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Former Massachusetts first lady endorses Andrea Campbell in race for Boston mayor

Former Massachusetts First Lady Diane Patrick called Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell a “compassionate and compelling leader who is ready to lead the city of Boston at this critical moment for our Commonwealth and our country.”Jonathan Wiggs

Diane Patrick, a former first lady of Massachusetts, has endorsed Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell’s campaign for mayor.

Patrick, a senior partner at Ropes and Gray, called Campbell a “compassionate and compelling leader who is ready to lead the city of Boston at this critical moment for our Commonwealth and our country.”

Patrick said she saw Campbell’s commitment to equity and justice firsthand when the candidate worked as deputy legal counsel for her husband, governor Deval Patrick, during his second term.

“She has the courage, the skills, and the unique lived experience to fight for and build an equitable future for all Bostonians,” Patrick said in her statement.


Campbell, a district city councilor from Mattapan, told the Globe: “I am beyond humbled and proud and thrilled to have her public endorsement in this race.”

She said she first knew Patrick as a mentor to younger lawyers and a champion for equity justice, public health, and mental health.

Patrick was an employment attorney whose early months in the limelight as a political wife sank her into a depression. She later became an advocate for destigmatizing mental health issues. She also began to use her public platform to advocate for domestic violence prevention, speaking openly about her personal experience in a previous marriage.

In a statement, Campbell called Patrick “an inspiration to me as someone who has demonstrated the importance of sharing our stories even when they’re painful.”

“She knows that to truly confront and eradicate the inequities and systemic racism in our city, we need to elect leaders who have experienced them first-hand, and to empower people who have been most impacted,” Campbell said.

Campbell, whose father was incarcerated and mother died when she was a baby, likewise uses her life story to inform her public stances and to combat stigma. She graduated from Boston Latin, Princeton University, and the UCLA School of Law. Her twin brother cycled in and out of the criminal justice system and died in jail. Another brother was accused of a string of rapes in Boston.


Campbell says she’s running to bring Boston together to break cycles of inequity and injustice, and to give every Bostonian a chance to succeed.

The endorsement announcement comes as Campbell releases a public health plan centered on racial equity, including expanding access to mental health services and addressing violence and trauma from racism, poverty, gun violence, domestic violence, homophobia, and transphobia.

Her plan calls for modernizing the city’s public health department and holding it accountable to “change the narrative on inequities,” while highlighting dramatic disparities: The rate of premature death for Black residents was 31 percent higher than for white residents, the Boston Public Health Commission reported in 2015. During the same time period, the infant mortality rate was 8.1 per 1,000 live births for Black infants, compared to 1.7 for white infants.

“It is unacceptable that the city of Boston continues to have these persistent inequities in health and this is our moment in time to change it,” Campbell said.

The councilor said she is also in conversation with Deval Patrick and that “of course, it would be an incredible honor to earn his support in this race.” The former governor was a political newcomer when he announced his campaign in 2005 but built a massive grassroots organization.


The race for mayor also features Councilor-at-Large Michelle Wu, who has won the endorsement of US Senator Elizabeth Warren. Several other councilors and potential contenders are expected to enter the race, if Mayor Martin J. Walsh is confirmed as President Biden’s labor secretary.

Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at Stephanie.Ebbert@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @StephanieEbbert.