Boston’s District 7 City Council field takes shape, Henriquez joins race
District 7 City Council campaigns start rollout
Last week, former state Rep. Carlos Henriquez became the latest to join the crowded field of candidates vying for the District 7 City Council position currently held by mayoral contender Tito Jackson. He joins a field of about seven so far who seek to represent Roxbury along with parts of Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, the Fenway and the South End. The primary election is on Sept. 26, and with the nomination filing deadline not until May, more candidates still may emerge.
“I have a very long history of civic engagement in my community,” Henriquez told the Banner. “I have a good working knowledge of how I can work for the community.”
Henriquez said that, should he be elected, one of his top priorities will be facilitating homeownership pathways for low-income residents — potentially by advancing co-op and land trust models as well as compelling nonprofits and community development corporations to go beyond rental unit creation. He also said the city should provide more incentives for developers to create low-income housing on public land.
“If we’re not talking to developers about their interests and rewarding developers that are doing this, we’re just shaking our tail and will be gentrified,” he said.
Henriquez said his other primary focus areas would be targeting violence and improving employment prospects. The latter involves strengthening non-college career pathways, especially to place trainees in jobs with upward mobility opportunities, Henriquez said. He highlighted needs to improve Madison Park Technical Vocational High School and increase capacity at existing programs such as the city’s Operation Exit reentry program.
In many cases, Henriquez said, attaining his goals requires strong partnership between community and government, including securing a line of revenue so that organizations’ funding is not at risk should grant-writing foundations’ priorities shift.
In 2007 and 2009, Henriquez unsuccessfully sought to oust Chuck Turner from the District 7 city council seat, and before that, was an aide to Councilor Michael Flaherty. He served as a state representative from 2011 to 2014 before becoming the first person in nearly a century to be expelled from the House, following a conviction on two accounts of assault and battery. Henriquez has maintained he was innocent.
His experience in elected office prepares him to advocate for the needs of his community, he said, adding that the larger staff of a city councilor compared to a state rep — five staffers instead of one — would enhance his capacity to make change and engage community members. Additionally, he said it would easier to find commonalities and build consensus among officials on a 13-member city council than a 160-member state legislature.
In his quest for the District 7 seat, Henriquez faces competition from several contenders who currently are in various early stages of financing, message push and campaign launch.
Kim Janey, a senior project director at Massachusetts Advocates For Children, tops the candidate list in terms of funding. Kicking off her campaign committee with $1,000 of her own cash and $1,000 from a family member, Janey’s funds totaled approximately $15,925 as of March 15. Since its establishment in Jan. 2017, her campaign has spent about $1,620. Janey’s backers include many from the education realm, ranging from a Boston Public School administrator to college professors and deans, to directors of education-focused foundations, as well as a $1,000 contribution from the director of the Roxbury Boys and Girls Club and donations from other individuals, according to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
Janey had yet to attract much dedicated media attention as of Banner press time. While she does not have a website for her campaign, she has a dedicated Facebook account. Her committee is chaired by Daniel E. Janey and its treasurer is John A. Murphy III, according to OCPF filings.
With an end balance of $4,301 as of March 15, Deeqo Jibril’s campaign currently is the next-most financed. Jibril was a childhood Somali refugee and is the founder and executive director of the Somali Community and Cultural Association, as well as founder of African Mall, a center site for African-owned businesses. Since 2017, her campaign has spent only $157.
Jibril has received coverage in newspapers including The Boston Globe and Daily Free Press, with some noting that she is a Muslim, a woman and an immigrant in a political climate marked by Trump’s rhetoric against all three groups.
Jibril’s campaign has hit the ground running with a Facebook page and professional website and a launch party scheduled for this month. Her campaign manager is Eric Chast of Liberty Square Group, according to her campaign press release. The firm’s new campaign arm, Blue Lab, is self-described as a “political incubator” that leverages campaign professionals and university students to provide campaign infrastructure, primarily to progressive first-time, minority and female candidates. “From the start, an office-seeker walks into a fully functioning campaign,” and receives assistance in voter engagement, research, fundraising and advocacy, states Blue Lab’s website. Jibril’s campaign committee chair is Lul Isak and treasurer is Ayaan Jibril, according to her OCPF filings.
Ward 12 Democratic Committee treasurer and owner of At Your Time of Need Floral Designs, Joao DePina listed $5,892 in campaign funds in his March 15 OCPF filing, the latest record. Many contributors identified themselves as managers, contractors and business owners. The campaign has spent about $408 since its Jan. 2017 filing. DePina appears to have received little dedicated media attention and not to have a campaign website. His committee chair is Linda Ceneteio and treasurer is Lateefah Vieira, according to the OCPF.
Attorney Hassan Williams first sought the District 7 council seat in 1999 and once ran for state senate against Sonia Chang-Diaz. Between establishing his campaign committee in January 2017 and entering a March 15 filing, Williams spent $1,703, leaving him with an ending balance of $2,097. He is acting as his own campaign committee chair, with Yvonne Williams as treasurer. He does not appear to have a campaign Facebook presence or website.
Miguel Angel Chavez
Chavez, a small business owner and political consultant, previously told the Banner that he is mulling a run. He filed a campaign committee in September 2016 with the OCPF with the stated purpose of pursuing a city council position. By its March 15 filing date, the committee held $1,333, and had spent a total of $270 in 2017. However, on March 2, Chavez donated $100 to the Jibril campaign.
No website or Facebook page appears associated with Chavez’s campaign. His treasurer is listed as Doug Chavez.
Angelina Camacho is a program manager at Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. (ABCD) and former Citywide Parents Council co-chair. She has raised $110 between campaign filing in Jan. 2017 and latest report on March. 15, and has made no expenses. She has a campaign Twitter account and a website that labels her a “prospective candidate.” Her committee chair is Carmina Taylor and treasurer is Sarah Camacho.
Boston Ten Point Coalition’s director of the Gang Mediation Initiative, Rufus Faulk, has received media attention in both the Boston Herald and Boston Magazine for his candidacy. He twice sought to represent the Seventh Suffolk District at the State House, running against Gloria Fox. Between filing his campaign with the OCPF in Jan. 2017 and March 15, Faulk has spent about $2,342, leaving a balance of about $3,238. Faulk is serving as his own campaign chair. His campaign has a Facebook page.
Charles Clemons Muhammad
Charles Clemons Muhammad, who runs a low-power radio station, had about $31 in his campaign fund at the time of its March 15 report. The committee spent about $800 in 2017 and lists Jonathan Towslee as treasurer.
Clemons’ past bids include running for the same District 7 campaign seat, at-large city councilor, Eleventh Suffolk state representative, and mayor. He has a campaign Twitter account and website.
Marvin Venay, director of congregation and volunteer engagement for the United Unitarian Urban Ministries and former executive director of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, officially dropped out of the running in a statement posted on Monday.
In early March, Henriquez filed his campaign committee with the OCPF with himself as treasurer and chair. He told the Banner he has yet to hire specialized staff and is using an all-volunteer team of about 15 to 20 people to develop policy ideas and engagement strategies. Next month, he plans to collect signatures with door-knocking, texting, social media, phone banking and other efforts, and he is starting fundraising efforts. The campaign has made no expenditures and received no donations this year. It finished 2016 with an end balance of $2,157 in liabilities. His candidacy announcements drew attention from several newspapers and media sites.