D7 candidates list priorities, Janey grade

Eight candidates are running for the City Council’s District 7 seat, with Acting Mayor Kim Janey running for a full four-year term instead of re-election to the council. The candidates will appear on the Sept. 14 ballot – along with those running for mayor and council at-large. The top two finishers in the Sept. 14 preliminary election will advance to the Nov. 2 final election.

As it has with candidates for mayor, City Council At-Large and other local council races, the Reporter sent out questionnaires looking for their positions on key issues, background information, and professional experience. Most replied, explaining what their priorities as District 7 councillor would be, as well as Janey’s short tenure in office.

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Tania Fernandes Anderson

Age: 42
Born: Praia, Santiago, Cape Verde
Residence: 40 Schuyler St., Roxbury

BACKGROUND
What is your present occupation? Also, please note any past employment that may be relevant to your candidacy. Please detail your personal educational background and achievements.
Current: Executive Director, Bowdoin and Geneva Main Streets
Past: Theatre Executive Producer/Director Producer of Community Diversity Programs, Blood & Fashion Productions; Program Manager & Practitioner, Noah’s Advocate Inc.; Family & Community Outreach Manager, Boston Public Schools; Career Advocate, Project Hope; HIV Counselor, Dimock Community Health Center; Child Wraparound Service Provider, Mass Alliance of Portuguese Speakers; and Peer Team Leader, Roxbury Multi-Service Center.

Graduate of John D. O’Bryant High School; Three-Time Winner of Boston Herald Scholastic Writing Competition; Recipient of Citations of Merit from Mayor Ray Flynn and Mayor Tom Menino; Attended Springfield College.

Please list some of your affiliations with non-profits, civic associations and political groups.
I have been involved in several non-profit groups and community organizations throughout my professional career, including Noah’s Advocate, Inc., Noah’s Advocate Productions, Project Hope, Dimock Community Health Center, the Mass Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, and the Roxbury Multi-Service Center. I have also partnered with organizations like Children’s Services of Roxbury and been a volunteer on the Fight for $15 campaign…

What is your top priority if elected?
Affordable housing, education, and quality, affordable healthcare. These are all essential pillars of my goal to topple systemic inequalities in the City of Boston in pursuit of social justice.

The City of Boston is without a permanent police commissioner. What should the next mayor do to fill the position and what type of person should be selected to lead the BPD?
We need a police commissioner who is focused on reform and is willing to make significant changes to the Boston Police Department. We need a nationwide search for a candidate, and we must hire somebody who is willing to listen to community input, consider alternative programs to police response like the H.E.A.R.T. program currently being piloted in Cambridge, and is willing to tackle the structural racism that has caused a breakdown in trust between the Boston Police Department and the communities it protects.

What is your assessment of the Walsh administration’s overall performance? Please offer a letter grade or pass/fail as part of your answer.

I have the utmost respect for Mayor Walsh and the work he has done. The thing about him that I admire most is that he has been a champion for unions and for working families like mine. Working people need advocates like him, and I am thrilled that he has continued in public service as Secretary of Labor. I would certainly give him a passing grade. However, we cannot become complacent and see progress stagnate. I believe we have much work to do on housing affordability, access to health care, education, and social justice…

What is your assessment of acting Mayor Kim Janey’s performance since taking office in March 2021? Please offer a letter grade or pass/fail as part of your answer.

Representation matters, and as a Black woman, it has been phenomenal to see Boston being led by somebody who looks like me and is from my neighborhood for the first time in its 400-year history. Kim Janey is a pioneer, and she will always have my respect for that. Furthermore, I believe that she did a wonderful job representing District 7 during her time on the City Council.

When not on the campaign trail, how do you unwind?

I enjoy art, fashion, and theater, and count myself blessed to have been a part of performances like Blood and Fashion and Wakandafest. They have been excellent outlets for cultural celebration, personal expression, and community building. However, nothing beats the opportunity to spend time with my family and children.

