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Boston’s first woman-of-color mayor in 200 years could be Asian American

Boston mayor election has two women of color at the top

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    Two women of color have taken the most votes in the mayoral primary election, meaning on Nov. 2 Boston will have for the first time in its history a woman and a person of color occupying the mayor’s office.

    Runoff election results: Tuesday’s primary election saw city councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George taking the top and second-highest votes with Wu leading George by over 11,700 votes, reported WBZ.

    • City councilor Andrea Campbell received 19.7% of the vote to take third place, while Acting Mayor Kim Janey received 19.5% to take the fourth spot. Both candidates conceded late Tuesday. 
    • The city’s former economic development head, John Barros, came in last with only 3% of the vote.
    • Janey, who became the first Black person and the first woman to hold the mayor’s office in an acting capacity earlier this year, expressed her support for the two candidates, saying, “This was a spirited and historic race, and I wish them both luck in the final election.”

    Historic race: The candidates, who are all Democrats, came from different racial backgrounds. Wu is Taiwanese American, Essaibi George is Arab Polish American, Janey and Campbell are Black and Barros is Cape Verdean American.

    • Wu, whose parents immigrated from Taiwan to the U.S., became the first Asian American woman to be elected to the Boston City Council at age 28 when she won a seat in the council in 2013. She then became the first woman of color to serve as city council president when her colleagues elected her for the position via a unanimous vote in 2016.
    • “This is a moment in Boston where we are facing big challenges. I’m running for mayor to tackle big challenges with bold solutions that include everyone. So I know what’s possible,” Wu told the press Wednesday morning.
    • Essaibi George, who was a teacher in the Boston Public Schools, won her seat in the city council in 2015.
    •  “We’re confident in these results. We’re confident in our finish in this race and we’re excited to participate in this next half of this campaign,” she was quoted by WBZ-TV as saying. 

    Wu’s priorities: In an interview with WBUR, Wu shared her plans in solving the pressing challenges facing the city of Boston. 

    • “We need to tackle the high cost of living, especially housing costs, and the way that transportation access can worsen that,” she noted. “We need to ensure that we are providing quality, nurturing school for every single one of our kids.” 
    • Wu highlighted the need to “close gaps in our city” in a bid to lead the way “when it comes to racial justice, when it comes to economic opportunity and getting our small businesses back on their feet and creating new business opportunities and jobs in our community that are for workers from all backgrounds and great wages and decent benefits.” 
    • She also wants Boston to start preparing for “a climate future that is here right now, as well as the opportunities, the green jobs and the benefits of leading the way on climate justice.”


    Featured Image via Michelle Wu (left) and Annissa Essaibi George (right)

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