Following the preliminary election on Sept. 26Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson (not of the Jackson’s fame) will be on the ballot next November in his bid to unseat Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Jackson, who lives in Roxbury, is the first African-American mayoral finalist since Mel King ran unsuccessfully against Ray Flynn in 1983, reports WBUR. At 6-foot-2 and 200-plus pounds with a ready smile, Jackson still cuts the figure of the high school football player he once was. But the city councilor is running hard — not to win football games, but to bring change to Boston and make it work for all of its residents. “I want people to be able to still live in this neighborhood,” Jackson said on a recent morning, and “not get pushed out of the neighborhood and community that they built up and made safe.” In 1991, when Jackson was 15, there were 151 murders in Boston, many of them in Roxbury, where he grew up. But the community came together with clergy, City Hall and police, and now Roxbury is a very different place.
“Two hundred dollar increases in rent,” he said. “There are developers who are buying whole buildings and emptying them out and not realizing those are people. Those are families. Same thing in South Boston. Same thing in East Boston. They’re getting pushed out there too.” Jackson complains about a city with a booming economy and enormous wealth, but with the widest wealth gap in the nation, and dramatic racial disparities. Jackson faces his biggest political challenge yet: to convince the voters of Boston that he can represent — and lead — the entire city. “All of that said, Boston is the greatest city in the world,” Jackson proclaims. “But the question is, are we great for everyone?”