City Councilor Andrea Campbell announces run for mayor of Boston

Addressing ‘generational inequities’ will be campaign theme

BOSTON  CITY COUNCILOR Andrea Campbell, who ousted a 32-year incumbent to win her seat five years ago, is now setting her sights on the city’s top job, declaring she’ll run for mayor in next year’s city election.

The 38-year-old Mattapan resident said closing “generational inequities” will be the cornerstone of her campaign.

“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. 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,” Campbell said in a statement announcing her run. 

She joins City Councilor Michelle Wu, a Harvard Law School graduate and daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, who announced her mayoral last week. Both have served stints as council president and been widely considered likely 2021 candidates for mayor. 

Mayor Marty Walsh has yet to say whether he will seek a third term next year.

Campbell, who was raised in foster homes and went on to graduate from Boston Latin School, Princeton University, and UCLA Law School, has made her own story very much the driving force of her public service. Her mother died in an automobile accident on her way to visit Campbell’s father, who was in prison.

Campbell’s twin brother, Andre, cycled in and out of the criminal justice system and died at age 29 while in custody of the Department of Correction awaiting trial. 

“So the question that fuels my work every day is, how do two twins in this city have such different life outcomes?” Campbell said last year during a conversation on The Codcast.  “I no longer blame individual people. I look at systems as a whole” and “how they don’t show up for the most vulnerable, and the inequities in those systems. And I try to peel that apart a little bit, using not just my story but the stories of many others in the communities I serve.”

Campbell, the first African-American woman to serve as council, has focused a lot of her efforts on educational equity and police reform. She has been a supporter of strong accountability in the school district for persistent achievement gaps and pushed for much stronger oversight of the police department. 

She was one of five councilors who voted against the city budget in July, saying it did not do enough to address urgent priorities related to race and policing. 

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

In 2015, Campbell defeated longtime city councilor Charles Yancey for the District 4 seat representing parts of Dorchester and Mattapan.

The early entry into the race of two dynamic women of color is yet another sign of change in the city’s political landscape. Two years ago, then-City Councilor Ayanna Pressley defeated incumbent Michael Capuano in a Democratic primary for the US House seat he had held for 20 years.