Fresh faces elected to Boston City Council

Politics

Henry Santana, John FitzGerald, Enrique Pepén, and Ben Weber all declared victory Tuesday night.

Enrique Pepén celebrated his victory Tuesday night at Guira y Tambora in Roslindale. He will represent District 5 as a City Council member. Barry Chin/Boston Globe

A number of new faces were added to the Boston City Council Tuesday, even as incumbents claimed many victories in a race where candidates put topics like public safety and affordability front and center. 

Four at-large council seats were up for grabs, with three incumbents running: Ruthzee Louijeune, Julia Mejia, and Erin Murphy. All three appeared to secure victory Tuesday night according to unofficial results from the city. The fourth spot came down to Bridget Nee-Walsh and Henry Santana. 

Santana declared victory just after 10:30 p.m. with Mayor Michelle Wu by his side. He recently served as director of the Boston’s Office of Civic Organizing. Santana said he knows firsthand how difficult it can be to live in the city amid rising housing prices. Access to public housing was essential as an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, and living in public housing as a child “really frames” his thinking, Santana told The Boston Globe. He supports rent stabilization and “robust” tenant protections. On the topic of public safety, Santana wants stricter gun laws and more investment in youth employment. 

John FitzGerald won the District 3 race, triumphing over Joel Richards amid the tones of bagpipes at a local pub. His victory was first called by The Dorchester Reporter just before 9 p.m. FitzGerald, a deputy director at the Boston Planning & Development Agency, campaigned on a platform of experience due to his 17 years in City Hall. His platform heavily focused on keeping families in the city amid rising housing costs, in part by empowering first-time home buyers. Seen as the more centrist of the two candidates, FitzGerald touted his ability to put differences aside and work with colleagues to regain the public’s confidence in City Council.  

Enrique Pepén was elected as the next councilor to represent District 5, declaring victory around 9:30 p.m. over Jose Ruiz. Before running, Pepén served as the head of Boston’s Office of Neighborhood Services under Wu. When interviewed by Boston.com, he stressed the need to focus housing efforts on everyday people, not “developers or multimillionaire investors.” The city should fund more nonprofit developers who can commit to making housing more affordable, he said. He also cited the need for “holistic” public safety solutions such as violence intervention groups, community-led after-school programming, and support programs for juveniles charged with crimes.

In District 6, Ben Weber claimed victory over William King just before 9 p.m. Weber, a progressive from Jamaica Plain, is entering electoral politics after a career as a workers’ rights lawyer. He told the Globe earlier this fall that current District 6 councilor Kendra Lara was not spending enough time with constituents, and that he would bring a focus on education to his role on City Council. Weber told Boston.com that advocating for an equitable distribution of resources within the city’s public school system was one of his top priorities, along with improving access to affordable housing through the city housing voucher program. 

Incumbent Tania Fernandes Anderson is all but certain to continue to represent District 7 after defeating Althea Garrison, according to unofficial results posted by the city late Tuesday night. Fernandes Anderson did not respond to questions from Boston.com before this election. But in 2021, she told the Globe that housing, public safety, and climate justice were her top priorities. She has been one of the most vocally progressive members of City Council since getting elected. 

Unofficial results late Tuesday night showed that Incumbent Sharon Durkan appeared likely to once again fend off Montez Haywood in District 8. The two ran against each other in July after Kenzie Bok was tapped to head the Boston Housing Authority. Durkan, a political organizer and fundraiser, won just under 70 percent of that vote. She told Boston.com that her top two priorities are affordable housing and climate resilience. In an interview with the Globe, she said she approached her election with a sense of urgency and has hit the ground running since this summer. She pointed out the fact that she filed hearing orders dealing with stormwater and flooding, as well as mental health services for city workers.

Incumbent Liz Breadon had a sizable lead late Tuesday night, according to unofficial results posted by the city. She would claim victory over Jacob deBlecourt to represent District 9. Breadon told Boston.com in the run-up to election day that housing and transportation were her top priorities. Allston-Brighton has a “time-sensitive opportunity” to develop new workforce housing and improve existing residential properties as new commercial and research facilities move into the neighborhood. Allston-Brighton has some of the largest populations of renters in the city, and Breadon said it needs to become more desirable for people looking to settle down long-term. 

Gabriela Coletta, Ed Flynn, and Brian Worrell all ran unopposed in Districts 1, 2, and 4, respectively.


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