Spurred into the District 4 City Council race by the death of her twin brother, Mattapan resident Andrea Campbell says she is taking a wait-and-see approach with the Olympics and thinks the Casey Arborway project had a “problematic community process.”
Campbell faces three other candidates in the race: longtime District 4 City Councilor Charles Yancey, Terrance Williams and Jovan Lacet. District 4 covers parts of Forest Hills and Woodbourne in Jamaica Plain.
Campbell is a lawyer who has served as deputy legal counsel for former Gov. Deval Patrick, but she is currently taking time away from her trade to run full-time as a candidate.
“This campaign is all about doing and bringing more to District 4 and if elected, I am committed to bringing the community together to create strategic, tangible plans to address some of these issues, finding creative ways to bring more resources into the district, and delivering constituent services more efficiently and effectively,” she said in an email.
A Boston native who was educated in the Boston Public Schools, Campbell said that the “motivating force” to join the race was the death of her twin brother Andre. She said he died three years ago at the age of 29 as a pre-trial detainee in jail.
“I often think of Andre and how our lives growing up in Boston went in two different directions,” said Campbell. “We both lost our biological mother at 8 months old and lived without our father for the first eight years of our lives because he was incarcerated.”
She said that they lived with their grandmother during those eight years, who did the “best she could,” but battled alcohol addiction. They bounced around the foster care system before going to live with a relative, according to Campbell.
“When we were 8 years old, our father was released from prison, and we went to live with him,” she said. “We grew up poor, on public assistance and lived in affordable housing. At the age of 19, our father suddenly passed away.”
She says she wonders what allowed her to thrive, while her brother did not.
“I had great schools: I went to [Boston] Latin School, Andre the Burke [High School] when it was seeking accreditation,” said Campbell. “I also had college mentors, effective teachers, quality after-school jobs, a strong church community, and loving relatives who had high expectations for me and saw in me the potential I eventually came to see in myself.”
She commented on the contentious Casey Arborway project, saying it is a state project and the Council has “little power to derail it,” but that it is an “example of a problematic community process.”
“I know many residents in Mattapan, Dorchester and Jamaica Plain feel like their voices and concerns were not represented adequately in the community process,” said Campbell. “If elected, I am committed to informing residents of potential projects before they are finalized or in progress and working with other elected officials, developers, project managers and stakeholders to facilitate a true community process.”
Another issue stirring controversy in the neighborhood has been the possibility of bringing the Olympics to Boston. Campbell said she has not taken a formal stance, as she is waiting for more information about the proposal, such as the quality of jobs and local development; the taxpayer cost; and the impact on such spaces as Franklin Park.
“I have met with Boston 2024 and representatives from No Boston Olympics and No Boston 2024, seeking to ask questions and gather information,” she said. “I will continue speaking with residents to determine their concerns, questions and level of support before taking a position.”