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Andrea Campbell set to take reins as City Council president

Pledges to increase transparency and accessibility of 13-member council body

Banner Staff
Andrea Campbell set to take reins as City Council president
(Photo: Courtesy Andrea Campbell)

District 4 City Councilor Andrea Campbell announced last week she has the votes to be elected the next president of the Boston City Council.

Campbell, who will begin serving her second term representing the district that includes portions of Dorchester, Mattapan, Roslindale and Jamaica Plain, will be the first African American woman to serve as the body’s president.

The council president makes committee assignments and coordinates communication between council members and the mayor. If the mayor steps down from his post, the council president is appointed acting mayor. The council president has more staff and a larger office than other councilors.

A first

In a statement released to the media, Campbell noted the historic nature of her role.

“As the first African American woman to serve in this role, I am especially humbled and proud to lead the most diverse Council in this body’s history, with a historic six women of color,” her statement reads. “The progress we’ve made would not be possible without the commitment every member of this body has shown to achieving justice, providing equitable services in our diverse communities, and increasing opportunity for all our residents.”

Campbell will take over the reins as council president at the conclusion of At-Large Councilor Michelle Wu’s term on Jan. 1. The presidency of the council is limited to two terms. While in past years, negotiations over which councilor will lead the body have resulted in weeks of negotiations, this year’s process ended relatively early.

“I want to thank President Wu for her tremendous leadership these last two years,” Campbell said in her statement. “I look forward to building on her work as President and supporting the goals of each of my colleagues, continuing to highlight the important work and role of the Council, and working in partnership with Mayor Walsh to implement impactful policies that lift up every community.”

Campbell was elected in 2015, replacing long-time District 4 Councilor Charles Yancey. She currently is chairwoman of the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee. In a November interview with the Dorchester Reporter, the first-term councilor cited her work securing Boston Police Department Youth Development grants and monitoring the city’s progress on the Boston Police body camera pilot program.

When she is sworn in in January, along with newly elected councilors Kim Janey and Lydia Edwards, the council will have more women of color representing Boston residents than at any time in the body’s history. The council body will also be the first since 1982 with no men of color represented.

In her statement, Campbell pledged to work on making the council more accessible to Boston residents.

“While we celebrate firsts, there is much work to be done,” she said. “As we move ahead, I am committed to increasing the Council’s transparency and accessibility, to implementing innovative tools and technologies to more efficiently deliver constituent services, and to elevating the ideas and experiences of residents who feel like they are not heard in City Hall.”

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