By, Penny Mack
November 7th falls a day short of the one year anniversary of the 2016 presidential election. But as America continues to wrestle with the aftermath of that election, Boston residents went to the polls to vote again– this time for mayor.
At the time this article went to press, the gap between incumbent mayor Marty Walsh and opponent Tito Jackson was appreciably wide– a 35 point difference in the latest Boston Globe poll, with Walsh far ahead. That being said, the race between Walsh and city councillor Jackson has raised fascinating questions about Boston’s future and the future of leadership in our city.
A large topic of discussion in the race has been affordable housing in Boston, which has become increasingly sparse in recent years. Jackson criticized the luxury houses built under Walsh’s administration and accused the mayor of neglecting lower-income families. Walsh responded with the assertion that his government has invested over 100 million dollars into building affordable housing.
Another major debate arose around the question of race in Boston. Boston has been a notoriously segregated city, and Boston’s racist past continues to echo. Last year, the headmaster of the Boston Latin School, one of Boston’s largest public schools, resigned in wake of her administration’s failure to respond to allegations of racial hostility at the school. At the final mayoral debate in late October, Jackson brought up the BLS scandal and suggested that Walsh did not support the Black Lives Matter movement. He also brought up an NAACP report that criticized Walsh’s failure to resolve racial conflicts in the city. Walsh responded with the assertion that he was the first Boston mayor to hold a town hall meeting about race, at which he admitted that “Boston has an issue with racism.” He also cited executive orders to raise the numbers of people of color getting city-owned contracts (it’s currently at 0.5%), and the directive to hire more POC teachers in the Boston school system.
November 7th also marked the first election in which some Winsor seniors were able to vote. As many seniors turn 18 this fall, the mayoral election was their first chance to have a say in their local government. “After the election last year, I realized that I need to play a role in deciding this country’s future,” said Madison L. ‘18, a Boston resident. “I’m excited to vote on November 7 and finally have a say in what happens in my city.”