2023 Boston City Councilor Elections: Meet the District Candidates and Get Out to Vote!

2023-08-26 02:45:00

Bostonians will soon be called to the polls to cast their ballots in the 2023 City Councilor primary, which means it’s time to dig in and get to know your district’s candidates. On September 12, Districts 3, 5, 6 and 7 will have primary elections. Then, on November 7, the polls will open for the General Elections.

Of the nine-ward elections and one at-large councilor election, three candidates are running unopposed. This year’s race is getting a bit tense as many elected councilors are vying for their seats and others, like Kendra Lara, are facing major controversy.

Dates to keep in mind

September 2: Deadline to register to vote in the Preliminary Election

September 2-8: Early Voting. find locations here.

October 28: The deadline to register to vote in the general election is 5 p.m.

October 31: The deadline to request your vote-by-mail ballot for the general election is 5 p.m.

November 7: General Election Day. Polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm to cast your votes for district and city councilors at large.

For more information on how to vote and which district you are in, visit the City of Boston Locator Tool here.

general councilor

Ruthzee Louijeune (titular)

Credit: www.ruthzeeforboston.com

Who is it: Ruthzee Louijeune is an attorney and activist born and raised in Boston. She has served as Councilor-at-Large since January 2022.

Approach: housing, home ownership, access to education and civic participation

Julia Mejia (titular)

Credit: juliaforboston.com

Who: After emigrating from the Dominican Republic, Julia Mejía moved to and grew up in Dorchester. She has served as a Council Member at Large since January 2020. During her tenure, she created a COVID response initiative and continues to promote community civic engagement.

Approach: Accessibility, accountability, transparency and civic engagement

Erin Murphy (titular)

Credit: erinforboston.com

Who: Born and raised in Dorchester, Erin Murphy is passionate about giving neighborhoods like hers a voice. A council member at large since December 2021, she has worked to “bring Boston back” by giving local unions a voice.

Approach: Workers and businesses, education, recovery support and advocacy for veterans

Bridget Nee-Walsh

Credit: bridgetneewalsh.com

Who: Bridget Nee-Walsh was born and raised in Boston and is a proud union member and small business owner. She wants to “build a better Boston” by addressing the challenges of everyday working families.

Approach: Schools, Housing Affordability, Mental Health, Substance Abuse, Local Economy and Small Businesses, and Public Safety

Shawn Nelson

Credit: shawn4boston.com

Who: Shawn Nelson, formerly a member of the US Marine Corps and CNA, was born and raised in Dorchester. He is running for alderman-at-large hoping to “address the concerns of ordinary Bostonians.”

Approach: Mass. and Cass, traffic congestion, support for local small businesses, parental rights, housing, violence and education

Henry Santana

Credit: henrysantana.com

Who: Henry Santana was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to Mission Hill as a child, where he grew up and attended Boston Public Schools. If he is elected, he plans to use his experience in civic organizing to create more accessible local government.

Approach: Housing, public safety, environment and civic engagement

Catherine Vitale

Who: Catherine Vitale, a mother whose family has been affected by homelessness and addiction, hopes to represent her lived experiences as a Councilor-at-Large. She wants to restore Boston as a “family-oriented city” by sharing her wisdom as a Boston mom. Notably, Vitale was arrested in April 2022 while protesting during a City Hall press conference about preparations for the Boston Marathon. She was charged with assault and battery on a police officer and disorderly conduct, but the charges were eventually dropped.

Approach: Mass. and Cass, overdevelopment, parental rights, violence, housing, small business

Clifton Braithwaite

Credit: thebeantv.com

Who: Clifton Brathwaite has spent most of his career working with businesses, government officials, and local Boston communities.

Approach: Public Safety, Senior Services, Child Care and Education, Health and Wealth, Home Ownership, and Affordable Housing.

District 1

Gabriela Colletta (incumbent, unopposed)

Credit: gabrielacoletta.com

Who is it: Serving as a District 1 City Councilmember since May 2022, Gabriela Coletta works to conquer everyday challenges within the communities of Charlestown, East Boston, and the North End. She grew up in East Boston and has dedicated her career to public service.

Approach: Housing, environmental justice and climate change, education, excellent services to voters and justice and solidarity for migrants.

