Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George has joined two of her colleagues in Boston's mayoral race, officially announcing her candidacy on Thursday.
Councilor Essaibi George joins us to talk about why she decided to enter the race, and what she sees as the most important issues for the city of Boston moving forward.
On what Councilor Essaibi George feels she has to offer jumping into mayoral race:
"Boston is my home and I obviously have very deep roots here. And that connection drives me to work hard every single day as an at-large city councilor. As a mayor, I know that I will be able to bring that same drive and desire to serve to that role."
"I've always described myself as a 'lowercase p' progressive. It's really important to think big and to hope, but it's also equally important to exist in reality and to understand that there are challenges that our families are facing every single day, that our kids are dealing with in our school system. When we think about the work that is left undone, we need to take that practical realist approach to the work of the city. And that's what I brought to the table. I was a teacher for 13 years. I built a small business in the city. And to do those things, you have to approach the work from a very realistic perspective."
On what her teaching background could bring to the table in the mayor's office:
"Certainly no teacher has ever served in the mayor's office as mayor of the city. And no teacher has ever led this city. And I certainly look forward to using every moment of those 13 years in the classroom to inform my work, especially as it relates to education. When I think about both my experience as a student myself, as a parent of four [Boston Public Schools] students and as a former teacher, those experiences right now as an at-large council and as chair of the council's committee on education, inform that work every single day."
"But I think about the experiences for sure of the kids that were in my care, that were in my classroom all of those years. And those experiences taught me about the true housing and security that they experience, the homelessness that they experience, the food insecurity — and their families struggle with that. And that continues today. That hasn't changed. We have so much work to do as a city to support those kids and their families. And I learned all of that, not just through my own personal experiences, but through the experiences of my kids."
On what the diversity of the Boston mayoral race means to her and for the city of Boston this year:
"Well, I'll tell you, it's actually very special and very personal for me. My dad is an Arab. And when I was young and had an interest in municipal government and an interest in perhaps running for office someday, he very directly said to me, in this city, with a girl like you, with an Arab name — Annissa Essaibi — you will not be able to be elected to anything."
"And as an at-large city councilor, I proved him wrong as any oldest daughter of an Arab would want to do. But I'm very proud of the work that I've accomplished. And, you know, I'm very proud of my history and my heritage and my name. And I'm excited to work to lead this city and to be elected to lead this city as its next mayor."
This segment aired on January 28, 2021.