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The Bay State Banner
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Clear differences in D7 candidate platforms

Owens brings controversial views to race for Rox. seat

Anna Lamb
Clear differences in D7 candidate platforms
Roy Owens (left) FROM YOUTUBE, and Tania Fernandes Anderson BANNER PHOTO

After preliminary voting narrowed down the field of candidates vying for the District 7 city council seat soon to be vacated by acting Mayor Kim Janey, two remain —Tania Fernandes Anderson and Roy Owens Sr.

The Banner caught up with both November hopefuls to hear more about their platforms and what they’re doing to move their campaigns forward ahead of the election.

Anderson’s campaign website describes her as “a foster mom to 17 kids, a mental health provider [and] a non-profit leader working to support local small businesses” looking to create a municipality that is both civically engaged but also cared for. She’s a Roxbury native, having grown up in the Academy Homes housing project.

“I think that we have to streamline communication between local government and what constituents need — what it looks like, creating a platform where the constituents in District 7 will feel that they are able to understand exactly what city council does, exactly what they’re working on, exactly what to use or manage or navigate [to learn about] local government, city resources,” Anderson told the Banner.

Anderson’s job as executive director for Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets, an organization that brings together local businesses, residents and neighborhood organizations to support the business district, has also informed her platform.

If elected, she said, she promises to fight to ensure that construction jobs go to local residents and that 30% of city contracts go to minority-owned businesses.

Her other priorities include creating affordable housing, strengthening public health, a reallocation of police funding, further integration of a STEM curriculum in schools and creating affordable and equitable transportation, not only for her district but across the city.

Her campaign strategy in the weeks remaining until Election Day includes going door to door, connecting with neighbors and sharing her message.

“For me, there’s so much work to be done,” she said. “I couldn’t possibly slow down. I couldn’t possibly stop now. So I’m at the doors, actually, every single day for about, I think, 4 hours a day.”

If elected, Anderson stands to be the first Muslim American, as well as the first person born in an African country (Cape Verde) to serve on the Boston City Council — a feat that she only just commented on recently.

In a Facebook post Oct. 1, Anderson wrote, “These identities are essential to my personhood, and I take great pride that I have ascended to this point.” In her interview with the Banner she stated that her layered set of experiences, including those based around her identity, “teaches you to be patient to understand people, to be a good listener and with patience and understanding, you have compassion.”

Anderson has had a short but successful campaign thus far, announcing her candidacy in April and making her voice heard frequently since. She received more than a quarter of the vote in the preliminary election.

Roy Owens Sr., on the other hand, has run a quieter campaign. Noticeably absent from early candidate forums, Roy flew under the radar in much of the reporting on the race. Known locally as a “perennial candidate” — Owen’s website lists a run for Congress and news articles on runs for multiple offices over the last two decades — name recognition may have been enough to catapult him into the second-place spot. Moreover, proving Owen’s ambition for office was his run for two seats on this year’s ticket alone — at-large councilor and District 7. He did not, however, make it to the final for the at-large seat.

Unlike Anderson, whose religious identity has not been central to her campaign, Owens has made it a point to put his on full display.

A conservative, Owens espouses right-wing ideals and Christian family values to an extreme. During a somewhat rambling discussion with the Banner on his ideas for the office, Owens mentioned rising taxes, unemployment and the overall economic depression he sees unfolding in his district. His solution? Faith-based initiative programs.

“The government is not dealing at all with faith-based initiative programs working to help relieve some of the problems,” Owens said. “They just want the church to do everything and not be a partner and like they’re fighting us.”

During his conversation with the Banner, Owens also expressed some controversial ideology, including referring to the COVID-19 vaccine as “experimental” and making a derogatory statement equating Anderson’s Muslim faith with Sharia law.

On a regular basis, Owens posts videos of himself with titles like “CDC Show Vaccinated People are Spreading COVID-19” and “New Eugenics Using 5g Program Liquors Crt a” mixed with less political topics such as “Seeking The Heart of God.”

This appears to be his strategy for winning in November — hoping that voters see his message and connect with it.

Early voting begins Saturday, Oct. 23 and will last through Friday, Oct. 29 and the last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is Wednesday, Oct. 27

Election Day will be Tuesday, Nov. 2. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.