The field for Boston’s mayoral race is nearly set, with the deadline for submitting a statement of candidacy passing on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Seventeen people have signed up to run. They must submit at least 3,000 signatures from registered voters by May 18 to qualify to get their names on the ballot for the Sept. 21 preliminary municipal election.
Six leading candidates have emerged, resulting in an election where Boston will, for the first time, choose a mayor who isn’t a white man. Here’s what you need to know about each of the leading contenders.
Former Boston chief of economic development
Barros, who served as the city’s chief of economic development for the past seven years under former Mayor Martin J. Walsh, has said he has the experience and skillset to help Boston respond, recover, and reopen after the pandemic.
A son of Cape Verdean immigrants who grew up in Roxbury, Barros has said he plans to prioritize climate change, equity and inclusion, particularly around affordable housing, and support for schools.
Barros ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2013. He officially joined this year’s race in March.
Boston city councilor
Campbell is running on a promise to fight for a more equitable city that must address its history of racism. Having lived in public housing and in foster care, and having family members struggle with addiction and the criminal justice system, Campbell has said her firsthand experience with the reality of growing up poor in Boston means she’s uniquely equipped to tackle the city’s structural inequities.
Campbell was first elected to council in 2015, and became the first Black woman to serve as City Council president. A Princeton and UCLA Law School graduate, she has long for called for police reforms, and recently has called attention to the inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boston city councilor
Essaibi-George, a public school teacher for 13 years before she was elected to the city council in 2015, is viewed as a more centrist voice on a council that has become increasingly progressive.
Though she has said Boston’s next mayor must put Walsh’s police reforms “into practice in a meaningful way,” she has also spoken about the importance of supporting police officers.
Essaibi-George identifies as Arab-American and says her experiences as a mother, educator, small business owner, and Dorchester native will help her bring the city into an “eventual rebirth” from the COVID-19 crisis.
Acting Boston mayor
Janey was in her second term as councilor and serving as the body’s president when she took on the role of acting mayor in March after Walsh left to head the US Labor Department. She became Boston’s first Black mayor as well as its and first woman mayor, and officially joined the race to take the job full-term in April.
Janey, who belongs to a large and well-known Roxbury family, has campaigned for reimaging policing in the city and supporting more equitable distribution of vaccines and economic assistance for the most vulnerable communities.
Janey is now a qualified candidate, meaning she submitted enough signatures to get on the ballot.
Santiago, an emergency room doctor and second-term state representative, has pitched himself as having the right combination of experience to help Boston recover from the pandemic.
Having worked overnights at the Boston Medical Center’s emergency department, Santiago said he understands the devastation brought on by the COVID-19 crisis and the inequities it exposed.
He was elected to office in 2018 on a promise to help the state address a separate health crisis — the opioid epidemic.
Boston city councilor
Wu, the first woman of color to serve as Boston’s city council president, was the first candidate to jump into the race last September (and like Campbell, before it was known Walsh would not run for re-election) promising to lead the city through a reckoning on race and policing, the COVID-19 crisis and the widening gap between the city’s rich and poor.
Wu has called for protecting affordable housing in Boston and for public transit reform, and has criticized Walsh’s administration over multiple policy points, including its handling of policing, the opioid crisis, and the inequities exacerbated by COVID-19. She says she can be the one to unite communities across Boston to bring change.
Wu was first to become a qualified candidate, meaning she submitted enough signatures to get on the ballot.