The winner of Jamaica Plain’s Senator Sonia Chan Diaz’s succession race will cede a high-profile seat, fail to run for governor, and inherit more than Beacon Hill’s desk.
Rep. Nika Elgard and Rep. Liz Miranda, former Sen. Diane Wilkerson, Reverend Minniard Culpepper, and Rep. James Grant not only represent the Boston districts of Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and Matapan, but also Massachusetts. We fight to defend the hopes and aspirations of people of color throughout the state.
Pastor Kevin Peterson of the New Democracy Coalition Last summer called the Senate seat “It’s the most important political district for the black community in this Commonwealth.”
Seats are “a vehicle for communities to gain political capacity through funding and policy, and who represents a district as a senator is critical to its mandate to influence black lives in the state,” Peter said. When the seats in the state legislature were reorganized last year, Peterson was among the activists who pushed for new boundaries that reunited the heart of Boston’s black community into a single Senate district. did.
All five candidates vying for the Second Suffolk Senate seat are black. A church deacon, Grant has minimal campaigning, and his field is otherwise loosely divided along generation lines.
Wilkerson, who held the seat for 15 years before resigning in 2008 following a bribery conviction, and Culpepper, who recently retired after 27 years at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, brought it to the district. He said he has experience. needs.
Elgardo and Miranda, in their 40s and second-term state legislators, are embodying themselves as part of Beacon Hill’s new wave of leaders, bringing the voice of the community to the Capitol.
“You don’t have to be someone in a suit with a pin, a fancy pin, only in the State Capitol working on politics and legislation,” Miranda said. I think that’s what people are voting for in this election: people who pay attention to them, who work with them, who work with them and who continue to deliver results.”
Miranda circled the corner from the campaign office and stopped at a nearby mosque, the Masjid al-Quran, to inquire about the Imam and see when she would return to visit. After chatting with her for a while, the man at her door, Khalid Mustafa, told her:
“Yes, my goodness! I didn’t recognize you in the mask,” Miranda replied. “Brother, how are you?”
Miranda wrote to the state parole board, Support Mustafa’s bid Ending parole after 30 years. Now he told her he was delighted with her endorsement — and she got him in her Senate race.
Miranda has been in the House of Representatives since claiming a vacancy in 2018 after deciding to run after her brother’s shooting.
Elgardo was elected for the first time that year in the Democratic primary, defeating Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for the budget process.
“People are excited about the different ways we do things — how we not only get funding, but participate in joint drafting of legislation,” she said. She added: When no one else stands with you or me.
About three weeks before primary school, a group of high school students, black girls exploring various career paths, met with Elgardo to learn about running for public office. She encouraged them to brainstorm campaign gists—issues they cared about.
Elgardo listed his concerns on a large piece of paper taped to the wall, jotting down his children’s growth, opportunities to pursue their dreams, and freedom. In response to the prompt “where are you from” she wrote “ghetto”. The word is her favorite, she said, because it symbolizes her strength and resilience.
She told the group that she grew up with parents who battled addiction but are now recovering and moved frequently due to housing instability.As an adult, she built community leadership. She said she worked hard to
Culpepper is the senior pastor of Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Dorchester. Prayed for Senator Elizabeth Warren Ahead of the 2020 presidential debates. Calling himself a “housing candidate,” he focuses on the problems felt acutely in neighborhoods grappling with rising house prices and the displacement they cause.
“We are in the midst of a housing crisis. The housing experience made me think it was important to start working directly on gentrification,” Culpeper said one evening at his church and at Trotter Park. I said as I knocked on the door of Waumbeck Street on the corner of the Youth Peace Program.
He runs a multi-pronged housing plan calling for the rebuilding of public housing and the transfer of ownership to tenants. Unlike his rivals for seats, Culpeper has never held an elected office. He said he had other significant experiences, saying, “I’m a homebuilder,” referring to his work in the community and as an aide to former Michigan Rep. Barbara Rose Collins. points out his work.
“I’m here walking the streets with gangster kids, doing peace programs and helping them get full-time jobs. I’ll be doing the same in Beacon Hill.” I was chief of staff to one congressman, and I know what the legislative process is.”
The dynamics of the race changed with Wilkerson’s relatively last-minute entry in April. Her candidacy offers voters the question of whether they’re interested in a political comeback 12 years after she pleaded guilty to eight attempted extortion charges.
The former senator has been active in the community, most recently serving as one of the founders of the Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition, and in the 2021 mayoral election, he endorsed a black candidate to run for the city. Trying to unite black leaders.
“Besides saying what I said and apologizing for that disappointment and hurt, the only thing I know is to serve,” Wilkerson said. And we’ve come to the point where our services are not enough and we need resources to provide what this community needs right now. What is clear to me is that the current group of elected officials could not do that.”
With the state anticipating a historic budget surplus and the COVID-19 relief money yet to be spent, Wilkerson said it would take a seasoned budget to ensure districts receive a portion of the prize money. I said I needed a hand. She said it’s no coincidence that the post of Beacon Hill’s supreme leader is occupied by a legislator who has been in office for decades.
“I feel like I have to match gray hair with gray hair now,” she said.
There are no polls in the campaign, and the only way to measure support is through support and fundraising.
Elgardo’s supporters include activist and former state legislator Mel King and former Boston deputy mayor Kim Jenny, Mattapan Rep. including Tito Jackson. Supporting Miranda include Rep. Liz Maria of Jamaica Plain, and City Councilors Tania Fernandez Anderson and Ruzy Louise June.Wilkerson voiced her support From Boston Bus Drivers UnionCulpepper has the endorsement of former state legislator Royal Bolling Jr. Pastor Jesse Jacksoncivil rights activist and former presidential candidate.
With candidates spending more than $350,000 in total, Suffolk II is the most expensive campaign in the 40-seat Senate. Donors come from within the district as well as across the state and country, reflecting both the profile of the seat and the breadth of the candidate’s network.
Miranda has earned nearly $200,000 since attending the race last December, making it the leader in campaign donations. Culpepper has raked in more than $157,000 since his March, including donations from former Governor Devalpatrick and former Senator William “Mo” Cowan.
Elgardo also crossed the $100,000 mark, while Wilkerson reported about $11,735 in donations heading into August. Grant reports to the bank that he has just over $200 in deposits and that he only spent 32 cents to verify his PayPal account.
New Democracy Coalition’s Peterson said getting out of the congested sector would require demonstrating a focus on the district’s most pressing needs, including poverty, public safety and housing. They will have to show they are ready to advocate for the most vulnerable, he said.
“Black senators coming out of Boston’s black communities have a unique advantage in that they understand the specific trials and tribulations and difficulties that residents across these communities feel every day,” said Peter. Sung said.