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District 4 candidates take different approaches

Rent control, police funding are wedge issues in Dorchester race

Anna Lamb
District 4 candidates take different approaches
Evandro Carvalho (left) and Brian Worrell. COURTESY PHOTOS

In their campaigns to succeed former mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell in representing Boston’s City Council District 4, candidates Brian Worrell and Evandro Carvalho have been looking to prove to voters before Election Day that they’re the right choice for the seat.

Both candidates have centered similar issues in their campaigns — including public safety and housing — while falling on opposite ends of the political spectrum in their plans to address them.

Worrell, owner of Greater Investments Real Estate in Dorchester, has positioned himself as a small business owner with actionable ideas and a more right-of-center ideology. He came out on top in September’s preliminary, and since then has been hitting the pavement in hopes of increasing voter turnout.

“We’re excited, happy to continue to knock doors, make phone calls, see how we could be of any assistance when we show up to voters’ doors, and we’re happy to tell every neighbor in our community about the election to encourage them to bring somebody with them on November 2 so that we can increase voter turnout in our district,” he said in an interview.

When the Banner spoke to Worrell, he said had just gotten off the phone with a neighbor that needed help with an application for a city program.

“It’s about bringing some tangible results to our community and doing the work now,” he added.

Carvalho, an attorney with experience in both the private and public sectors, has taken on more progressive stances and is touting his experience in public office. He served as an Assistant District Attorney and State Representative before an unsuccessful run in 2018 for Suffolk County District Attorney. He currently leads the city’s Human Rights Commission.

“It’s crunch time two weeks left in the election. So we’re doing everything possible to show the voters why we’re the best team, the best candidate to represent this district,” Carvalho said.

He went on to say, “I think the choice is in terms of who’s aligned on the issues with the people of District 4. It’s clear to me when you look at any number of issues that matter to the people … I think my opponent has picked the wrong side of these issues, period.”

Housing

A real estate broker, Worrell has made his housing policies the forefront of his campaign, while Carvalho has made it less of a talking point. However, both candidates agree that affordable housing is lacking in District 4 — an area which contains a rapidly gentrifying Dorchester and Mattapan and smaller areas of Jamaica Plain and Roslindale.

Worrell supports “real pathways to homeownership” with “mortgage products that will increase buying power” and down payment assistance, alongside zoning reform to make sure the community has the “final say in what goes into the neighborhood.” Additionally, he has vocally supported building new affordable housing units on the “large number of vacant lots” as part of mixed-use projects.

“We want to make sure that we make affordable housing for everyone in our community — our seniors [and] young adults who are aspiring to be homeowners,” Worrell said.

He does not however, support rent control — a progressive agenda item backed by more than 70% of Boston voters in recent polls. Carvalho has said he does support rent control.

In July, Carvalho told the Dorchester reporter he would also advocate for an increase of the Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP), a policy which mandates a percentage of new units deeded affordable, from its current 13% to 20%.

On his campaign site, Carvalho touts his volunteer work with the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance.

A brief statement in the same area of the site reads, “I believe housing is a right and as your City Councilor I will continue to fight for housing for all.”

Public safety

Again, the candidates agree there is a problem in their district with both violence and the way police engage with the community. But Worrell advocates for hiring more officers, while Carvalho says it’s time to make hard reforms in the department.

Endorsed by the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, Worrell has stated that his approach to making District 4 safer is not only increasing the number of police officers but to “then also [have] all police offices to be more engaged.”

“If it’s walking up and down the street, on the bike … and then also more community-building events so we can get to know our neighbors and get to know everyone that’s working in our community,” he said.

Carvalho has criticized his opponent’s endorsement by the BPPA while touting his own experience as ADA and his work with the city’s Gun Task Force, as well as on legislation to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, create special prosecution for police officers involved in killings and create victim relief funds.

“I know how to work with law enforcement. I know that particularly in our community, we want police, but we also want police that are from the community, police that are trained to treat us with respect and respond to the needs of the community,” Carvalho said. “But I also saw a lot of things that we need to improve in the police space and criminal justice system.”

The two candidates agree that implementing recommendations made by Boston’s Police Reform Task Force will be crucial to any progress in law enforcement-civilian relations, one of which is negotiating a new police contract. For Worrell the union endorsement can be seen as an in to negotiating, while to Carvalho it signals an allegiance to a flawed organization.

“This is one example that clearly my opponent is on the wrong side of the issue here, aligned with the police unions,” Carvalho said. “And hopefully, as we continue to go into the final, the people of the District 4 will see this.”

Equity and immigrant empowerment

The common thread throughout Worrell’s campaign has been using economic empowerment to create equity among the residents of District 4. That’s reflected in his focus on education and workforce development.

Worrell wants to create “pipelines between workforce development programs and private institutions [that] will place our community in industries of the future such as healthcare, IT, renewable energy and trades.” 

“I’ve always used small business as my tool to invest into people and to invest into our community, to educate our community and to show up for our community,” he said. “It’s about empowering the community and educating the community on how to make City Hall and your elected government work for you.”

Carvalho has stressed creating an open line of communication City Hall to ensure access to city resources but has also made empowering immigrants a strong part of his platform. 

An immigrant himself from Cape Verde, he wants to bring equity into the neighborhood by pushing for non-citizen residents to be able to vote, and to have access to more city assistance. He stressed during his interview with the Banner that having such a large part of the district be disenfranchised is unacceptable.

“I know those experiences. I know what it is to try to navigate and go to school as a teenager and try to figure out how to learn the language at the same time, having to go to a doctor’s appointment and try and translate to your mother who doesn’t speak English,” he said. “I will fight to ensure that Boston is a welcoming city to all.”

On to the finish line

Both campaigns say they are not slowing down until they cross the November finish line, and each continues to embrace endorsements and community support. Worrell, with Caribbean roots, continues to accept support from Caribbean community groups in addition to his support by the police union. Just this week, he notably received an endorsement from incumbent Andrea Campbell.

Carvalho has racked up several labor union endorsements as well as endorsements from elected officials such as Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, state Rep. Liz Miranda, Suffolk County Register of Probate Felix Arroyo and Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins.

Whether their campaign strategies have paid off will become clear on Tuesday, Nov. 2, when voters cast their final ballots. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, and early voting will begin Saturday, Oct. 23 and last through Friday, Oct. 29. The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is Wednesday, Oct. 27.

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