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Rox campaign heats up

Associated Press | 12/21/2010, 6:31 p.m.
In this Banner file photo, Gov. Deval Patrick and Lt. Gov. Tim Murray join Tito Jackson at a fundraiser for Gov. Patrick over Memorial Day weekend in Roxbury. Jackson recently announced his candidacy for the District 7 Boston City Council seat left vacant by the ouster of Chuck Turner. Don West

Former at-large City Councilor candidate Tito Jackson pledges to move District 7 forward

Tito Jackson, Gov. Deval Patrick’s recent campaign political director, has decided to throw his name in the ring again, this time as a candidate to replace City Councilor Chuck Turner in Boston’s seventh district. 

“Everyday as I drive through this District, I see obstacles and opportunities everywhere,” Jackson said in a press release. “My candidacy is about  maximizing the opportunities and overcoming the obstacles.”

Jackson ran for one of the four citywide council seats in 2009 but finished fifth. In that race, Jackson won in the predominantly black wards 12 (Roxbury), 14 and 15 (Dorchester). Those wards are part of District 7 which also includes neighborhoods in Fenway and the South End.

Nevertheless, he would have been seated if City Councilor Stephen Murphy had won his bid for state treasurer this year, but Murphy was beaten in the September Democratic primary.

Turner, a longtime community activist and one of the city’s most visible African American politicians, was expelled from the council earlier this month after being convicted on federal bribery charges.

He was first elected in 1999 and though under federal indictment, was still able to win re-election with nearly 60 percent of the vote in November 2009.

Turner was convicted Oct. 29 of taking a $1,000 bribe from a businessman seeking a city liquor license, then lying about it to FBI agents. He is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 25 and could get prison time.

Last month, the Boston City Council voted 11-1 to expel councilor Turner, who remained defiant even as his long political career neared an end. It marked the first time in the 100-year history of the modern city council that members voted to remove one of their own.

Turner, 70, abstained from the vote because he had a financial stake in the outcome — the loss of his $87,500 annual salary. The only no vote on the 13-member council was cast by Turner supporter Charles Yancey, who questioned whether the body had the legal authority to expel a member.

Jackson grew up in Grove Hall. He still lives in, and now owns, the home he was raised in on Schuyler Street. He first exhibited his community organizing skills while a student at the University of New Hampshire, starting the school’s first black student union, advocating for the admission of more non-athlete students of color and becoming just the second black student body president.

Jackson has told the Banner that he traces his path back to watching his father, the late community organizer Herbert Kwaku Zulu Jackson, lead grassroots efforts to force contractors to comply with laws for hiring women and people of color as the founder of the Greater Roxbury Workers Association.

As industry director for information technology in the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, Jackson has played a role in the Patrick administration’s efforts to bring more than 2,000 jobs to the Commonwealth by convincing tech companies like Google and Cisco to move business operations here.

Jackson most recently served as political director on Gov. Deval Patrick’s successful re-election campaign. In his release announcing his candidacy, Jackson said he is proposing “an ambitious agenda” that includes a community-based economic recovery plan to create more local jobs; greater investment in Boston Public schools to prepare students for jobs in a global economy; and develop more affordable housing to stabilize troubled neighborhoods.

Material from the Associated Press contributed to this story