The Day – Boston mayoral candidates hope to make history Tuesday

BOSTON (AP) – The two candidates who hoped to make history in the Boston mayoral contest – Democrats Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George – spent the last hours of the campaign running from neighborhood to neighborhood urging their constituents to go to the polls on Tuesday.

Whoever wins will mark a major milestone in the city’s political culture, becoming the first woman and first person of color to be elected mayor of Boston. In the city’s long history, voters elected only white men to the highest political office.

Wu spent much of the weekend campaigning with leading Democratic supporters, including U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley and Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey.

“It is clear that the people of Boston want the city government to be bold and act urgently to face this moment,” Wu said. “We are ready to fight for the change we need. “

On Sunday night, Essaibi George launched a 24-hour citywide campaign, starting with a Halloween parade in the Charlestown neighborhood and ending with a planned “take out the vote” rally in the Hyde Park neighborhood.

” Still ! Here at Twin Donuts for breakfast after a few radio interviews as I continue my 24-hour campaign on the election campaign, ”Essaibi George tweeted Monday morning from the city’s Allston neighborhood.

Almost 40,000 votes have already been cast during the early vote. Commonwealth Democratic Secretary William Galvin told reporters Monday he estimated about 135,000 ballots would be cast in Boston, or about 30% of the city’s 442,000 registered voters.

The race was closely watched with outside groups pouring millions into the contest.

While the candidates largely agree on the main issues facing the city – from soaring housing costs to public education, public transport, policing and climate change – they have offered very different solutions. .

Essaibi presented herself as a pragmatist, criticizing Wu for proposing policies that she, as mayor, could not make happen on her own. Wu said these comprehensive policies reflect the needs of Boston residents and said she will strive to make them a reality.

One of the biggest issues where the two go their separate ways is housing.

Wu suggested bringing back some form of rent control or rent stabilization. Massachusetts voters backed a 1994 poll question banning rent controls statewide. Wu admitted that she would need help from state lawmakers to create a rent stabilization plan.

Essaibi George said rent control was a failed policy and the city should focus on other programs, such as helping new homeowners with down payments and strengthening public housing and affordable housing programs.

Essaibi George also criticized Wu’s push for a “no-fare” public transport system.

Wu said the proposal would strengthen the city’s economy, tackle climate change and help those who take the bus or subway to school or work. Essaibi George said the cost of the proposal is staggering and will fall on the backs of Boston residents. The decision to remove tariffs also goes beyond the sole power of the mayor.

Wu, 36, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan, grew up in Chicago and moved to Boston to study at Harvard University and Harvard Law School.

Essaibi George, 47, a lifelong Boston resident, describes herself as a first-generation Arab-Polish American. Her father was a Muslim immigrant from Tunisia. His mother, a Catholic, immigrated from Poland.

The city’s former mayor-elect, Democrat Marty Walsh, has stepped down to become US Secretary of Labor under President Joe Biden. Walsh has been replaced on an interim basis by Kim Janey, sworn in on March 24 as Boston’s first woman and first black mayor.

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