Boston Mayoral Debate 2021 : Annissa George Outperforms in the first debate, Wu Underperforms

Boston Mayoral Debate 2021: Annissa George has probably Outperformed beyond expectations in the first debate while Wu Underperformed

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The first Boston Mayoral Debate 2021 was completed on the 8th of September Boston Time (EDT) and was sponsored by NBC10 Boston, Telemundo Boston(which will provide a spanish translation) and NECN.

Boston Mayoral Debate 2021: Who won the first debate?

According to Google Search data, Michelle Wu underperformed in the First debate while Annissa George outperformed

Boston Mayoral Debate 2021 : Annissa George Outperforms in the first debate, Wu Underperforms

The second Boston Mayoral Debate 2021 is scheduled at 7 PM tonight, 9th September Boston Time (EDT) T Today, it will be hosted by WBUR, The Boston Globe and WCVB that will air on radio and stream live online. It will repeat the same set of candidates as of yesterday.

Both Boston Mayoral Debates will have the five major candidates attending and squaring off against each other-

  • Acting Mayor Kim Janey
  • City Councillor and frontrunner in polls Michelle Wu
  • City Councillor Andrea Campbell
  • City Councillor Annissa Essaibi George and
  • John Barros, the city’s former economic development chief

Boston Mayoral Debate 2021: Second Debate Observations

The last debate wis over.
The topics of this debate was similar to the first one, – Education,Housing,Climate change,Busing and substance abuse.

The debate plan of each candidate was similar to the previous one. Not many fireworks,lot of emphasis on platitudes,campaign lines

Andrea Campbell made it a point every time she got the chance to say that she was the first to come up with a plan or the only one with a plan. She was more focussed on advancing her positive agenda than behing negative or going on the attack even when she had the chance to do so.

Kim Janey did her best to defend her record, though she did take the chance to strike and give one jab to Essaibi Geroge regarding the eviction moratorium.

Michelle Wu played it safe just like last time.

John Barros did make a good impression, but it could be too late for him.

One interesting point is this debate had more ‘agreeing’ among the candidates(except Michelle Wu) for lack of a better term. Either they agreed or praised with one candidate on one issue/point/ past work they had done .
For ex:- John Barros on anti-gentrification received praise from Essaibi George and Kim Janey

Could this be an attempt to seek support from those candidates if one of htem makes it to the second round ?

Boston Mayoral Debate 2021: Second Debate Live Commentary

This second debate is the LAST chance the candidates have to make their case before the people of Boston on why the people should choose and vote for them, yesterday’s debate was fairly low -key .

As of now Michelle Wu is the clear frontrunner with the second spot in the middle of a fierce fight between the other 3 major candidates, John Barros is fighting a battle to gain relevance and resurrect his campaign.

Boston Mayoral Race Polls 2021: Second Debate to start at 7 PM today

Follow this space for Live Commentary and our thoughts on the second Boston Mayoral Debate 2021

7:56 PM: Candidates give closing statements. Debate ends

7:53 PM: Rapid Fire Question Round.
John Barros ,what do you think the policy should be regarding admission to Boston’s exam schools? Equity or Merit
He says it’s important they have a clear and fair process for admission. there must be more diversity,more black and brown students, more opportunity

Andrea Campbell: This is the wrong question, we should focus on improving all of our high schools,not just the exam schools. We need more than one Madison Park. As mayor, I will change the whole conversation

Essaibi George: I am the only candidate who has been consistent in a committment to have exams for admission to the three schools, she invokes her experience as a teacher in the classroom and working with students

Kim Janey: I agree with those things as well(refering to Essaibi George’s proposals), calls for more inclusion in the exam schools and calls for giving the new policy a chance

Michelle Wu: Invokes her past experiences with the schools as a housewife and elder sister to her siblings.Calls for equity in the district. And a test that takes into account BPS standards and socio-economic differences among students. This conversation should be of disparities between every district

Question :Give a Grade to Boston Public School Superintendent Brenda Cassellius
Michelle Wu: C
Kim Janey: B+ ,her tenure has been marked by Covid-19 an unpredecedented challenge
Essaibi-George:C , 57% of kids getting to school on time is not good, it’s not the grade she expects her kids to bring home
Andrea Campbell: D , because of the calls she had to take this morning from anxious parents waiting for buses
John Baross: Doesn’t answer, but says the Superintendent is an an “untenable” situation and calls for a 4 Billion $ investment in quality schools and a busing system.
Says the 4 Billion $ can come from green bonds, social justice bonds. The city has a AAA rating which he says he is proud of and can afford to take the debt to pay for it

7:50 PM: Question is to Andrea Campbell, about an anti Campbell radio ad by a pro-Janey PAC which she found unfair. Moderator further goes on to ask whether she feels there should be more charter schools in the state?

