New Faces, New PrioritiesOn our live-streamingshow and podcast TheYoung Jurks, we recentlyinterviewed the faces of fivewinning municipal campaigns,four of whom were first-timecandidates, about how theywon their seats and whatthey hope to achieve in office.Below are some of theirresponses; they’re in no particularorder, we just thoughtthey were the most relevantcomments for our politicallyactive readers.“I didn’t take anything forgranted,” Cambridge CityCouncilor-elect Jivan Sobrinho-Wheelersaid. “I knew wehad a lot of support. We did alot of door knocking, but I wasblown away on election day.”by Mike CrawfordSocial justice, housing are priorities for freshly elected citypols: “You can’t speak up on the development issue if you aretaking a lot of money from developers”J38What made you stand out?Sobrinho-Wheeler: I’m a renter like two-thirds ofCambridge residents, and now we have a representati[ve]on the City Council. I walk, bike, andtake public transport living in a city where the Tis dysfunctional. The Red Line broke down andcaught fire in the last six months, buses are constantlygetting caught. While the City Council hasfree parking behind City Hall.Boston City Councilor-at-Large-elect* Julia Mejia:As a first-time candidate with no political background,I didn’t have the big heavy-hitters on myside. That we have come this far speaks volumesto what is possible; it goes to show that anybodycan do this. I think we are changing the face andlook of what politicians look and sound like.What made the difference for you to win aseat in your first-ever campaign?Sobrinho-Wheeler: The movement for sure,Boston [Democratic Socialists of America] DSA,they had so many door knockers for us, and [theSunrise Movement], we had 30, 40 with Sunrisecome out door knocking, pushing a Green NewDeal in Cambridge, and now we are going tobring these movements more into City Hall.Mejia: This has been about activating folks toparticipate. A lot of people who had never votedvoted for the first time and felt that their vote reallymattered; people who have never worked on
campaigns before who volunteered, I really wantto keep that energy going.Malden City Councilor-elect Amanda Linehan:We made a huge effort to reach out to renters,the Chinese community, other folks that traditionallyget ignored.What helped you get back in?Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan:It was about justice, it was abouttaking action on climate change, and it wasabout housing. … We need rent controland I think voters have clearly indicatedthat is a priority right now.How do you plan on following throughin office?Boston City Councilor-elect Liz Breadon:People are very concerned about thehousing issue and that was my numberone issue. Back when I started in January,and it really resonated with people on thestreets and on the doors, I made a decisionto run a grassroots campaign that waslargely funded on the local level and not totake money from big developers, that alsoresonated with people. You can’t speak upon the development issue if you are taking a lotof money from developers.Mejia: It wasn’t so much about winning but howwe win. That really mattered to me; we set out toengage the least likely and we have, and I feelreally good about our work.Linehan: I have a slate of affordable housingitems that I’d like to get done, like finally adoptingan inclusionary ordinance in Malden, startingdown payment and security deposit assistanceprogram, setting up an affordable housing trustfund for the first time.Making sure that this gets done the right way ismy top priority.*Mejia unofficially beat Alejandra St. Guillen forthe fourth at-large Boston City Council seat by 8votes. A recount is underway at the time of thiswriting.Mike Crawford is a Massachusetts medical cannabis patient,founder of The Young Jurks and midnightmass.substack.com.You can listen to The Young Jurks atanchor.fm/theyoungjurks orwherever else podcasts are streamed. This article was producedwith support from Midnight Mass and The Young Jurks, whereyour contributions are greatly appreciated and help us delivermore local coverage.