulations on short-term rentals, which will help return units back to the housing market for Boston families to access, he has worked on legislation to increase voter access to the polls and registration, he’s strengthened government transparency through lobbying regulations, and Councilor Flaherty has focused on public safety issues like speed limits and gas leak repairs, the energy efficiency of buildings, and healthy school purchasing standards. Some endorsements are the Boston Teachers Union, Boston FireFighters Local 718, the National Association of Government Employees, the Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589, Iron Workers Local 7 and the Teamsters Local 25.
  • Althea Garrison – no website – Ms. Garrison, a former City Councillor, spoke to the Dorchester Reporter in February“Boston politics is very interesting… just for the last couple of years,” said Garrison, who has been actively running for office in Boston for decades. “I’ve seen change just in the last two years,” she said. Garrison, who has at times run as a Republican, touted her support of the Boston Police Department and bemoaned the fact that, in her opinion, the council has swung too far left. “I’m running to bring it a little more center,” she said.
  • Alex Gray – Mr. Gray believes in developing more affordable and accessible housing options for Bostonians — that connect everyone to transportation, school, work, healthcare, businesses, and green spaces; in expanding job opportunities for Bostonians that pay a living wage, and he wants to guarantee that teachers and students have the resources they need to succeed in the classroom. Mr. Gray believes that all students deserve to have the necessary resources and technology to ensure that learning can continue at home. He’s been endorsed by Run For Something.
  • David Halbert – Mr. Halbert believes that City government needs to work tirelessly to let everyone know they belong here, they are valued parts of this city, and his job is to make their lives better, whether their Boston story stretches back generations, or is just beginning its first chapter. He is focused on housing and education justice, economic opportunities and racial justice and public safety. He has been endorsed by the Massachusetts Nurses Association and Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale.
  • Ruthzee Louijeune – In her campaign launch Ms. Louijeune said, “I have the experience and conviction needed to lead this city forward. We must do more to care for our residents, our children, and our businesses, and we must do so with urgency. As an attorney and advocate, I’ve focused on issues and campaigns that center working people and Black and Latinx communities. I’m running for all of us, and this campaign will need all of us, together, to create an equitable Boston. We can achieve this vision: a city where all feel welcome, a city that is more prosperous, a city that is more just, a city where all are valued and treated with dignity.” She has been endorsed by Boston FireFighters Local 718, Massachusetts Nurses Association, the Boston Teachers Union, and Run For Something.
  • Julia Mejia – one of our two incumbents and is currently in her first term in office. Councillor Mejia believes that our government should constantly be asking itself three important questions: 1. What are we doing to include all voices in the process of government decision-making? 2. What systems do we have in place to hold our city representatives and government agencies fully accountable? 3. How can we remove the unnecessary barriers to our city’s resources and services? Councilor Mejia has focused on those questions and on four major policy areas while in office: Accessibility, Accountability, Transparency, and Civic Engagement.
  • Carla Monteiro – Ms. Monteiro’s vision for Boston includes a Boston where everyone can afford to meet their housing goals, where mental illness and substance use is destigmatized, where every child receives an equitable education complete with the resources and supports they need, and with regard to climate change she will advocate for: a Boston Green New Deal; a fare-free MBTA and expanded public transportation services; mobilizing a civilian climate corps, investing in our urban canopy, especially in communities that have heat deserts; & more efficient and green transportation and buildings within the Boston Public Schools. The National Association of Social Workers – Massachusetts Chapter (NASW-MA) Political Action for Candidate Election (PACE) has endorsed Ms. Monteiro.
  • Erin Murphy*  – Ms. Murphy’s vision for Boston is built on her core beliefs: thriving, best-in-class public schools for every student in every neighborhood; a friendlier city for seniors, with a more compassionate policy focus; stronger outreach to veterans; safer streets and policing across the City, prioritizing community policing; & reducing income inequality by promoting good jobs. Some of Ms. Murphy’s endorsements: the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Boston Firefighters Local 718, Laborers Local 223, IBEW Electricians Local 103and the Boston EMS Union.
  • Bridget Nee-Walsh – Ms. Nee-Walsh believes she can make an impact advocating for job creation, workforce training, and other policies that support the growth of a strong middle-class here in Boston. Her vision for Boston addresses the challenges facing working families  – schools, development, housing affordability, mental health, substance abuse, the local economy and small businesses, and public safety.
  • Roy Owens Sr. – While we believe Mr. Owens gathered enough signatures to be on the ballot, we think he is focussing on running for Congress in 2022 because of his website. 
  • Donnie Palmer – Mr. Palmer’s vision is for Boston to build a mecca for youth to thrive and blossom in, where access to quality education is the norm and the pursuit of better housing opportunities is not an overwhelming chore,  and where we work together reforming our public safety from the inside out.
  • Jonathan Spillane – Mr. Spillane believes in advancing policy that addresses the challenges facing our City, from building more affordable housing to expanding participation in city government. He’s been endorsed by Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA!) Local 223 and Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Local 534
  • Nick Vance –  Mr. Vance’s is focused on reducing disparities across the city of Boston and increasing access to affordable housing, childcare, education, workforce development, youth engagement and public safety.

Phew! Seventeen candidates! It’s a lot but there will be candidate forums taking place over the summer so you can learn more and make informed voting choices.  Don’t forget to register to vote so you’ll be able to vote on September 14th in the Preliminary election. The top 8 vote getters, on September 14th,  will be on the ballot in November and the top 4 vote getters on November 2nd, will be your At-large City Councilors.

Full disclosure: Erin Murphy was one of my daughter’s first grade BPS teachers. She was a great teacher and my daughter loved her.

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About the Author

Anna White

Lower End homeowner since 2005. Mom of three BPS kids. Friend to all except those who don’t clean up after their dogs and/or who put their trash out in kitchen bags (seriously, people, it’s not that hard to use a barrel). Queen of the Nerds (okay that one is only in my dreams).