Politics

What Boston voters had to say about Tuesday’s historic preliminary election

"We’re finally opening minds en masse to making full use of the talented population we have and it’s paying off with people who have the life experiences to steer cities, states, and maybe the country more wisely."

Candidate signs take over a street corner outside of St. Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church in Roslindale, where residents have begun to vote early ahead of the preliminary election. Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Democracy. Climate. Diversity. Transit. Development.

These are just a few things that motivated Boston residents to vote in Tuesday’s historic preliminary election. 

Voters across the city turned out to winnow down which candidates should lead Boston for the next term, as mayor and city councilor. The mayoral race, especially, has been hotly contested, and most voters reported they especially wanted to cast their ballot in that race.

BOSTON PRELIMINARY ELECTION

Nathan, a scientist living in Allston/Brighton, believes important change starts at the local level, and was excited to cast his vote in the at-large and mayoral races especially. He voted for Michelle Wu for mayor, and Carlo Montero and Ruthzee Louijeune for council.

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“The [big issues] include things like allocation of resources away from conventional policing and towards broader ways to sustain healthy communities,” he said. “Calling on police to do less and summoning more societal resources to do the things they often get tangled up in. Also, housing — rent policies, taxation policies, putting communities first before businesses that may plunder communities.”

He knows this is a historically diverse race, and was excited to participate.

“I think at a local scale, in parts of the country, we’re finally opening minds en masse to making full use of the talented population we have and it’s paying off with people who have the life experiences to steer cities, states, and maybe the country more wisely,” he said. 

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Julia, a nurse living in Charlestown, said she wants to see a leader who can manage the ongoing pandemic. She voted for Wu, who she also hopes will address the housing crisis and climate change, and even make composting more accessible in Boston.

“I liked that she was in favor of vaccine passports and for safe injection sites — I see a lot of that substance abuse in healthcare,” she said.

Marlene, a retired Boston Public Schools employee, voted for Annissa Essaibi George. She said her grandmother, who couldn’t vote, always instilled the importance of voting in her.

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“[Essaibi George] backs the police, and I like that,” she said. “There’s no controversy with her, and as a teacher she knows how to reach people. A teacher has many hats, and she has worn them all, and I think she’s well suited for the job — it’s about time a teacher took over.”

Nat, a worker in the healthcare industry, believes voting, period, is important, but he wanted to cast his ballot for Wu. 

“The mayoral race had interesting and good candidates, but I wanted to make sure mine won,” he said. “Historically she’s been active and present in a lot of the fields I care about, mainly transit and making sure Boston is a liveable place for not just young professionals and college students.”

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Jack, who works in higher education, cast his ballot for Andrea Campbell. He believes inequality — in education, housing, and climate justice — is the most pressing issue facing Boston.

“I thought [Campbell] had the most passion for social justice,” he said. “It’s great having a Black female mayor now, especially in Boston, and I’m looking forward to having some positive change in the city.”

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