Finalists In November Mayoral Election Set to Break Precedent
by Westray Keeler
For almost two centuries, Boston has exclusively elected white men to serve as mayor. But come November, this is set to change—Michelle Wu (the first-place finisher in the preliminary election) and Annissa Essaibi George are set to vie for the position. What does this mean for the city of Boston?
Michelle Wu, a 35-year-old Taiwanese-American city councilor, has built a following due to her progressive policies and plans for the city. She has advocated for abolishing the Boston Planning and Development Agency, dropping all public transportation fees, and putting forth initiatives that would lead to a carbon neutral Boston by 2040 (The New York Times, 2020).
She also advocates for housing stability and an end to homelessness— according to Wu’s website, only about one-third of Boston residents own their own home and half of Boston renters are rent-burdened.
Wu’s plans to improve the city hinge on “just and resilient development”—she also plans to take initiative to reconstruct Boston’s school systems.
“I reject the notion that Boston is a city hopelessly divided by neighborhood, income level, or political outlook,” she wrote in a 2014 statement (The Atlantic).
Annissa Essaibi George, city councilor and BU alumni, also wants to see changes across the city concerning education, climate issues, and rent control.
“I will be the teacher and the mother and the mayor to get it done,” she said (CNN, 2021).
According to her campaign website, she plans to lead climate initiatives with an environmental approach, one that will address everyday injustices that residents face in addition to long-term goals.
During the preliminary election last week, we were able to see just how each of these candidate’s messages are reaching different parts of our city. Wu received more than 60 percent of votes in five precincts—all of which were areas like Allston/Brighton, which are populated by college students (DeCosta-Klipa).
Essaibi George, the runner-up, took in “the most lopsided precinct-level victories of any candidate in the race.”
In particular, she received nearly 80 percent of the total votes in Ward 16-12, which is known for its high proportion of police and firefighters (due in part to the fact that it houses the Boston Firefighters Union, which endorsed her). It’s interesting to note that her support of police has always been a key issue throughout her campaign, according to NBC Boston; however, it clearly paid off in her unwavering support in Ward 16-12.
On Tuesday, November 2, Bostonians will cast their votes for the next mayor of the city. Until then, voters can keep themselves informed with each candidate’s platforms. Both of these candidates are promising progressive changes across the city – we can merely wait to see what happens next.