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In District 7 City Council race, an incumbent faces off with a familiar name on the ballot

Sitting councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson will compete with longtime candidate Althea Garrison in the Nov. 7 election.

Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson (left) and Althea Garrison. In a race to represent District 7 on Boston's City Council, two candidates face a significant gap in funding and preliminary election voters.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/FayFoto Boston

In the Nov. 7 election for Boston City Council, incumbent Tania Fernandes Anderson and perennial candidate Althea Garrison will spar for votes in the Roxbury-based District 7.

The two candidates face a significant gap in funding — through the end of September, Fernandes Anderson reported $18,271 and Garrison reported $246 — and preliminary election voters: Fernandes Anderson received 57 percent of the votes in the Sept. 12 preliminary election and Garrison tallied 21 percent.

Both candidates declined the Globe’s request for an interview.

Fernandes Anderson, 44, immigrated to Boston from Cape Verde at the age of 10. She was elected to represent District 7 in 2021, when she became the first Muslim-American and first African immigrant elected to City Council. Before her election, Fernandes Anderson worked in social services, opened a clothing store, and served as executive director of Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets.

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Fernandes Anderson told the Globe in 2021 that housing, public safety, and climate injustices were top priorities for her in the coming years. She remains one of the council’s most outspoken progressives.

In her first term on the council, Fernandes Anderson led the body’s efforts on the budget, a process plagued this year by procedural confusion and name-calling.

She also questioned the building of affordable housing in her Roxbury-based district, where more than half of Roxbury’s housing is income-restricted. She proposed a temporary moratorium on all new development of the neighborhood’s public parcels, sparking conversation about how much affordable housing is too much.

Fernandes Anderson received an ethics violation and $5,000 fine in July for violating a state nepotism law by hiring and then giving raises to her sister and son.

Recently, Fernandes Anderson introduced a resolution to rename Faneuil Hall. The resolution was passed on Oct. 25. That same day, she voted to make it easier for police to clear tents near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard. Filed by Mayor Michelle Wu, the proposal is the latest in a series of steps to address the humanitarian crisis at the area known as Mass. and Cass.

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Garrison, 83, lives in Dorchester and served on City Council when then-councilor Ayanna Pressley was elected to Congress in 2018. Garrison served as a Massachusetts state representative in 1992 and is thought to be the first transgender person elected to a state legislature after she confirmed that she is trans in an interview with The 19th News earlier in October. She also worked for the Massachusetts State Comptroller’s Office for 34 years.

In her decades-long political career, Garrison has run for Boston City Council and Massachusetts House of Representatives as a Democrat, Republican, and an independent. She voted for former president Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election and has taken conservative stances on marriage equality.

When interviewed prior to the primary elections in September, Garrison told the Globe that Boston’s aging population and veterans are her top priorities, if elected.


Vivi Smilgius can be reached at vivi.smilgius@globe.com. Follow her @viviraye.