The next election for Boston City Council is nearly a year away, but things are already heating up, with two challengers having filed papers with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance: Bryan Fuller of South Boston for an at-large seat, and Andrea Campbell of Mattapan for City Councillor Charles Yancey’s district seat.
The Council hopefuls are new to the electoral process; Fuller, an Army veteran, is an auditor at the financial services company State Street, and Campbell is a former deputy legal counsel for Gov. Deval Patrick.
By filing before the end of the year, the pair could bank lucrative individual campaign donations, limited by state law to $500 per person per calendar year, in both 2014 and 2015. Campbell currently has $9,378 in her campaign bank account, $9,360 of which she raised from individual contributions in the last half of November.
That leaves her but $7,000 short of At-Large City Councillor Ayanna Pressley’s war chest. As of Nov. 30, Yancey has $7,656 in cash on hand, according to OCPF filings. Fuller’s account shows a holding of $80.02 as of Dec. 2, according to OCPF filings.
Fuller’s conversation with the Reporter this week was his first time speaking with the press about his candidacy.
“I feel like I’m about to eat an elephant,” he said of his plans. A self-described “progressive Democrat,” Fuller said he has always been interested in public office. In fact, he says, that interest motivated him to join the military.
After graduating from UMass Amherst in 1994 with a political science degree, he enlisted in the Army and served two tours in Bosnia as a counterintelligence agent. His service ended in September of 1999 and he worked at a small environmental firm in Boston before enrolling at Boston University’s School of Management in 2003, graduating with an MBA in 2004.
Born and raised in Hamilton, MA, Fuller, 45, the first in his family to attend college, has lived in Boston since 2000. He bought a home in South Boston two years ago, moving there from the Back Bay. He previously lived in Allston.
Fuller said he has no intention to try to unseat Bill Linehan, South Boston’s councillor who is also council president. It’s an at-large seat he is looking for, saying, “I’ve been led to believe that one or more [at-large councillor] will not run again. Nothing’s set in stone yet, but I’m hopeful that I can bring something new to the table.”
When contacted by the Reporter on Tuesday, the offices of all four at-large councillors – Pressley, Michelle Wu, Michael Flaherty, and Stephen Murphy – said their councillors will be running again next year.
In an hour-long interview, Fuller outlined a few of his stances on current issues facing the council, noting all the while that he is eager to hear residents’ concerns.
In light of the council’s recent strained relationship with Mayor Martin Walsh, Fuller said he would seek a long-term and supportive relationship with Walsh, whom Fuller says he voted for in 2013. “I don’t see why the City Council needs to be in conflict with the mayor. I think they can work hand-in-hand. Long term, we need to provide checks and balances, but I think we need to support the mayor.”
He said he supports an Olympic bid, but opposes siting any stadium, be it by the Olympics or the New England Revolution, at Widett Circle, in the curve of Interstate 93 on the Dorchester-South Boston line that is currently home to New Boston Food Market, a food production facility employing more than 700 workers that distributes fresh food to the city.
“I wouldn’t want to see a viable business that’s employing that many people have to let someone else come in to kick the soccer ball around,” he said. “If anything, I’d look to see what they need to expand their business.”
Still, Fuller, an athlete in high school and college, would consider a Boston Olympics as “personally, a dream come true. I think the net positive would be a big boon to Boston.” That would include investment in public infrastructure projects, similar to the Big Dig, he said. “I think the Big Dig turned out pretty well for us. Boston could stand for the infusion of public infrastructure projects. And Boston makes good money from tourism.”
He opposes the City Council’s proposed pay raise to $112,500, which the mayor vetoed, adding he would support an increase of “two percent, something adjusted by inflation. Part of public service is the service and I don’t think we can expect to get rich off it,” he said. “I’d take the pay cut just fine and I’m comfortable with that.”
For her part, Andrea Campbell declined to take questions about her campaign, citing its early stages, but confirmed in a statement that she is running for the city’s 4th District seat and will spend the coming weeks engaging residents about their “individual needs and aspirations for our community.”
The statement, noting that Campbell was born and raised in Boston and is a product of the Boston Public School system, added, “this campaign is part of a lifetime commitment to serve and invest in the community that provided a supportive and encouraging environment for me.”
Councillor Yancey did not return a phone call to his office, but is widely expected to run again.
Another soon-to-be-official member of the growing at-large challenger pool is Dorchester’s Annissa Essaibi George, who finished fifth in the 2013 council race for four at-large seats. George, who greeted voters outside a Roslindale polling location on Election Day this year, will formally announcing her at-large candidacy next Friday, Dec. 12, at the Banshee in Dorchester.
Editor's Note: This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that Annissa Essaibi George finished fifth— not sixth as originally reported— in the 2013 council race. Andrea Campbell also no longer works for Gov. Deval Patrick.