Read Tanya Anderson's full answers to the Reporter questionnaire here.

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Angelina “Angie” Camacho

Age: 45
Born: Born in the South End, raised in Roxbury
Residence: Roxbury, cooperative homeowner

BACKGROUND

What is your present occupation? Also, please note any past employment that may be relevant to your candidacy. Please detail your personal educational background and achievements.
I’m a public servant who works in public health with a focus on workforce development. Previously I worked on many issues related to addressing barriers with agencies like ABCD and the Multicultural AIDS Coalition. I also was a former consultant for HUD (Housing and Urban Development Agency) on an affordable housing model program…I represent many of the working adults who seek the non-traditional path of seeking higher education later in life. That said, the depth of my experiences have allowed me to lead, and even train, others in workforce development, economic advancement, youth development, and organizing for progress.

Please list some of your affiliations with non-profits, civic associations and political groups.
MA Women of Color Coalition - Platform Leader; Amplify Latinx - Annual Conference Steering Committee; Boston School Committee - Citizens Nominating Panel (Representing the Boston Parent Organizing Network - BPON); Boston School Committee - English Language Learners Taskforce; and Chair, Boston Ward 9 Democratic Committee.

What is your top priority if elected?
If I have to choose one, it is that I would like to revive the faith that everyday residents should have in knowing that their government is working for them. I can provide fancy talking points on multiple issues, not just one, but this one priority covers them all. In anything that we endeavor to do, the people should hear their collective voice.

The City of Boston is without a permanent police commissioner. What should the next mayor do to fill the position and what type of person should be selected to lead the BPD?
The talent is already here for our next police commissioner. Dare I say her name? Hire Nora Baston already. Seriously, though, a leader like Nora exemplifies many of the characteristics that we need - someone who is passionate, knowledgeable, and deeply rooted in community engagement. That said, the next mayor needs to connect with community groups across the city to better understand the needs and the constructive criticism regarding the gaps between Boston’s residents and the Boston Police Department. A thorough and detailed assessment will allow for that information to find a reflective commissioner, who is probably already within our ranks.

What is your assessment of the Walsh administration’s overall performance? Please offer a letter grade or pass/fail as part of your answer.
Pass.

What is your assessment of acting Mayor Kim Janey’s performance since taking office in March 2021? Please offer a letter grade or pass/fail as part of your answer.

It’s always tough to start in the middle. I am not one to shy away from taking a stand, but in this case, I don’t think it’s fair to give an assessment. That said, not being able to give an assessment does not imply an endorsement of more time needed to be satisfactory. The role of interim city management is clear. Residents should assess the temporary performance of duties within the context intended and separately assess each candidate’s readiness for a full term.

When not on the campaign trail, how do you unwind?

My family and friends would probably tell you that I don’t unwind because I absolutely love being helpful to my neighbors. I frequently encourage them to attend and take part in one action or another. However, when I do “unwind,” I enjoy watching Asian series with English subtitles (I recently finished the South Korean show Because This is My First Life).

Read Angelina Camacho's full answers to the reporter questionnaire here.

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Lorraine Payne Wheeler

Age: Not answered
Born: Boston
Residence: 85 Moreland St., Roxbury

BACKGROUND

What is your present occupation? Also, please note any past employment that may be relevant to your candidacy. Please detail your personal educational background and achievements.
I am a lawyer, previously employed at Boston University Medical Campus. I took courses at the School of Public Health while employed there and worked on planning various projects. J.D. from Suffolk University; Master’s in Urban Affairs, Boston University; B.S. Business Administration, Boston University.
Please list some of your affiliations with non-profits, civic associations and political groups.
Chair, Roxbury Path Forward Neighborhood Association; Chair, Civil Rights Public Art Project in Gertrude Howes Park; Member, Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee; Board Member, Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corp.; and Board Member, Yawkey Boys and Girls Club of Roxbury.

