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Andrea Campbell 'seriously considering' campaign to be Boston mayor

Boston.com logo Boston.com 9/18/2020 Nik DeCosta-Klipa
a person wearing a purple shirt: Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell. © Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell.

Michelle Wu might not be the only Boston city councilor running for mayor.

During an appearance Friday on GBH’s “Boston Public Radio,” City Councilor Andrea Campbell said she’s “seriously considering” a 2021 campaign to be Boston’s mayor and would likely make her decision “within the next week,” setting up a potential three-way race with Wu and incumbent Mayor Marty Walsh.

“I was born and raised in the city of Boston,” Campbell said Friday. “I’m a BPS kid and, you know, started my legal career in Roxbury, and you guys know that I came to this work out of pain and suffering after the loss of my twin brother Andre,” who died in 2012 from an autoimmune disease while in state custody awaiting trial.

“If I decide to do this, it will because I feel this moment demands a different type of leadership to finally eradicate systemic racism and the inequities we see across the city of Boston, and to have a clear focus on solving generational inequity in the city of Boston,” she said.

Campbell, a 38-year-old Mattapan resident and the first Black woman to serve as City Council president, has represented District 4 since 2015, when she unseated a 32-year incumbent. Her district includes the neighborhoods of Dorchester and Mattapan, as well as parts of Roslindale and Jamaica Plain.

Her comments Friday come just days after Wu, an at-large city councilor and fellow former council president, officially announced her mayoral campaign against Walsh, who has hinted at — but not officially announced — plans to run for re-election. The three Democrats would face off in a non-partisan preliminary election next September to decide which two candidates would advance to the November general election.

During the GBH interview, Campbell said she had not directly spoken with Wu about the race. But she alluded to her family’s lived experience with racial inequities when asked if her consideration of a mayoral bid was a statement on the candidacy of Wu (who also faced her own respective personal challenges growing up).

“With respect to other candidacies, you know, you have to ask the other candidates,” Campbell said. “I know for me, like I said before, we’re in a profound moment right now in this country, where we’re talking about not only COVID-19 and how that is decimating our city and especially communities of color. Every inequity you can imagine — whether it is access to a good quality education, green space, housing, wealth, access to capital to start a business — is being exacerbated by COVID-19. And so I think this is a moment that demands leadership that not only knows how these inequities show up, what they feel like, but also has solutions and ideas to change that. And I also think it’s critically important that leadership reflects the demographics of the city of Boston.”

Campbell, who endorsed Walsh in his 2017 re-election campaign, has pressed the administration to take more aggressive action to address racial inequities — especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. And in the interview Friday, she particularly focused on police accountability and education. Campbell called on Walsh to implement the recent recommendations of a police reform task force and promoted her own proposal to establish a civilian review board of the Boston Police Department.

“We’ve seen a lot of reports in the past,” she said. “We need action at this moment. … We have to go above and beyond what they put in the recommendations.”

Campbell also said she was “beyond” frustrated with the Walsh administration over the delivery of laptops to BPS students for remote learning; advocates said this week that at least 479 students still had not received requested laptops as the district prepares to begin the year Monday. Campbell said the City Council previously requested data from BPS on laptop delivery and “never got a response.”

“We have to do better,” she said. “It’s unacceptable.”

Listen to Campbell’s full interview on the GBH News website.

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