City Council Candidates, In Their Own Words

Boston City Hall. Photo by Michael Sol Warren/BU News Service
Written by Michael Sol Warren

BU News Service reached out to every candidate on the ballot for this year’s municipal election with the same questionnaire. These are the responses.


Annissa Essaibi-George

 How many years do you have in office?
I am not currently in office. I am a challenger.
What issues are most important to you?
Education, Economic Development, Public Safety
How would you describe your district?
The City of Boston
What are the priorities of your constituents?
Education and housing are two of the most frequently discussed in addition to job creation/stability and pubic safety.

Michelle Wu

How many years do you have in office?
I was elected in 2013, so I’ve been in office for 2 years so far.
What issues are most important to you?
I work hard to make our government more effective, transparent, and accessible for residents in all neighborhoods. Helping working families and small businesses is important to me, and I was able to pass an ordinance to provide paid parental leave for city employees, as well as focusing on streamlining the permitting and licensing process for entrepreneurs. I also focus on equity and accessibility, working to ensure that transgender city employees have access to healthcare and establishing a working group to make sure that city services are accessible to residents with varying linguistic and communication needs.
How would you describe your district?
I represent the whole city of Boston as City Councilor At-Large.
What are the priorities of your constituents?
City services, housing, public safety and schools are some of the top issues that constituents bring to our attention.
What does your district bring to the city of Boston?
While I don’t represent a particular district, all of our neighborhoods bring culture, history, diversity, character to our city, and I couldn’t be prouder to represent Boston.

The following at-large candidates did not respond to the questionnaire: Michael Flaherty, Ayanna Pressley, Stephen Murphy.

District Races

District Three

Donnie Palmer

Which office are you running for?
I’m running for Frank Baker’s seat! It’s time to get him out of office.

The city council of Boston needs a conservative and a pragmatist. The council needs an individual ready to tackle issues straight on. I’m not here to dance around issues; I’m here to fight to make life better for the people.

I seek to conserve our city; I want our city to be never be Detroit or a Baltimore. I’m a veteran who cares about my country, and I am ready to tackle the task of making it better.

My first focus would be our school system. The city’s public school system is a bust and it needs to be reformed. We need to kick common core out of our schools and get our students reading. What good is a school system if kids are not learning? It cost $18,500 a year to attend Boston Public Schools and students still are not reading on grade level!

My focus is on the people! Liberals of our city pass policies that make them feel like a “good guy” or “bad guy” instead of focusing on if the policy will work and benefit the people.

I seek to conserve our city. The less government involvement, the better. The people and the communities know more about our neighborhoods than our government.

Thomas Sowell also spoke for me when he said “Out of every hundred new ideas, ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for those are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history.”

How many years do you have in office?
This is my first run at office. Win or lose, I’ve won! I have the experience to run and I will utilize the skill of campaigning again later.

What issues are most important to you?
The issues that are most important to me are: public safety, common core, Boston not becoming a sanctuary city, finding jobs and housing for homeless vets and fighting to keep black lives matter activist out of Dorchester.

How would you describe your district?
Dorchester is a melting pot of many nations. Dorchester has the most homeowners in Massachusetts. It has weak representation and it needs a real leader, which is why I am running.

What are the priorities of your constituents?
My obligation to my constituents is to not be like Frank Baker, to be a man of my community, take a stand for what right and be the voice for Dorchester residents. I told myself that I would campaign by not taking money from my Dorchester people. Times are hard for the residents in Dorchester, not only in my neighborhood but all over. I knocked on hundreds of doors this year and shook thousands of hands. I walked everywhere in Dorchester to meet people and greet them face to face. I will keep an open door policy unlike Frank Baker.

What does your district bring to the City of Boston?
What my district brings to the city of Boston is diversity. We have large Latino, Vietnamese, Cape Verdean, Polish, Albanian, Irish and African American populations all over Dorchester. My mom and dad were immigrants from Honduras. I grew up with every nationality I just previously listed played sports hung out with and befriended. My experience and who I am makes me the best candidate for Dorchester city councilor.

District Eight

Josh Zakim

How many years do you have in office?
I will complete my first 2-year term this year.
What issues are most important to you?
I am committed to providing access and opportunity for all Bostonians, including: improving access to Boston’s public schools, supporting smart development and the creation of more affordable and fair housing, and standing up for workers’ rights.
How would you describe your district?
I am privileged to represent an incredibly diverse and passionate district that includes many of Boston’s world famous institutions and historic neighborhoods.
What are the priorities of your constituents?
Regardless of the neighborhood, I hear similar concerns across my district. Residents prioritize quality of life, responsible development, civil rights and equal opportunity, and preserving the history of our city.
What does your district bring to the City of Boston?
District 8 contributes a diverse group of civically engaged residents who care about each other and work to improve their individual neighborhoods and the city as a whole, not just for themselves and their community, but for future generations of Bostonians.
The following candidates did not respond to our questionnaire: Timothy McCarthy, Jean-Claude Sanon, Matt O’Malley, Tito Jackson, Charles Clemons, Jr., Salvatore LaMattina, Bill Linehan, Mark Ciommo, Frank Baker, Andrea Campbell, Charles Yancey.

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