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Brandy Fluker Oakley wins 12th Suffolk primary

Faces no Republican challenger for the Mattapan-based district

Morgan C. Mullings
Brandy Fluker Oakley wins 12th Suffolk primary
Brandy Fluker Oakley (right) and at-large City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George greet voters at the Codman Square branch of the Boston Public Library. Banner photo

In a hard-fought race between three lawyers in Dorchester, Brandy Fluker Oakley appears to be the winner of the 12th Suffolk seat in the state House of Representatives.

The unofficial tally from Tuesday night records Fluker Oakley earning 4,047 out of about 10,000 votes, besting candidates Jovan Lacet and Stephanie Everett. Formerly represented by Rep. Dan Cullinane, the district covers parts of Dorchester, Hyde Park, Milton and Mattapan.

“It is the honor of a lifetime to be elected to represent you on Beacon Hill,” Fluker Oakley said via Facebook Live on election night. “We are at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. I am eager to start my service on behalf of the 12th Suffolk district, so we can start building a healthier, more inclusive and just tomorrow.”

Fluker Oakley led the group in donations, securing $75,949 as of Aug. 28. Though traditional campaigning was cut short by concerns over COVID-19 and safety, she gathered signatures while practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. In two virtual town hall events, she answered questions from the Greater Mattapan Neighborhood Council and the Ward 18 Democratic committee.

“Representative-Elect Fluker Oakley is a leader who embodies the growth and change we’ve had in voter participation,” the committee said in a statement, “making history as the first black woman and person of color to win the 12th Suffolk State Representative seat, a district that has a majority of people of color.”

Fluker Oakley detailed her goals to the committee, which include protecting tenants through rent stabilization and the right to counsel. She also plans to use her experience in business administration to advocate for Mattapan residents in budget discussions.

State Rep. Nika Elugardo said she was excited to welcome the representative-elect into the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus to work on police reform and housing equity.

“These are things I have spoken with Brandy about. She’s got a lot of passion and some interesting ideas, particularly around education,” Elugardo told the Banner.

“We’re inching towards actual representative amounts of elected officials, as compared to the number of people in the state and in the city who are people of color,” she added.

As a former public defender and third-grade teacher, Fluker Oakley focused on issues of racial equity and education. She has called for demilitarization of the police, a new House committee on racial equity, and increased funding for community health centers.

“Rep-Elect Fluker Oakley led a progressive, grassroots campaign that resonated with voters. This contributed to her success because people could see themselves in her. She offered a fresh voice and understanding of the law that people were seeking in a leader,” the committee said.

She ran against two fellow Black attorneys and white former city employee Cameron Charbonnier, who suspended his campaign early on to allow for a Black representative to represent the majority-Black district.

Lacet lost to Cullinane in 2018, and Everett ran an unsuccessful campaign as well in 2013. Everett had touted her experience in Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz’s office as her top qualification, while Lacet shared his experiences as a former Boston police officer. Fluker Oakley thanked them both for participating in the race, and Rep. Cullinane for his service, during her live statement.

There was no Republican primary for this seat in the State House, so Fluker Oakley will be listed on the ballot uncontested in November.

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