Campbell responds that is the state’s responsibility not the mayor of boston. She says her responsibility is improving Boston’s public schools and goes to say that she is the only candidate who has studied in the city’s public schools. She says the system worked for her but not her late brother Andre.
Surprisingly she didn’t take this opportunity to atttack Kim Janey

7:46 PM Question is about education to Kim Janey, does she take responsibility for not sorting out the school bus driver shortage on time

Janey Responded by saying all the bus routes were covered, 57% was the on time arrival. A number which was higher than the 5 year average and even last years. She further went on to boost of an 80% attendance. She called this a milestone which they achieved in the middle of a pandemic

7:39 PM Question is how can candidates work to make sure crime doesn’t plague Boston like it is prevalent in cities with many Black/brown people

John Barros says to address crime is to address poverty, trauma, and the lack of educational and job opportunities. Mentions the good work he did under the Walsh administration to create jobs and opportunities and to make people financially capable to help their families

Andrea Campbell says she has been the chair of the committee of Public Safety and Criminal justice for the last 6 years on the city council is the only candidate pushing to make her department more accountable and transparent.
Mentions her plan which will build upon her leadership and that police alone can’t solve this problem, talks of redirecting millions to target mental health and trauma

Essaibi George says we have to make crime non-existent. says it is also about safety, economic opportunity, housing and re-entry, food security and trauma services. talks of helping the Boston police department work with communities.

Kim Janey says she agrees with much of what she has said here, mentions her achievements in solving and bringing down crime in the last 6 months of her administration

7:36 PM Question to Kim Janey about how the city can make housing more affordable and equitable. She mentions this is a package and the problem has no one silver bullet and that this crisis existed before Covid-19.

She agrees with Essaibi George on the need to do more to solve this problem and talks of working with development teams who want to carry out more development without displacement,with civic groups,with state partners and that the cost to build is very high and to make sure the city grows and that there should be a pipeline to jobs

7:32 PM Question to Michelle Wu about her support for rent control and what she says to people who believe it doesn’t work like John Barros who wrote an article.

She mentions how black Bostonians are leaving the city, she says the rest of the field isn’t moving with a sense of urgency on this multi-layered housing problem and that she is moving to solve the displacement problem.

John Barros says Wu is right about the problem but hasn’t talked now about why rent control would not work. He says rent control would create a greater shortage of housing and would make the issue worse.

Anna Essaibi George when questioned on how Boston can build more housing and how climate change will affect Boston, she mentions her efforts to build the city against climate change and talks of lack of tree canopy. She says she is the only person on the podium to endorse Senator Markey in his re-election in 2020.
She talks of creating more pathways to help increase homeownership.

When asked a follow up on tree canopy,she says we plant trees that’s it and that a mayor needs to think about long term and short term action

7:28 PM The Question is about successful anti-gentrification efforts
John Barros immediately chimes in and mentioned the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative land trust he used to lead which had residents in the lead of the landing process, goes into detail about his model.

Andrea Campbell says Barros is right,they need to invest more in community land trust, investing in city own lands and homeownership opportunities to evade displacement and rising rents.

Michelle Wu says we need to look at examples in Boston to solve this problem and mentions her housing plan works perfectly for this and mentions her support for rent stabilization.

Kim Janey says she applauds John Barros for the good work she has done, says her family couldn’t hold on their home years ago due to gentrification and mentions the work she has done but nothing specific on this issue

7:23 PM: Question is about the Eviction Moratorium which mayor Janey set up and whether anyone disagrees with that policy.
Anna Essaibi George says she disagrees with the policy and that it’s a band-aid over a bullet hole and that families need resources and the office of housing stability has them.

Kim Janey says we can’t have the moratorium forever, mentions she has invested 50 million $ in rental relief and 5 million $ in a foreclosure preventive fund. Attacks Anna essaibi George saying she benefits from a company that she benefits from a company that routinely evicts tenants throughout the city (i.e. her husband)
She repeats her office works with tenants and landlords to resolve their issues.

Essaibi George says it’s interesting Kim Janey brought up her family in this and she is looking to work out for the city, Kim Janey immediately retorts she did NOT mention family.

Andrea Campbell interjects says she was the first to call for an eviction moratorium and that evictions hurt People of color more. Says the city of Boston should be doing more to distribute resources.

John Barros says the city is not getting the relief out enough, he emphasizes people think the moratorium means they don’t have to pay rent which is wrong. They still owe rent which adds up, a moratorium alone won’t make it

7:19 PM: Question to Michelle Wu about her plan for Mass and Cass and where she will find the money to implement her plan

She says we need to tell the truth above what’s happening there so far, she says that 250 Million Dollars is what she is willing to spend to build supportive housing in the area and mentions her endorsement from Suffex county sheriff Steve Tompkins on how to plug these these problems.

