Yancey draws criticism in District 4 race

District 4 City Councilor Charles Yancey is running for both reelection and mayor. The three other candidates for the District 4 seat—Steven Godfrey, Divo Rodrigues Monteiro and Terrance Williams—are criticizing that move.

City rules allow Yancey to be on the ballot for both, but he can only serve one position if elected.

District 4 covers Mattapan, Dorchester and Roslindale. Last year’s redistricting plan placed the Woodbourne section of Jamaica Plain in the City Council’s District 4 section. Yancey, Monteiro and Williams are Dorchester residents, while Godfrey resides in Roslindale.

Charles Yancey

Yancey, who is the longest serving city councilor, having been first elected in 1983, has drawn criticism for entering both the mayoral and District 4 races. But, he said, it is “not as unusual as you might think.”

The councilor said that it “happens all the time,” noting that elected officials keep their name on the ballot for the House of Representatives or Senate when they are running for the vice presidency. He pointed to 2000, when Joe Lieberman ran as vice president while keeping his name on the ballot for the U.S. Senate seat for Connecticut.

Yancey said he “respectfully” asks District 4 residents to vote for him for both city councilor and mayor.

“If I end up winning both, I have a critical decision to make. I might have to call you and consult with you,” he joked with the Gazette.

Yancey said that the issue of running for both positions being raised is “unfortunate” and takes away from “substantial discussion.”

“The decision is up to voters,” he said.

Asked about issues in District 4, Yancey cited quality of life for families, education and safe neighborhoods.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that happens,” he said of improving those issues.

Yancey also reiterated his support for a new high school to be built in Mattapan, a longtime goal of his.

For more information, visit charlesyancey.org or charlesyanceyformayor.com.

Steven Godfrey

Godfrey is currently the executive director of the Community Minority Cultural Center, which is a community development corporation in Lynn. He said he understands it is Yancey’s right to run for both offices, but questions how fair it is for the residents of District 4. He said they deserve the “full focus of their elected official.”

Godfrey noted that other mayoral candidates who are city councilors have given up the chance to retain their seats.

“Our democracy is not about being strategic on how to keep a job,” he said. “Democracy is about how elected officials represent the people and serve them to the best of their abilities.”

Godrey said he has professional experience ranging from retail management to real estate to nonprofits. He said in all his efforts he has worked “closely with clients and local residents to meet their needs ranging from housing, heating, education and childcare.”

“I have been involved in my local community as the organizer and facilitator of our neighborhood association for the last 15 years,” said Godfrey. “I work closely with my local city councilor, state representative, senator, police, residents and local businesses to engage and solve our community issues and concerns.”

Asked about issues in District 4, Godfrey responded two issues are public safety and access to basic city services to better the quality of life for residents. He said there needs to be a better connection between the City and residents.

For more information, visit stevengodfrey4.com.

Divo Rodrigues Monteiro

Monteiro said that Yancey should only be running for one office and that he should not take voters for granted by running for both positions.

“I think Yancey has been part of the political establishment for so long and he should try a different office now,” he said.

Monteiro, who has experience as a poet, educator, real estate agent and a notary public, said he has the knowledge to “fight for the issues that affect us all and I believe there is a solution for every single issue.” He said he has worked with people from all walks of life.

“I entered this race because there are so many issues at stake, such as jobs, education and safety,” he said. “There is a large number of Cape Verdeans in Boston and I believe now it is the right time for us to have our own voice and representation at City Hall.”

Monteiro said that jobs will be his top priority if elected, as it has been the number one issue he has heard from residents when he goes door knocking.

“We need to turn the local economy around,” he said.

For more information, visit electdivomonteiro.com.

Terrance Williams

Williams echoed the sentiments of his fellow candidates on Yancey, saying he is doing a disservice to District 4 by running for both offices. He said residents of the district deserve for their elected official to put his “heart and soul” into the job and should not be “shortchanged.”

Williams said Yancey is in for a “big surprise” as a “storm is coming.”

When asked why he entered the race, Williams responded, “My grandmother always said that when you’re sick and tired do something about it.”

For Williams, that means the state of Boston Public Schools. He said that the city has the top colleges and hospitals in the country and that they need to partner up with the City to better the educational system.

“We should haven’t to send our children to private schools or other communities [to get a quality education],” he said.

Williams, who works for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission and the Suffolk County Sheriff Department, has experience working with children through his Mighty Mission Youth Program. He said that if children get the proper education and love, then the community “will be a great community.”

Williams said the issues facing District 4 are a lack of resources and commitment. He said a connection needs to be brought back between residents of District 4 and the City. Williams talked about forming partnerships among pastors, police and activists to combat crime in the district.

For more information, visit terrancewilliamsforboston.com.

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