2015 Boston General Elections

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All 13 seats on the Boston City Council were available for this 2015 election. The filing date for prospective candidates was May 19, 2015, swiftly followed by September’s primary elections. Boston, Massachusetts, held General Elections for city council on November 3, 2015.


Boston City Council’s longest-serving members, Stephen J. Murphy and 16 termed – Charles C. Yancey (first elected in 1983), lost their bids for re-election on Tuesday. Two women, who have never been elected to political office before were introduced to the Boston political scene. Annissa Essaibi George, a high school teacher of 14 years, defeated Murphy for the fourth at-large seat representing the entire city of Boston. Andrea Joy Campbell, a Mattapan Attorney, defeated Yancey in District 4, a seat representing Mattapan and Dorchester that the incumbent had held since it was created.

June Conley, a first-year student at Wheelock College expressed that “change in Boston is what we need; I am excited to see what great things these women have in store for our communities.”

Information source: http://ballotpedia.org/Boston,_Massachusetts_municipal_elections,_2015

District 4 and 7 were the only districts to hold primary elections:

  • [DISTRICT 4] Jovan J. Lacet withdrew from the race in August to endorse incumbent Yancey. Campbell received the highest percentage of votes during the primary election, Yancey placing second. After being defeated in the Primary elections, Yancey began to campaign for November’s election. On Tuesday, in the General Elections, Campbell (57.9%) defeated Yancey (33.9%). Yancey said the election was a “wake-up call”. Campbell swept to victory, winning 25 of the 32 precincts.
  • [DISTRICT 7] Tito Jackson, led the primary, with 66.4 percent of the vote. In the General Elections, he defeated Charles L. Clemons Jr.

All thirteen council incumbents ran for re-election. Five ran unopposed. The last time there were only city council seats in the primary was 2007.

Two prevalent issues that attracted attention this election season were:

  1. Nationwide disagreement over whether the salaries of the council should be raised. As of October 2015, the salary of the City Council members was $87,500. In October 2014, the council voted 9-4 (table shows how each council member voted) to raise their compensation by $20,000. Mayor Marty Walsh vetoed the bill and asked a compensation advisory board to make a recommendation on the council’s pay. The board recommended a modest pay increase of 11 percent ($97,000). Mayor Walsh proposed salaries to be raised to $99,500.
  2. All of the candidates agreed on the importance of diversity of the faculty in the Boston Public Schools. For at least 25 percent of new positions, schools are federally required to hire black teachers.

Chart source: http://maineelections.bangordailynews.com/

Chairman and Founding Partner, Alex Castellanos, of Purple Strategies articulated at a recent New England Council seminar, that the most common themes voters are looking at in the upcoming presidential elections are reliability to candidates, trust, morals, personal branding and character of the potential candidate. Were Boston voters sending a message? This election, voters appeared to be voting for candidates because they are going to make a difference (and have proven their experience in making a difference) in their communities, educational structures and legal systems.

New England Ballot Highlights:

Souce: http://maineelections.bangordailynews.com

New England City Elections Results:

  1. Election results for Connecticut residents can be found here: http://www.sots.ct.gov/sots/cwp/view.asp?a=3179&q=565256
  2. Election results for Rhode Island residents can be found here: http://www.elections.state.ri.us/elections/elected/
  3. Election results for Maine residents can be found here: http://maineelections.bangordailynews.com/
  4. Election results for New Hampshire residents can be found here: http://www.wmur.com/politics

Jada Cash-Wilson is a Project Coordinator/Graduate Intern in the Department of Government & ExternBlog Photoal Affairs and Community Impact and holds a BA in Political Philosophy. Before connecting with Wheelock, she worked as a Research Policy/Grant Analyst and liaison between the Mayor and City Council for a major city in the mid-west, and as a Legislative Aide for former U.S Senator Carl Levin. Jada aspires to someday make a positive difference in the world.



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  1. Boston City Council could be always looking to be ever more open…

    a) Technology/software.

    Boston City Council could elect a Council President who will get most up to date technology/software and improve Council Communications!
    __________ __________
    b) Appointees.

    Boston City Councilors could appoint more up to date people to Central Council Staff who know how to operate the best technology/software !
    __________ __________
    c) SEARCHABLE Public Notices.

    Boston City Council/City Clerk could put online Public Notices in SEARCHABLE format and COMPATIBLE with Vision Impaired folks’ SCREENREAD software!
    __________ __________
    d) More up to date Stenographic technology/software.

    Boston City Council could advertise more widely to get the most up to date Stenographic technology/software !
    __________ __________
    e) TABLE/CHART of Roll Call Votes.

