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District 7 hopefuls line up as Jackson ponders mayoral run

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
District 7 hopefuls line up as Jackson ponders mayoral run
(Clockwise, from upper left) Miguel Chavez, Kim Janey, Marvin Venay and Charles Clemons.

A quiet storm is brewing while City Councilor Tito Jackson mulls a challenge to incumbent Mayor Martin Walsh. If Jackson runs for mayor he says he will not run for re-election to the District 7 seat he represents.

Jackson’s bid may be a longshot. He has $30,000 in the bank while Walsh has more than $3 million. But Jackson says he is seriously considering a mayoral run and will make up his mind by April.

Few things in Boston politics stir the ambitions of budding politicians like an open race for a seat on the 13-member city council. So far, the Banner counts nine candidates reported to be considering a run for Jackson’s seat as he considers his run for mayor, only one of whom, Rufus Faulk, has said he would challenge the incumbent regardless of whether he seeks re-election.

The candidates are (in alphabetical order):

Angelina Camacho, a program manager at a financial services firm. Camacho would be making her first run for office. She is a former co-chairwoman of the Citywide Parents Council and volunteers with the mentoring program No Books, No Ball.

Camacho says she is considering a run and has talked to family members and friends about it.

“I’ve been very supportive of the work Tito is doing,” she says. “I work in social services and am aware of the needs in this community.”

Miguel Angel Chavez, a small business owner and political consultant. Chavez, who served as a liaison to Boston’s Latino community in the Office of Neighborhood Services under the late Mayor Thomas Menino, says he’s weighing his options.

“I understand the importance of constituent services and making sure our district receives the resources it needs,” he said. “I’m definitely about the bread-and-butter issues.”

Chavez serves as a moderator for the Highland Park Neighborhood Coalition and the John Eliot Square Neighborhood Association and serves on the Ward 9 Democratic Committee.

Charles Clemons, who runs a low-power radio station. He has run several times for elected office, including bids for mayor, at-large city councilor, District 7 city councilor and, most recently, the 11th Suffolk District seat held by state Rep. Liz Malia.

Joao DePina, a small business owner, says he’s highly likely to run, should Jackson vacate the seat.

“I feel like this is the seat where I can be the voice for my community,” he says. “Roxbury needs somebody who’s going to be a strong advocate against gentrification and who will support the community.”

DePina serves as treasurer of the Ward 12 Democratic Committee and has worked on numerous campaigns, including those of state Rep. Evandro Carvalho, former Gov. Deval Patrick and Jackson.

Rufus Faulk, who is director of the Gang Mediation Initiative at the Boston Ten Point Coalition has run twice against former 30-year incumbent state Rep. Gloria Fox for the 7th Suffolk District seat now occupied by Chynah Tyler. Faulk could not be reached for comment for this story.

Former state Rep. Carlos Henriquez is rumored to be considering a run. Henriquez could not be reached for comment for this story.

Kim Janey, a senior project director at Massachusetts Advocates for Children, says she is considering a run for the seat, should Jackson vacate.

Janey, who sits on the Ward 12 Democratic Committee and has served as a delegate to the state convention, founded the Historic Moreland Street Neighborhood Organization and served as its president for the first four years.

“I’ve worked hard to establish strong relationships and to be a voice for my community,” Janey said. “I’m passionate about this district. I care about the residents of this district.”

Marvin Venay, director of Congregationa and Volunteer Engagement for the United Unitarian Urban Ministries, is a member of the Ward 12 Democratic Committee. He served as deputy director of Government Affairs in the office of the Massachusetts State Treasurer, also is considering a run. Venay served as executive director of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus.

Hasan Williams, an attorney, says he will run if Jackson steps aside. Williams first ran for the seat in 1999, losing to Chuck Turner, who held the seat for ten years before Jackson was elected. Williams also challenged incumbent state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz for the 2nd Suffolk District seat.

“I want to continue the leadership Tito bought to this seat and bring the city’s resources here,” Williams said. “I believe Roxbury is the jewel of the city.”

Nuts and bolts

The Roxbury-based district includes parts of Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, the Fenway and the South End and has a majority-black population, with sizeable Latino, Cape Verdean and white populations as well. In a crowded race to the September 26 preliminary, each of those communities could play a pivotal role.

Two candidates will emerge after the preliminary to face off in the November 7 general election. With a contested mayoral race on the ballot and strong District 7 candidates, turnout could exceed the 11,800 who voted in the 2013 election.

Candidates for city council district seats are required to submit nomination forms with the signatures of 200 registered voters during a four-week period ending May 16.