With more than 50 people running for Boston City Council, it can be challenging for candidates to figure out how to stand out and catch the attention of voters. But a group of female candidates are trying something new, spearheaded by three-term incumbent, Michelle Wu.
“When I was running, Ayanna Pressley was the only woman serving on the council, 13 people. And then it was two, and then it was four, and now at six,” said Wu.
Wu is hoping to increase, not only the number of women on the Boston City Council, but the number of candidates of color. So the three term Councilor has formed an alliance with first time candidate Alejandra St Guillen and incumbent district councilor Kim Janey.
Janey says, “I hope folks don’t see this as some little clique, but just as an opportunity to continue to bring those voices that have not always been represented on the council to the council.”
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The three women have rented office space together in the heart of Roxbury. But they say it is not just about sharing campaign costs and resources.
For Wu, it’s also about supporting St Guillen, a mentor, formerly of the Latino advocacy group Oiste where Wu once interned.
St Guillen says, “I am a gay woman, I have a wife and a young son, so I bring those perspectives to the council, as a Latina, I bring those perspectives to the council.”
What makes it interesting is that both Wu and St Guillen are rivals in the at-large race.
I asked Wu if she would be ok if St. Guillen knocks her off the council. Wu says, “If the voters will is that she represents the values and puts forth the plans, then I think that’s the point of democracy.” The women are hoping to change the mold of politics from head to head conflict to building a movement, empowering residents.
Collectively, the women’s priorities include education, equity, immigrant rights, economic mobility and climate justice.
Wu says, “If we have done something to make even one or 10 or 100 more people feel like they can care about city government and do something about their communities through this, then I think we’ve all won.”
Now it will be interesting to see if other alliances are formed among the 50 some-odd Boston City Council candidates.