The question is to John Barros who is asked if his plan to decentralize wouldn’t make the problem worse, he says they need a plan in 3 different phases. And that a mayor he would put up a multi-disciplinary team to work on the ground 24/7 to solve this problem and that political officials on the table are failing the people on the streets today about saying one thing one day and another thing the next
Attacks Michelle Wu and Janey by name

Michelle Wu retorts she is promising to deliver change in the 4-year term as mayor and direct funding where we urgently need it and not for something like the bridge for way off in the future

7:14 PM: A question about homelessness and drug use about Mass and Cass. is asked to Michelle Wu, she is asked how she will help people with substance abuse and allay concerns of people who feel such services are too concentrated in their neighborhood.

She says she has walked through that area several times and she says people have believed that the government has abandoned them. Talks of expanding treatment across the city, getting to root causes of public health and housing crisis. She blames the lack of housing for creating this cyclical crisis.
She says the govt. is poor at resources in that area and we need to have a plan with accountability to fit in with a larger city-wide and regional plan

Question to Kim Janey about Mass and Cass too.
She says there are individuals who need health and support to fight substance abuse, she says she spoke with the governor who says we need to have a regional approach to tackle this and too much burden is falling on the city of Boston

Andrea Campbell: tried to frame the issues that others had action over but failed to do nothing, she says she was shocked when she first visited that area as a councilor. She was the first to come up with a plan to solve the problems of Mass and Cass

Essaibi George retorts to Campbell’s accusation that nobody did anything saying that she started a committee in 2016 that brought together working officials, state officials and govt. agencies that did good work in Mass and Cass and that Kim Janey dismantled that body as Council President

Kim Janey said she only brought all the various health committees around and brought them together to form one common committee and that a city council committee is not enough to solve this problem

7:11 PM: The question is to Andrea Campbell , should it be up to individual businesses whether they want to mandate vaccines for their employees or not

she agrees with such businesses, this is a community crisis, a public health crisis and is about saving lives. There must be a collective responsibility to save lives. SHe praises Marty Walsh for the way he handled the Pandemic

7:09 PM” The question is to John Barros who is asked whether he supports making vaccines mandatory for students to attend schools and what he would say to parents reluctant to get their students vaccinated
He says vaccines should be mandated in public places like schools but there might be medical exemptions for which there must be consistent testing.,but these must be the exceptions not the norm.
And that students must be vaccinated to keep them safe and other children too and he says they must improve facilities so that schools can have warm water which they don’t have

7:07 PM The question is to Andrea Campbell, she is asked why her district, Mattapan lags so far behind the rest of the city
She says that she was the first to push for mask mandates and that Boston should follow what NYC does to ensure more people get vaccinated- vaccine passports, cash incentives. She says this would lead to an uptick in vaccinations if Boston did the same and even her district

7: 05 PM The second question is to Michelle Wu, she is asked to question about why she supports vaccine requirements for any indoor activities unlike mayor Janey who opposes it.

She says there is no clear leadership/directives from the government

7:04 PM : The first question is to Kim Janey, as Acting mayor she has required all city employees to be vaccinated or regularly tested, but have resisted vaccine passports for the general population.
Why do you prioritize masks over vaccines?

She says she has lead with vaccine access,education and equity, and has invested 3 million dollars in vaccine equity grant, she says that if the data indicates she should do more w.r.t vaccines, she will do it it.

Boston Mayoral Debate 2021: First Debate Summary

This was a low-key debate. Nothing controversial was said by any candidate, they basically stuck to their policies,their plans for the city, basic talking points and their past experiences. Kim Janey was under attack by everyone except Michelle Wu due to being the incumbent. But she successfully held out and didn’t falter. Her housing retort was a good comeback.

Michelle Wu was nice and didn’t attack anyone, just stuck to her message and plans. John Barros did a good job in the debate relative to his performance in the polls, but he didn’t get the viral moment he needed to make the impact

Andrea Campbell and Essaibi George tried to bring attention to their past work as councillors and as a teacher (Essaibi george)

Boston Mayoral Debate 2021: First Debate Live Commentary

Analysis: Previewing NBC10 Boston’s Mayoral Debate Wednesday
This debate is just the opportunity for the trailing candidates to cement themselves in second if not first place. Early voting has already begun, the number of voters left to convince to change their votes is slowly coming down

Follow this space for our Live Commentary on the first Boston Mayoral Debate 2021

7:55 PM
Closing Statements
Each candidate has 30 seconds
Michelle Wu, followed by Kim Janey, then Andrea Campbell, John Barros and Annissa Essaibi George

7:53 PM

Rapid-fire round begins
Barros: Barros said who he would vote for other than himself, he answers his wife

Janey: Says we need workers to come back, talks of attracting people back to the city in more creative ways but have to recognize that Work From Home has changed everything

