Who is new mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell?

Campbell announces her mayoral candidacy on Sept. 24, outside the public housing where she lived as a child. Photo by Katharine Swindells/BU News Service

By Rhian Lowndes
BU News Service

BOSTON – Andrea Campbell, former Boston City Councilor President, announced today that she is running in the 2021 Mayoral race against incumbent Marty Walsh and fellow councilor Michelle Wu.

Campbell’s campaign announcement emphasized her connection to the Boston community, as well as her platforms supporting equal opportunities in education and confronting institutions that perpetuate racism. The video posted comprises Boston residents, including her friends and one of her former teachers, declaring their support.

“For too long, Boston has been a tale of two cities. You have been fortunate enough to live in both parts. And the struggles that you had in one and the successes that you had in another makes a perfect combination to be the leader of our city,” says the retired school teacher over images of Boston and Campbell wearing a mask.

Andrea Campbell, city councilor for District 4, was president of Boston City Council from 2018 to January 2020, and the first African-American woman to fill the role. She first ran for District 4 office in 2015, defeating the 16-term incumbent, Charles Yancey, to represent the neighborhoods of Dorchester and Mattapan, as well as parts of Roslindale and Jamaica Plain.

Campbell was born in Boston, attended Boston Public Schools, and began her career at a nonprofit in Roxbury, offering free legal services on education rights and access. She later worked as deputy legal counsel for former Governor Deval Patrick, according to the Boston city website.

Campbell lost her mother at a young age to a car accident while her father was in prison, and later in life, her twin brother died of an autoimmune disease in the custody of the state while awaiting trial. At her official announcement Thursday morning, held outside the public housing she grew up in, she said she is driven by the question: “How do two twins born in the city of Boston have such different life outcomes?”

In her first term as councilor, Campbell chaired the Committee on Public Safety, incorporating the rights and reintegration of incarcerated residents into its conversations, and creating the current day Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice.

She was one of five councilors to vote against Mayor Walsh’s $3.61 billion operating budget, which passed in June, saying it didn’t provide the changes needed to address systemic racism and racial inequity in Boston. Campbell also voiced support for an amendment proposed by fellow Councilor Lydia Edwards to give City Council the ability to introduce a budget, therefore addressing their respective districts’ individual needs.

Michelle Wu announced her campaign last Tuesday, and her campaign site promises that Boston can “make real investments in education, food access, and good jobs,” while developing “wealth in our communities by closing the racial wealth gap and supporting small businesses and local entrepreneurship.”

Wu was Campbell’s predecessor as Council President and joined Campbell in rejecting Walsh’s recent budget. According to the Boston city website, both are involved in the committees reviewing the Community Preservation Act, Post Audit (departmental and program spending), and Rules and Administration.

Walsh’s platform emphasizes his success in providing affordable homes and combatting homelessness in Boston, while tackling issues including the shrinking middle class, climate change, and substance abuse, according to his campaign site. Campbell endorsed Walsh in his 2017 reelection campaign and has said that she supports Walsh’s racial equity fund, a part of the budget she voted against in June, but does not believe it goes far enough.

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