City Councilor Michelle Wu has become Boston’s first female and person of color to be elected as mayor.
Wu, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan broke a 199-year streak of white male city leaders as she defeated fellow Democratic City Councillor, Annissa Essaibi George, an Arab-Polish American who was born and raised in the city.
The contest between the two candidates marked a turning point in Boston politics, which has a history of troubled racial tensions and forced integration.
It also reflected an increasingly diverse city where Black, Latino and Asian residents now make up more than half of the population and the white groups continue to shrink.
For many, the race came down to competing visions of the future with Essaibi George’s version cast as more of the old guard and Wu’s perceived as new-school Boston.
Wu moved to the city from Chicago. She attended Harvard University and Harvard Law School. Since her election to the city council in 2013, Wu has become a darling of the progressive wing of the party.
Throughout the campaign, she championed climate change policies in line with the Green New Deal, rent control and rent stabilisation, which was narrowly voted down in the mid-1990s, eliminating fares on the metropolitan area’s public transit system, and abolishing the Boston Planning and Development Agency, arguing that it’s time to “empower a planning dept to create a master plan for updated zoning and clear, consistent rules.”
Essaibi George on the other hand, emphasized her family roots in the city and ran on a more moderate platform.
She opposed Wu’s rent control ideas and vowed to overhaul the city’s police department by adding more officers who will reflect the changing demographics and boost resources.