Council hopeful Andrea Campbell says Mattapan was always home
City Councilor Charles C. Yancey has repeatedly suggested that his opponent, Andrea Joy Campbell, is a carpetbagger who recently moved to Mattapan just to run for his seat. During a radio debate last week, Yancey emphasized he was “someone who has been around not just the past year.”
Yancey’s attack on Campbell’s residency is an exaggeration, according to a Globe review of public documents. But records show that Campbell may not have lived as long as she has suggested in District 4, which covers Mattapan, several sections of Dorchester, and slices of Roslindale and Jamaica Plain.
Campbell said on the radio and told The Boston Globe that she has “called Mattapan home for a decade.” In her closing remarks during the debate on Boston Praise Radio, she went a step further and said she had “lived in Mattapan for the last 10 years.”
Records show that in March 2012, she registered to vote in Stoneham, a town roughly 20 miles north of Mattapan. She voted in the 2012 presidential election in Stoneham, according to the town clerk’s office.
Boston records show that July 2013 was the first time she registered to vote at her current address on River Street in Mattapan. Before moving to Stoneham, Campbell had been registered since 2003 at an address on West Springfield Street in Boston’s South End.
Boston bylaws require candidates to live in a district for a year before running for a district City Council seat. Campbell qualifies because voter registration records have her living in Mattapan for more than two years.
Campbell decisively beat Yancey in September’s preliminary election. The 32-year incumbent is fighting for his political life in the final election Tuesday.
When the Globe asked Campbell how long she had lived in District 4, she offered a nuanced response.
“I’ve called it home for 10 years, but I left to go to law school but came back and was living here during breaks and summers,” Campbell said. “My room is at my parents’ house in Mattapan.”
In a follow-up interview, the Globe asked Campbell about voter registration records. Property records also showed her living in New York. Campbell said she always considered Mattapan her home, even when she lived elsewhere.
“I push back on my opponent when he says I’ve only been living here one year,” Campbell said. “I’ve lived in this district longer, much longer, than that, including at my current address for 2½ years.”
Her biological parents died, and Campbell said she lived with an aunt and uncle she refers to as her parents. They live on Groveland Street in Mattapan in a house that Campbell said she has always considered home. The city does not have a record of her being registered to vote at that address.
After attending Princeton University, Campbell said, she lived in Manhattan for roughly 18 months but frequently came home to Groveland Street. She then moved to Los Angeles for law school, from late 2005 until 2009, she said, but spent most breaks and summers in Mattapan.
Campbell said that in 2012 she split her time between her boyfriend’s home in Stoneham and Mattapan. In the summer of 2013, the couple moved to River Street, she said. They plan to marry after the election.
“What the voters care about is where do you live now,” Campbell said. “I live in Mattapan. We’re going to marry in Mattapan, and have kids in Mattapan.”