Four of Bill Linehan’s colleagues on the Boston City Council have endorsed his challenger, Suzanne Lee, in the hotly contested race to represent District 2, which includes South Boston and Chinatown.
Tito Jackson, the District 7 councilor; Ayanna Pressley, an at-large councilor seeking a third term; and former mayoral candidates Michael Ross and Felix Arroyo are all backing Lee.
In supporting Lee over Linehan, the councilors highlighted her innovative leadership in education and community activism, and her track record as someone who can unify people.
Ross hailed Lee’s experience as a former teacher and principal of a turnaround school that serves at-risk students, saying she has “an inclusive approach” that would work well on the council. “Suzanne Lee has been committed to strengthening her community for all residents through a lifetime of public service,’’ Ross said Tuesday. “I am proud to support her.”
But a defiant Linehan fired back at his colleagues, saying their endorsement says more about them than it does about him. He said he stands up for what his constituents believe in, and will continue to fight for their causes.
“I think that riles some of my colleagues in the City Council,’’ Linehan said in a statement. “They want someone who they can steamroll and that will never be me. Their endorsement of my opponent tells me that I’m doing my job the right way.’’
Lee’s campaign has painted the endorsements as a major coup in her second bid to unseat Linehan, who has held the post for six years. Two years ago, Lee lost by only 97 votes for the district that also includes the South End, Beacon Hill, Bay Village, and downtown.
Linehan has been trying to secure his seat by getting the word out about his achievements on the council.
Lee did not address Linehan’s take on the endorsement, but hailed the councilors’ backing as proof of her advocacy and community work. “I am very humbled and very respectful of their work and the fact that they think I would make a great city councilor,” she said.
Jackson insisted that he is supporting Lee and not opposing Linehan. He said her impressive credentials as an educator would fill a void on the council, particularly around education issues.
“She is a well-regarded educator,’’ Jackson said. “I believe Suzanne Lee would be a uniter that would bring Chinatown and South Boston and the South End together. I also believe that a City Council should be reflective of the diversity that we see in the city. I think she is a strong reflection of that.”
- MEGHAN E. IRONS
Former state representative Mel King endorses Walsh
Noted South End civil rights activist and former state representative Mel King said late Tuesday that he is supporting Martin J. Walsh’s bid for mayor.
King, who ran for mayor in 1983, is the only person of color in city history to make it into the final election.
When asked why he is supporting Walsh, King said, “Change.” And why Walsh, a state representative, over his opponent, Councilor John R. Connolly? “It’s not a between,” King said. “It’s a decision about a direction to find the possibility represented in his work and his life and issues.”
- AKILAH JOHNSON
District 7 contenders debate ways to improve Roxbury
Incumbent Tito Jackson squared off Monday night against challengers for his District 7 City Council seat, Jamarhl Crawford and Roy Owens, at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury. Their discussion centered on how to improve the neighborhood.
Jackson, who won the seat in a special election in 2011, said he wanted to build upon the work he has done.
“I’ve worked to make sure our community has representation relative to jobs and economic development,” Jackson said. “I’ve also worked very hard around issues of public safety, hosting many peace rallies around the community and a subcommittee at the City Council on gun violence, to make our community safer.”
Crawford, a community activist who is mounting a write-in campaign, said the neighborhood needs stronger leadership. “We’re in a very critical time in our community,” Crawford said.
“We’re doing the worst out of all the neighborhoods; we’re in most need of services, and we get the least.”
Owens said greater attention needs to be paid to the community’s churches.
“Unless you involve the church, you’re never going to solve the problem of crime,” Owens said. “We don’t need more police, we need more faith-based participation.”
- PATRICK D. ROSSO