    Boston City Council could release an easy to read understandable TABLE/CHART of Council Roll Call Votes from the data at http://www.cityofboston.gov/cityclerk/rollcall/
    __________ __________
    f) Hard of Hearing folks, the Deaf Community.

    Boston City Council could arrange release online of the Stenograph Record of Council Public Meetings for hard of hearing folks , for the Deaf Community, for all folks!
    __________ __________
    g) Bad Records Management practices.

    Boston City Council could improve bad Records Management practices!
    __________ __________
    h) Public Meetings in the Neighborhoods.

    Public Meetings of Boston City Council can be held in the Neighborhoods from time to time.
    __________ __________
    i) Transparent background for WGBH Captioning.

    WGBH Captions on Webcasts/Cablecasts of Public Meetings should be setup with transparent background that doesn’t block part of the picture for hard of hearing folks, for the Deaf Community, for all folks!
    __________ __________
    j) Transcript.

    Full transcript of WGBH Captions from Webcasts/Cablecasts of Public Meetings of Boston City Council could be made available online for hard of hearing folks, for the Deaf Community, for all folks!
    __________ __________
    k) CouncilMatic.

    Boston City Council could cooperate with http://councilmatic.org
    __________ __________
    L) Council Municipal Library/Archives.

    Boston City Council Municipal Library/Archives , furnishing City departments and the general public with information on municipal government, could be put within easier reach of all ! See page 365 at http://www.cityofboston.gov/images_documents/14%20Non-Mayoral%20Departments%20Cabinet_tcm3-50835.pdf
    __________ __________
    m) Digitization. Council Library/Archives.

    Boston City Council Municipal Library/Archives , furnishing City departments and the general public with information on municipal government, could digitize some selected materials!
    __________ __________
    n) Professional Records Management.

    Records Management at Boston City Council could use Records Management professionals’ attention http://www.arma.org/
    __________ __________
    o) Metro Journalists.

    Metro Journalists note Peter Kurilecz Records and Archives in the News RAIN https://www.google.com/search?q=kurilecz+records+archives+news
    __________ __________
    p) Specialists.

    The Mayor or Chief of Staff could look into appointing more folks with better knowledge of technology/software to the Boston City Clerks Offices to make Public Documents more readily available to all, including Vision Impaired SCREENREAD software users. For example so called City Green Sheets of Pending Council Matters could be in SEARCHABLE format.
    __________ __________
    q) Boundaries. Wards/Precincts.

    Update Boundary Streets of Boston Wards/Precincts http://bostonwardsprecincts.blogspot.com in cooperation with State Legislature.
    __________ __________
    r) Electoral Reform.

    Look into systemic Electoral Reform to achieve a fully participatory and truly Representative Democracy that respects every Vote and every voice in every Election http://fairvote.org
    __________ __________
    s) Mapping.

    Mapping with descriptive text that even more clearly distinguish and label the Bordering Streets of Council Districts than at http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/research-maps/maps-and-gis/electoral-maps Particularly label distinguishing Streets split between Districts!
    __________ __________
    t) Understandable Public Notices.

    Boston City Council could word Public Notices of Hearings in language that’s more inviting!
    __________ __________
    u) Understandable Agenda/Minutes.

    Agenda/Minutes of Boston City Council could more make Docket items even more clear, particularly what are the topics of each of the letters from the Mayor.
    __________ __________
    v) President. Chairing Public Meetings.

    President of Boston City Council could explain Proceedings even more clearly while Chairing the Proceedings of the Public Meeting of Boston City Council.
    __________ __________
    w) SEARCHABLE. Council Communications.

    Email Public Notices of Boston City Council could be in SEARCHABLE format and labelled as to topic on the Subject line of the email Headers.
    __________ __________
    x) Bicameral Board of Alders and Common Council.

    Boston City Council could consider a Bicameral setup as the long ago Bicameral setup in Boston history https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicameralism Prior to 1909, Boston’s legislative body consisted of an eight-member Board of Aldermen and a Common Council made up of three representatives from each of the 25 wards in the city https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_City_Council#History
    __________ __________
    y) Testimony. Civic involvement.

    Testimony at Public Meetings/Hearings of Boston City Council/Council Committees transcript available from Stenograph Record and/or WGBH Captions on Webcasts/Cablecasts could be made available online for feedback, comment, ideas, suggestions, questions and greater civic involvement. Folks could reply by email or online including a particular line/passage in Testimony.
    __________ __________
    z) ….?

    What are your expectations of Boston City Council?… What are your expectations of City Councils?…