Councilor Andrea Joy Campbell announced her candidacy for Mayor of Boston on Thursday morning, adding a third candidate to the 2021 mayoral race and the second former Council President to enter the race.
Campbell has long been rumored to be running for mayor, and she was pegged almost immediately in 2015 after first being elected for District 4 as a potential candidate some day.
That day is now, as she kicked off her campaign with a video very early in the morning on Thursday, and then scheduled a kick off in the South End later on Thursday – beyond Gazette deadlines. Campbell currently represents part of Jamaica Plain as the District 4 councilor.
“In this profound moment of reckoning for our country and our city, as people rise up to demand change, Boston needs leadership that not only understands, but has lived the systemic inequities facing our residents every day,” she said. “I’m running for Mayor to be that leader, to bring our city together to confront inequities head-on, and finally make Boston a City that works for everyone.”
A native Bostonian, Campbell is running to bring the city together to break cycles of inequity and injustice, and to give every Bostonian a chance to succeed.
As a City Councilor representing District 4, which includes large sections of Dorchester and Mattapan, as well as pieces of Jamaica Plain and Roslindale, Campbell has focused on closing generational inequities in our City, whether in a criminal justice system that is unjust, a school system that under-serves communities of color, or one of the worst racial wealth gaps in America.
Campbell is running on an equity agenda with a record of leadership and vision to deliver effective and impactful solutions in public health and safety, criminal justice, housing, public education, economic development, environmental justice, and racial equity. Throughout the course of the campaign, Campbell’s campaign said they will be releasing in-depth policy platforms around these issue-areas and more to demonstrate a path to a more equitable, inclusive Boston.
Campbell’s vision for Boston is driven by her life story, she said on the kick-off video. Born and raised in Roxbury and the South End, she and her twin brother Andre lost their mother in a car accident when they were just eight months old, and their father was incarcerated for the first eight years of their lives. For those eight years, Cambell and her siblings grew up with relatives and in foster care, often in public housing and on food assistance.
As they grew older, Campbell and Andre’s lives went in very different directions. While Campbell’s academic gifts were recognized – putting her on a path to Boston Latin School, Princeton University, and a promising legal career – Andre’s were not. Like too many young Black men in our society, Andre was over-disciplined and under-supported by adults who failed to recognize his potential. He cycled in and out of the criminal justice system and died at age 29 while awaiting trial. Campbell’s family has never been given a full accounting of Andre’s death.
Campbell said her career has been driven by the pain of Andre’s loss and a fundamental question: How can two twins born and raised in Boston have such different life outcomes? That was a question she posed on the campaign trail in 2015 when she ran against long-time incumbent Charles Yancey, and one she said she continues to ask to this day.
“Boston is where I was born and raised; where I went to five excellent Boston Public Schools, where I started my career in Roxbury, and started my own family in Mattapan; and where I have proudly served my community of District 4 for the past five years,” she said. “But it’s also where I’ve suffered tremendous pain and loss, and experienced how Boston is a city divided by access to opportunity.
“The inequities in access to education, housing that is affordable, good jobs, health care, parks and green space, streets that are clean, and neighborhoods that feel safe are all too familiar to me,” she continued. “But I also know what is possible in Boston, because, by the Grace of God and the opportunities this City afforded me, I stand here today — as a girl who grew up in public housing in Roxbury and the South End, with a family torn apart by incarceration and loss, who could be elected the first Black woman President of the Boston City Council, and today launch a campaign to be the first Black mayor and first woman mayor of the City of Boston.”
Campbell served as Deputy Legal Counsel in Governor Deval Patrick’s administration, working to create more equitable systems and deliver progressive change to communities across the Commonwealth. In 2015, Campbell challenged a 32-year incumbent to represent Mattapan, Dorchester, and parts of Jamaica Plain and Roslindale on the City Council.
Since then, Campbell has been a leader for equity, justice, and opportunity for all in Boston, she said. As the first Black woman to serve as Boston City Council President, she championed an agenda that put racial equity at the top of Boston’s priority list. For years, she’s led the fight to reform police and criminal legal systems and pushed the City and school leaders to act urgently to provide a quality public education to every student.