Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson to Challenge Mayor Walsh

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has a challenger for 2017. 

On Wednesday afternoon, ending months of speculation, a website proclaiming Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson’s (D-Roxbury) mayoral campaign sprang up online, coinciding with an earlier report from Politico that Jackson intends to make his official announcement Thursday at 2 p.m. from the city’s Haley House soup kitchen on Dartmouth Street.

The early version of Jackson’s campaign website indicates he plans to use the Twitter hashtag #WeAreBoston as a slogan: 

The #WeAreBoston hashtag, however, has been in use by Walsh’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, and was recently used last month to promote a gala in which Walsh presented “We Are Boston” leadership awards as part of a “multicultural celebration.”

Jackson has not been hesitant to criticize Walsh’s leadership in recent years. In the summer of 2015, Jackson made very public his demands for more transparency as Walsh and other city insiders attempted to lure the Summer Olympics to Boston in 2024. Jackson, in fact, filed an order for a subpoena with the city clerk’s office demanding copies of the full, non-redacted version of Boston 2024’s 1.0 bid proposal after Boston2024 CEO Richard Davey refused to release the bid’s first two chapters.

Jackson has also publicly taken Walsh to task over the state of the city’s schools, especially during last spring’s budget showdown. In May, thousands of students held a walk-out to protest budget cuts, an act that was hailed by Jackson but criticized by Walsh.  Jackson was also very public in his condemnation of the leadership at the city’s prestigious Boston Latin School after student activists claimed administrators had turned a blind eye to racial tensions. 

Coincidentally, as Jackson’s plans to run for mayor were confirmed Wednesday, Walsh’s administration announced that the city has filled the newly-created position of “diversity outreach director.” 

This past fall, as Bay State voters weighed a ballot proposal over whether to lift the cap on the number of charter schools allowed to open annually in Massachusetts, it was Jackson who served as one of the loudest Boston voices opposing the measure

Prior to the launch of his campaign website, Jackson had remained mum on whether or not he intends to challenge Walsh. In August, Jackson told reporters he was “happy” serving Roxbury’s interests on the City Council but added that “if there are opportunities that present themselves in the future, I would look at those opportunities on a case by case basis.” 

Jackson could not be reached for comment Wednesday. 

No incumbent Boston mayor has lost a reelection bid since 1949. 

Jackson was first elected to the City Council in 2011.