All candidates raise hands and say they are vaccinated when asked

Kim Janey and Andrea Campbell raise hands when asked who has entered a pot shop in the past

7:46 PM
The question is where do you stand on defunding the police

Andrea Campbell starts: says police dept. needs to be most transparent in the nation, says she showed up in court to implement body cam cameras, claims she has the most specific plan, talks of community policing

Kim Janey: Says things are better in her 6 months and she is re-imagining policing in the city, says she has experienced gun violence in the past

John Barros: Says Kim Janey has no plan, and she is quoting data on what the Walsh administration did

Kim Janey responds says she has mentioned her plan in public before, says the data is under her administration only.
Anchor mentions couldn’t the pandemic have an effect on those numbers as 20-21 was pandemic time, no response.

Michelle Wu: Says Boston needs a wholesale new approach in the police and new work culture, talks of more accountability and transparency

Annissa interjects when anchor almost moves to next question: Reminds of her past actions and achievements in the city council, she says she will not defund the public safety in the city

7:39 PM
The question is about how candidates will keep Black Families in Boston who find the city too expensive and don’t want to leave but have to leave

Kim Janey: Mentions her past in subsidized housing and shelters, says she invested 50 million $ in rental relief which helps 34,000 households, and how she is investing in foreclosure prevention and got an eviction moratorium

Essaibi George: talks of eliminating disparities between racial groups and investing one million dollars in housing, talks of investing in the transit system, education system and creating ownership opportunities

Campbell: says her housing plan is specific, creating housing for veterans and seniors, her first piece for legislation will be to invest 20 million$ every year to create affordable housing

Kim Janey interjects: says she was invited by the white house to mention how Boston is a model for affordable housing and has done to stabilize it,covid has made this issue worse

Wu interjects when anchor nearly moves on: most urgent issue, 2/3rd of residents are renters. Talks of rent stabilization to help residents

7:31 PM: Question is about ‘Mass and Cass.’ and housing
Andrea Campbell: drugs is the other public health crisis of Boston, her personal experiences, the first candidate to put up a plan to target this issue in January

Kim Janey: says this about needs of individuals and perspectives, mentions how her uncles was found dead with needles in the arm in 80s, COVID has made this issue worse, her team is working hard on it , talks of regional approach and decentralization

Essaibi George: mentions about she worked with community-based orgs to tackle this, attacks Kim Janey of shutting down e homelessness and mental health committee she used to chair which was working on this , talks of decentralizing services for people looking for recovery, says city isn’t working properly on this

John Barros: A complex issue which needs leadership, says engagement center there shouldn’t have been closed, talks of a multi-disciplinary 24 hour team with personalized services for people. Says that if current elected officials aren’t handling this worsening area, then we need better officials.

Michelle Wu: The situation is unacceptable and needs to put action in it, says funding, energy and action must go to something that will work, within 100 days she will look at every building and create supportive housing

7:26 PM : Question about Climate change, about how to make city more resilient against climate change
Essaibi Geroge speaks first talks about handling sea level rise and tree canopy

Michelle wu talks of climate and social justice and the floods affecting New York, mentions that EVERY climate group has endorsed her

John Barros mentions city needs way more to protect Seaport/Fort Point Channel or else we can say bye-bye to South End and Chinatown. He said how Biden’s infra. bill is a good once in a lifetime opportunity for the city

7:23 PM: Wu has mentioned she is a mom multiple times now, and mentions her long term vision for education

Annisa Essaibi George mentions she is a teacher

Barros draws on time in Walsh admin and experience.

Janey touts work she’s done as acting mayor.

Campbell draws on personal experiences and how system failed her brother andre

7:21 PM: Debate is about education now, Question 4 addresses public school funding
Michelle Wu give her 4 part plan

Essaibi George speaks and gives her plan

John Barros says essaibi George has read his plan on his website and repeated it

Kim Janey talks of systemic challenges and says she has spent 30 million dollars on public schools

7:15 PM: Third Question over school bus drivers issues
Barros takes first blow at Kim Janey over schools and bus drivers . He claims parents tell him that they are not confident about school opening tomorrow. They don’t know what’s going on.

Second Question : If FDA authorizes vax for kids, would you still require masks in schools?
Barros: Yes
Wu: Yes
Janey: Yes
Essaibi George: The masks aren’t coming off this school year, Yes

7:05 PM: Opening statements by Michelle Wu, followed by Andrea Campbell, Essaibi George,John Barros and ending with acting mayor Kim Janey.

Each candidate has been asked to grade City’s covid response.
Wu- C+
Campbell-D ,says Boston should do more,wants NYC-style vax passports
Essaibi George-C
Barros- B
Janey – A-

6:55 PM: Debate starts in 5 minutes

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