The Boston general election is next Tuesday, and before voters make their way to the polls, here’s a rundown of the municipal candidates whose names Dorchester and Mattapan residents will see on their ballots. Polling locations are open across the city from 7 a.m to 8 p.m.
The Mayor’s Race
Most attended-to in what has been a generally sleepy election cycle is the mayoral campaign, where incumbent Mayor Martin Walsh is defending his seat against Tito Jackson, a City Councillor who set aside a run keep his District 7 seat to challenge Walsh instead.
The candidates faced off in two debates, only one of which was televised live, by WGBH, and have been out hitting the doors, forums and town halls, and neighborhood events as they make their final pitches to the electorate. They have expressed clear differences on planning for Boston’s growing population at a time of limited housing, as well as the best route forward to manage the public schools. Walsh romped in the Sept. 26 preliminary against two relatively unknown candidates, pulling 62 percent of the overall vote to Jackson's 29 percent.
Walsh, leaning on his record of encouraging across-the-board development with an eye toward shoring up middle-income workforce housing, touts programs like the updated Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) and the Community Preservation Act (CPA) as innovative ways to bring tens of millions of dollars to construct affordable housing units. Asserting that the city does not plan as much as it develops haphazardly, Jackson pledges to dismantle the city’s planning agency. He also wants to raise the IDP requirements from 15 to 18 percent up to 25 percent, higher even than nearby Cambridge.
The candidates also break on the value of bringing flashy businesses and events to Boston. In the WGBH debate, Walsh said that the abandoned 2024 Olympic bid was instructive in putting together the city’s pitch for Amazon’s second headquarters. Jackson is stalwartly against the concept of offering financial incentives of any kind to draw in businesses like General Electric; for his part, Walsh notes new companies will provide additional streams of revenue and commit to improving nearby neighborhoods.
On schools, Jackson and Walsh both acknowledge that there is work to be done. Walsh points to his $1 billion, decade-long planned investment in school buildings through BuildBPS and ayear-over-year increase in the school budget along with more consistent leadership. Jackson says major cuts to vulnerable schools have left the students underserved and parents in limbo in the face of potential school closures. He is pledging to “fully fund” the BPS and bring back an elected school committee.
This week, Jackson released a summary of a draft budget that he says will funnel an additional $45.1 million to schools, eliminating a figure for BPS collective bargaining, on a projected revenue stream of $3.27 billion.
City Council At-Large
The incumbent city councillors at-large are running for re-election. Michelle Wu’s term as council president is coming to a close as she seeks to return to the chamber along with Michael Flaherty, Ayanna Pressley, and Annissa Essaibi-George.
They are challenged by four hopefuls – Domingos DaRosa, a contractor and youth football coach; Althea Garrison, the former state representative and perennial candidate; William A. King, a 28-year-old IT worker; and Pat Payaso, a Boston developer and former mayoral candidate who is campaigning in the guise of a clown.
City Council Districts
The competitive race is between Kim Janey and Rufus Faulk in District 7. Both are community advocates born and raised in the district, and both highlighting education as a top priority.
Janey, 52, was the top vote getter in the September preliminary, carrying 25 percent of the vote in a field with 13 hopefuls vying for the seat. She is a children’s and education activist with established community bona fides, a track record of successful educational advocacy efforts, and a long history of fighting to include parents’ voices in the public school system.
Faulk, 34, is an anti-violence advocate and the program director at the Boston TenPoint Coalition who sees better educational access as key for diverting youths from violence.