What is your top priority if elected?
Housing affordability is my top priority. Across District 7, people are concerned about struggling tenants being displaced by the high cost of rent. The Covid-19 epidemic is also having an impact. Making anyone homeless right now due to eviction because of layoffs resulting from the pandemic…would be troubling.

The City of Boston is without a permanent police commissioner. What should the next mayor do to fill the position and what type of person should be selected to lead the BPD?
The mayor should use a public process to vet candidates for the position. People have long memories. It will take a long time to move past the scandals that recently came to light. The person selected as commissioner should have a demonstrated commitment to bringing transparency to the Boston Police Department and to working with the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency (OPAT). In some segments of the community, the strain is particularly felt with BIPOC groups; police have lost the public’s trust from the missteps exposed by recent scandals.

What is your assessment of the Walsh administration’s overall performance? Please offer a letter grade or pass/fail as part of your answer.
C. The Walsh administration did many good things like improving playgrounds across the city and hiring a more diverse staff at City Hall. They had a plan to renovate City Hall to make it accessible and even improved some of the corners of the building by creating meeting spaces. Even the beer hall on City Hall plaza was a nice touch. The City benefited from the goals for construction of housing, but there was not enough communication with residents. Too many people are being displaced from their neighborhoods in Boston. There are major apartment complexes that are expiring use project where residents, many of them seniors and families, are in fear of being evicted.

What is your assessment of acting Mayor Kim Janey’s performance since taking office in March 2021? Please offer a letter grade or pass/fail as part of your answer.
Pass. It’s been more of the same mixed bag. Positives include the pilot project for free buses on Route 28, intentional tourism program highlighting people of color and neighborhoods. There is more opportunity for people of color to engage in contracting with the City - all of which happened during acting Mayor Janey’s few months in office. However, the issues with displacement, violence in Black and brown neighborhoods, and lack of opportunities for residents have not been addressed as well.

When not on the campaign trail, how do you unwind?

I like to read. Right now, I am reading “Race For Profit” by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. It’s about how banks and the real estate industry have destroyed Black homeownership by undervaluing the segregated neighborhoods where most Black and brown people live. I like to garden a bit or go out for dinner.

Read Lorraine Payne Wheeler's full answers to the Reporter questionnaire here.

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Marisa Luse

Age: 47
Born: Boston
Residence: 105 Harrishof St.,
Roxbury/Dorchester

BACKGROUND

What is your present occupation? Also, please note any past employment that may be relevant to your candidacy. Please detail your personal educational background and achievements.

Campus Engagement and Collaborations Manager; Former co-founder and director, SCI Dorchester; Former Director of Community Programs & Site Planning, DotWell; Former Director of Survivor Outreach Services, Louis D. Brown Peace Institute; and Former Program Director, Discover Roxbury.

Educational Background: BS in Political Science · Northeastern University; Social Justice Mediation Certification · Social Justice Mediation Institute; Certificate in Nonprofit Management & Leadership · BU School of Management & Leadership; Executive Coaching Program · Social Innovation Forum; Intensive Training Program · Commonwealth Seminar; and Community Champion · Vital Village Network. Achievements: Excellence in Mentorship Award, Vital Village Network; Community Engagement Award, Northeastern University; and SCI Idealist Award, Social Capital Inc.

Please list some of your affiliations with non-profits, civic associations and political groups.

Boston Fireworks Taskforce, Member; Boston Maternal Health Advisory Board, Member; Boston Ward 12 Democratic Committee, Executive Committee/Member; Boston-wide Women of Color in the Academy Advisory Committee, Member; Center for Community Health, Research, and Service, Board Member; Dorchester Avenue Task Force, member; Garrison Trotter Neighborhood Association, Board Member; Neighborhood Birth Center Advisory Committee, Member; Roxbury Historical Society, Board Member; Roxbury Roots Montessori, Inc., Board Member; Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee (RSMPOC), Member; RSMPOC Community Engagement - Sub Committee Chair; Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, Board Member; Women of Color in the Academy Planning Committee, Member; Vital Village Network - Village Strategists of Boston (VSB), founder and member; and Women’s Service Club of Boston, Member

What is your top priority if elected?
I have the track record of working with residents across the district to make their priorities a reality. Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home, access to quality education, opportunities to earn a living wage, and joyful spaces to get neighborly, play, work, shop, eat, and worship.

