By Kiara Smith
Boston University News Service
SOMERVILLE – After a spirited Election Day, with both candidates appearing outside of the Winter Hill Community Innovation School polling center, Ward 7 City Councilor Katjana Ballantyne came out on top as Somerville’s next mayor.
As voters trickled in, Ballantyne and William “Billy” Tauro, who was running as a write-in candidate, spoke on the many issues of Somerville that they hope to resolve as mayor.
Ballantyne said she has been working and volunteering for affordability for housing and jobs as well as climate change. After 10 years leading the City Council, Ballantyne claimed she has put Somerville on the map as a national leader in legislation with environmental construction.
“I put in initiatives to also have a guaranteed income program as women are the ones who were most affected during the pandemic,” said Ballantyne.
Ballantyne captured just over 55% of the vote against at-large City Councilor Will Mbah.
“I am honored and humbled to be the next mayor of Somerville,” Ballantyne said in a statement Tuesday night. “Somerville voters showed they want bold, inclusive leadership to move us forward on COVID recovery, affordability, climate change, and more.”
While abiding by the social distancing guidelines and mandatory masks, voters said they were excited to come out of their homes and vote in person again after having to mail-in ballots last year.
“I am excited about some of the progressive ideas that William [Tauro] has because I think he has a lot of good ideas for Somerville and education,” said Jenna Losensky, a Northeastern University student.
This was Losensky’s second time voting.
“It’s really important to make your voice heard as there was a time when we could not make our voice heard,” she said.
While voters discussed the importance of suffrage, they also shared the qualities that attracted them to their chosen candidates.
After living in Somerville for three years, John Harrington said Ballantyne’s policy of going door to door allowed him to have a conversation with her. She was able to articulate her plans for Somerville regarding environment and community building, Harrington said.
“She had a personal connection with me that I think has gone a long way and ushered me through to continue to vote for her,” Harrington said.
After voting for William Mbah, Stacy Campbell, 63, said she was in favor of rent control, which allowed her to stay in the city.
“I want to have the best candidate that is going to do as much as they can that I want them to do instead of the candidates that are not going to,” said Campbell.