City Councilor Kendra Lara landed a key endorsement Saturday, as members of the Jamaica Plain Progressives voted to support her in Tuesday’s election, despite a June car crash that revealed the councilor had not held a valid driver’s license for a decade.
Lara, a self-described socialist who previously received the group’s endorsement in 2021, is facing IT director William King and labor attorney Benjamin Weber in the race for the District 6 seat, which represents Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, and Roslindale.
The JP Progressives announced their endorsement of Lara in an email Saturday, following a recommendation by the group’s steering committee last week to stick with the councilor, who represents the neighborhood she has called home for most of her life.
“We ultimately believe that Councilor Lara understands the gravity of the mistakes she made and has expressed to us appropriate remorse, and we are trusting in her commitment to making amends,” the steering committee said in a statement.
During rush hour on a Friday afternoon in June, Lara was driving on Centre Street with her 7-year-old son when she veered off the road and crashed into the side of a home.
Police said she was driving twice the speed limit and found the car she was driving was both unregistered and uninsured. Police reports also indicated she did not have a valid license, and her son, who was injured in the crash and required stitches, was not riding in a car seat.
Lara has apologized for the crash and pleaded not guilty to ensuing charges, which included negligent operation of a motor vehicle, assault and battery on a child with injury, operating a motor vehicle after suspension, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.
Her attorney has since argued for a dismissal of the case.
Last week, Lara released a report by The Crash Lab, an accident reconstructionist company that she hired, which used data from the car’s black box and concluded that Lara was driving 27 miles per hour, about half the 53 miles per hour alleged in the police report.
Lara said she had tried to avoid a car that had pulled into the road ahead of her and then had made a sharp turn to avoid an oncoming vehicle in the opposite lane before she crashed into the home.
She also disputed prosecutors’ allegations that the car she was driving was not insured. She said the car, a Honda Civic, belonged to a friend.
Though her driver’s license had been suspended since 2013, Lara said she had not been driving in the years since. She said she began driving more following her election, to get to City Hall and to drive her child to school.
The JP Progressives steering committee said Lara told them that her former husband did most of the driving in their family until they separated two years ago.
“At the end of the day, the question we are asking ourselves is whether Councilor Lara is worthy of our trust and if her transgressions are worthy of our compassion, our forgiveness, and our offered trust for another term,” the steering committee said. “We are also asking ourselves if we believe she can still be effective in her role as a City Councilor. . . . We believe the answer to these questions is yes.”
Material from previous Globe stories was used in this report.