My top priorities, if elected: Develop a clear district-wide agenda on quality of life issues impacting physical, mental, and financial health of residents; fight to reduce disparities in healthcare to ensure health equity for all residents, especially seniors, women, veterans, and youth; collaborate with youth and young adults to develop a comprehensive agenda to ensure that they have opportunities to afford to live, work, play, and own; and tour neighborhoods regularly and convene roundtable discussions with residents to assess and discuss ways to improve our communities’ environment.

The City of Boston is without a permanent police commissioner. What should the next mayor do to fill the position and what type of person should be selected to lead the BPD?

There should be a hybrid hiring process. The public should have a say on who is the next commissioner for the Boston Police Department. A hiring committee should be formed consisting of city officials, police reform members, advocates, civic association leaders, and residents who will co-design the hiring criteria, selection process, and public engagement strategy.

What is your assessment of the Walsh administration’s overall performance? Please offer a letter grade or pass/fail as part of your answer.
The Walsh administration made great progress on some key issues such as COVID and police reform, but lacked transparency, responsiveness, and consistency on critical issues across the city.

What is your assessment of acting Mayor Kim Janey’s performance since taking office in March 2021? Please offer a letter grade or pass/fail as part of your answer.

Pass. Mayor Janey inherited a number of issues from the previous administration which makes it a challenge to fairly grade her overall performance. As mayor, she has been responsive and progressive on major issues impacting working, immigrant, and people of color communities.

When not on the campaign trail, how do you unwind?

How I unwind is spending quality time with my family.

Read Marisa Luse's full answers to the Reporter questionnaire here.

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Brandy Brooks

Age: 40
Born: Hampton, South Carolina
Residence: 55 Fort Ave., Roxbury

BACKGROUND

What is your present occupation? Also, please note any past employment that may be relevant to your candidacy. Please detail your personal educational background and achievements.
Bunker Hill Community College Assistant Director, Adult Education Program.
Adjunct Faculty, Department of History & Social Sciences; and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Contract Manager.
UMass Lowell, Graduate School of Education, Lowell, Doctor of Education in Leadership in Schooling; Northeastern University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Master of Science in Law & Policy; Tufts University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, MA Master of Arts in Urban & Environmental Planning and Policy; Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Bachelor of Science in Development Sociology.

Please list some of your affiliations with non-profits, civic associations and political groups.

American Planning Association; DeeDee’s Cry; Roxbury Unity Parade; Cornell Black Alumni Association; Cornell Alumni Admission Ambassador Network; Northeastern Alumni Association; Tufts Alumni Association; National Education Association; and Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention.

What is your top priority if elected?

My top priority is to use the office as a means of community empowerment. Specifically, city government too often ignores the needs of the district’s residents. This goes beyond broad policy and includes basic constituent services. If elected, I will use the powers of my office to fix both the lack of transparency and lack of accountability currently plaguing District Seven.

The City of Boston is without a permanent police commissioner. What should the next mayor do to fill the position and what type of person should be selected to lead the BPD?

The next mayor should vet a qualified, experienced public safety professional who has a history of expertise in community-accountable public safety. The process should be transparent and community representatives should be an integral part of the selection process.

What is your assessment of the Walsh administration’s overall performance? Please offer a letter grade or pass/fail as part of your answer.
B-.

What is your assessment of acting Mayor Kim Janey’s performance since taking office in March 2021? Please offer a letter grade or pass/fail as part of your answer.
B.

When not on the campaign trail, how do you unwind?
Netflix and Chill; Enjoying nature while walking my dog; Cooking; Reading; Listening to music; and Zoom/Facetime conversations or meetups with family and friends.

Read Brandy Brooks' full answers to the Reporter questionnaire here.

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