District 2

Ed Flynn (incumbent, unopposed)

Credit: Edforboston.com

Who: Serving as City Councilman for District 1 since January 2018, Ed Flynn has been a lifelong Boston resident and is passionate about making Boston a great place to live. He is a veteran and father of two who lives in South Boston.

Approach: Education, public transportation, affordable housing, reliable community services, and close-knit neighborhoods

District 3

Jennifer Johnson

Credit: jenniferjohnsonford3.com

Who: Jennifer Johnson is a long-time resident of Dorchester, a small business owner, and a civic leader. If she is elected, she hopes to highlight the concerns of the community and address them accordingly.

Approach: Affordable Housing, Public Education, Mass, and Cass, and Voter Services

Joel Richards

Credit: joelrichards.org

Who: Joel Richards, a first-generation Jamaican-American and Dorchester resident, hopes to use his “necessary personal and professional experience to get results for all of our neighbors in Dorchester and the South End.” He currently works as a public school teacher and pastor, and is the father of two children.

Approach: Education, affordable housing, safe transportation, climate change, and a strong local economy

Barry Lawton

Credit: lawtonfordistrict3.com

Who: Barry Lawton has lived in Boston for more than 50 years and has served in the House of Representatives, the Boston City Council, and the Boston Public School system. He is a single father and wants to continue Dorchester’s traditions and diversity.

Approach: Education, Seniors, Transportation, Jobs, Housing, Legislation Introduced, and Mass. and Cass

John Fitzgerald

Credit: fitzforboston.com

Who: John Fitzgerald, a local husband and father, has dedicated his career to public service and wishes to continue to do so as a City Councilman for District 3. He was born and raised in Boston and lives in Dorchester with his family.

Approach: Housing, education, public safety and basic city services

Matthew Patton

Credit: pattonforboston.com

Who: Matthew Patton is a father, employment rights attorney, and community organizer. If he is elected, his mission is to make Boston a better home for working people and the next generation.

Approach: Education, Mass and Cass, Housing and Infrastructure, and Health Equity

Ann Walsh

Credit: annwalshboston.com

Who: Ann Walsh is an active member of the community in her Dorchester home. As a City Councilmember for District 3, she looks forward to connecting all members of the community to the resources and information that Boston has to offer.

Approach: Education, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, efficient public transportation, climate change, and affordable services for voters.

District 4

Brian Worrell (incumbent, unopposed)

Credit: votebrianworrell.com

Who: Brian Worrell, who has served as a District 4 city councilman since January 2022, has spent his time in office fighting for more affordable housing and increased job opportunities.

Approach: Housing, education, employment, climate justice, accessibility and public safety

District 5

Ricardo Arroyo (titular)

Credit: votearroyo.com

Who: The son of two public servants, Ricardo Arroyo was born and raised in Hyde Park. A retired Boston Public Schools teacher, he now serves as a city councilman for District 5. Notably, Arroyo has faced scrutiny over allegations of sexual assault, which he denied and has never faced charges, as well as a rape of ethics, for which he paid a civil fine.

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Approach: Stronger economies, quality schools, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, and healthy communities

Enrique Pepen

Credit: pepenforboston.com

Who: Born and raised in Boston by immigrant parents, Enrique Pepén wants to foster the same sense of community that he felt as a child. He has dedicated his career to public service and wants to provide more resources to the residents of District 5. He has received the endorsement of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. It should be noted that Pepén apologized after questions were raised about possible violations of the campaign law, including $11,000 in campaign contributions in Junewhich is a violation of state law regarding the political activity of paid municipal employees, The Boston Globe reported.

Approach: Affordable Housing, Public Education, Jobs and the Economy, Public Safety, Environmental Justice and Sustainability, and Transportation.

Jose Ruiz

Credit: ruizforcouncil.com

Who: José Ruiz was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Boston, where he attended public schools and eventually became a law enforcement officer. He likes to give back to his community and wishes to do so as a city councilman.

Approach: Housing, public safety, education and basic city services

Jean-Claude Sanon

Credit: sanon4boston.com

Who: Desiring to be a “voice for the voiceless,” Sanon has worked in Boston public service for more than three decades. He hopes to use his experience to mitigate the housing and crime crises.

Approach: Public health, public safety, small business, and unemployment and job creation.

