Ayanna Pressley backs Katjana Ballantyne for Mayor of Somerville


“I saw, firsthand, his commitment to lead with compassion and in deep partnership with the community.”

Katjana Ballantyne Handout

Rep. Ayanna Pressley chose her as a progressive in the Somerville mayoral race.

The Massachusetts MP announced Monday morning that she was endorsing City Councilor Katjana Ballantyne over fellow city councilor Will Mbah in Somerville’s general election for mayor this fall.

“I am grateful to have known Katjana for over a decade and to have had the opportunity to work alongside her during her tenure on Somerville City Council,” Pressley said of Ballantyne, who is the neighborhood headquarters. 7 in the city since 2014..

“I have seen, firsthand, his commitment to lead with compassion and in close partnership with the community,” added Pressley, whose Boston-area congressional district includes Somerville, in a statement.

The November 2 election is the first open mayoral contest Somerville has seen this century, following Mayor Joe Curtatone’s decision not to run for re-election.

Ballantyne finished second in the city’s mayoral preliminary election last month, qualifying for the general election with Mbah, a city councilor appointed for a second term. Both candidates signed a political commitment created by Pressley pledging to support national priorities such as criminal justice reform, student debt cancellation and free public transport.

Describing himself as the “most progressive candidate” in the race, Mbah campaigned for the adoption of rent control and a “Somerville Green New Deal,” and was supported by left-wing groups like Our Revolution.

However, Ballantyne also wrote a 2019 resolution calling for a Somerville Green New Deal and pushing for affordable housing through the city’s inclusive zoning requirement that 20% of large developments must be affordable housing, among other policies (Mbah called for increasing the percentage required). She and Pressley also co-hosted a conversation in Somerville on equity in public education in late August.

Pressley said Monday that Ballantyne had “presented a clear vision for Somerville’s future – rooted in inclusion, equity and justice – and a detailed plan on how to make that vision a reality.”

“I know that as mayor Katjana will continue to provide the bold and committed leadership that the residents of Somerville demand and deserve,” she said.

Ballantyne said Monday she was honored by Pressley’s endorsement, whom she called a “leader whom I very much admire,” a “friend” and “a fighter for people who don’t have the tools. and the resources to fight for themselves. “

Responding to the news, Mbah noted that he had made Pressley’s political commitment and that he had “immense respect for the congressman.”

“But I am not focusing on political supporters,” Mbah told Boston.com in a statement. “It’s listening to voters who are struggling to afford to live here and who need real solutions to our housing crisis.”

Pressley also announced several Somerville City Council approvals on Monday, supporting At-Large Councilor Kristen Strezo, Ward 1 Councilor Matt McLaughlin, Ward 2 Councilor JT Scott and Ward 3 Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen for re-election. , as well as first-time applicants. Willie Burnley Jr. for a General Council seat and Judy Pineda Neufeld for the Ward 7 open seat. (She also supported Somerville School Committee member Andre Green for re-election.)

Taken together, the endorsements on Monday suggest that Pressley does not fully agree with the so-called “socialist takeover”De Somerville, an effort to make the city the only predominantly socialist city council in the country.

Although Scott, Ewen-Campen, and Burnley are backed by the Boston Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, Pressley effectively supports DSA-backed Ward 7 candidate Becca Miller and general candidates Charlotte Kelly and Eve Seitchik. She also did not support Ward 5’s open run, which includes DSA-backed candidate Tessa Bridge and Beatriz Gómez-Mouakad, both of whom signed Pressley’s political pledge.

Still, Pressley said the diverse roster of approved candidates would bring a “wealth of experience, dedication to bold policy making and a deep commitment to community partnership with Somerville Town Hall.”

“At this time, when all of our communities face both unprecedented challenges and unique opportunities, I am proud to support this dynamic group, whose passion, determination and unique perspectives will help make Somerville a more just and equitable community for all. ,” she said.

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