District 6

Kendra Lara (titular)

@Credit: cllrkendralara

Who: Kendra Lara has worked in public service since she was 19 years old and has continued to fight for racial and economic justice ever since. He has served as a City Councilman for District 6 since 2021. Notably, Lara is currently embroiled in controversy after he was allegedly driving with a revoked license, in an unregistered car, without insurance, and with an expired inspection tag showing belonged to someone else when it crashed into a house on June 30.

Approach: Racial and economic justice, violence and community safety, LQBTQ+ equity

William King

Credit: kingforboston.com

Who: Born and raised in Boston, William King has been active in his community since his youth. He previously worked for the Boston public school system and wants to serve as a council member to promote services to constituents.

Approach: Housing, education, transportation, public safety, and climate justice

Ben Weber

Credit: weberforboston.com

Who: Ben Weber has spent more than 20 years in a legal career fighting for workers’ rights. As a long-time Jamaica Plain resident, he now wants to extend this experience to Ward 6 as a city councilmember.

Approach: Voter Services, Education, Housing Affordability, Effective City Hall, Cultural Enrichment, Transportation, Public Safety, Athletics and Recreation, Support for Immigrants and Refugees, Jobs and Wages, Racial Equity, Access to Legal Services, Food Security, Boston as soccer and climate change center

District 7

Tania Fernandes Anderson

Credit: taniaford7.com

Who: Tania Fernandes Anderson was born in Cape Verde and immigrated to Roxbury, where she grew up in a low-income household. Drawing on her own experiences and what she learned from working in homeless shelters and social work, she hopes to be an advocate for those who need it most. It should be noted that Fernandes Anderson recently admitted to violating conflict of interest law and agreed to pay a $5,000 fine after hiring his sister and her son to serve on his Boston City Council staff.

Approach: Covid-19 recovery, mental health, substance abuse services, racial health equity and inclusion

Althea Garrison

Credit: Boston.gov

who iss: Althea Garrison, a former City Councilor at Large, is a Dorchester resident. During her tenure, she served as an “independent voice for change.”

Approach: Affordable Housing, Senior Care, Homeless Veterans, Job Development, and Public Transportation

Jerome King

Who: Jerome King is a long-time Boston native who wants to “be a solution to the current problems in our community and our beloved city.”

Roy Owens

Who: Roy Owens has run for office at least 10 times since 2012, vying for seats ranging from City Council to state Senate to Congress, reports WGBH. He is a former teacher and has experience as a community advocate and working with neighborhood non-profit organizations. He campaigns with detailed advertisements containing conspiracy theories and can sometimes be found driving around Roxbury with a speaker attached to his minivan.

Approach: Low-income and affordable housing, address homelessness, increase access to food and health care for communities of color, Mass. and Cass.

Padma Scott

Who: Padma Scott is a working single mom who describes herself as not afraid to “stand up to the system and fight for our community. She has been outspoken in criticizing Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s policies, especially in regards to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Approach: Crime, gentrification, small business support and youth program opportunities

District 8

Sharon Durkan

Credit: sharondurkan.com

Who: Sharon Durkan won the District 8 seat in a special election after incumbent Councilmember Kenzie Bok took the lead role on the Boston Housing Authority. Durkan has said that she will run for the position again come the fall. According to her campaign site, she “believes that solving challenges requires listening to each other and working together.”

Approach: Access to housing, safe and quality transit, mental health care for all and climate resilient neighborhoods.

Montez Haywood

Credit: montezhaywood.com

Who: Montez Haywood lost to Durkan in the special election, but has said he will run again in the fall. Endorsed by the Boston Police Patrolmen Association, he is a prosecutor whose career has focused on violence in the city.

Approach: Public safety, affordable housing, strong public school systems, police recruitment, public health, including mental health and addiction services, and climate resiliency

District 9

Liz Breadon

Credit: liz4ab.com

Who: Liz Beadon is the first openly LGBTQ+ woman elected to the city council. She is an immigrant from Northern Ireland and currently resides in Allston-Brighton, where she is a committed community activist.

Approach: Allston Housing, Transportation, Environment, Education, and Artist Community

Jason deBlecourt

Credit: jacobforab.com

Who: Jason deBlecourt, a long-time Allston-Brighton tenant, is passionate about affordable housing in the area. Having served on City Council, he looks forward to taking the next step and representing the district as a city council member.

Approach: Housing, education, civil rights and public safety, arts and culture, civic engagement, and rat platform.

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