The Mainstream Media Calls Annissa Essaibi George Moderate; Even She Doesn’t Buy It

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Is Boston mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George a political moderate?

It depends on who you ask.

The mainstream media frequently calls her one, but she doesn’t like the label — and refutes it.

After the Democrat earned second place in the preliminary round, The New York Times put out a headline that read “Boston Mayor’s Race Narrows to a Progressive Versus a Moderate”; Commonwealth Magazine dedicated an entire article to Essaibi George being the “moderate” candidate in the race back in June titled “In progressive field, Essaibi George stands out”; and NBC Boston said of the race: “Like it or not, the progressive vs. moderate narrative is already defining this race. Now, it’s up to the candidates to define for Bostonians why their leadership would be best.”

And yet, Essaibi George herself doesn’t like the label.

On election night, she reportedly said, “It’s lazy to simply label me as a moderate, as a centrist,” according to NBC Boston.

She also rejected the moderate label in an interview with The Boston Herald the following week.

“The titles that I’m most proud to have and embrace are the titles of being a teacher, being a mother, being a small business owner, being a community member, being a city councilor,” she said. “Those are the labels I’m proud of, that I’m happy to wear. And I hope to wear the title of mayor sometime soon because I’m ready to do the work. I think this labeling business is a little lazy.”

In recent years, Essaibi George has issued endorsements to progressive Democrats when running for office.

Last year, she endorsed U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Malden) for re-election over then-U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton). While the two had little differences of opinion, the public perceived Markey as the more progressive candidate of the two, in part, because of his priorities. Markey was the original sponsor of the Green New Deal in the U.S. Senate; he earned the endorsement of U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and his commercials featured her on them; Ocasio-Cortez identifies as a democratic socialist. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), who is not a democratic socialist, endorsed Kennedy.

That same year, Essaibi George endorsed a progressive in the presidential primary:  U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Cambridge); Warren ran on a platform similar to that of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), a self-described democratic socialist, as Vox points out.

In 2018, Essaibi George supported a member of The Squad primarying an incumbent Democrat for Congress. She endorsed then-city councilor Ayanna Pressley (D-Dorchester) over then-incumbent U.S. Representative Michael Capuano (D-Somerville) in a race where many news organizations labeled Pressley as the more progressive candidate.

Additionally, Essaibi George supports many policies backed by progressives in Massachusetts.

She signed onto the NARAL MA City Champion Pledge. That means she supports the ROE Act that legalized abortion after 24 weeks in cases of fatal fetal anomaly, eliminated parental consent for 16- and 17-year-old minors seeking an abortion, and removed the right to life-saving care for babies born alive after an attempted abortion.

The NARAL pledge requires that candidates support insurance coverage for abortion without cost-sharing or co-pays. It requires the candidate to oppose voter ID laws; “promote public awareness” and vocally oppose crisis pregnancy centers; and support “sexual health education that provides age-appropriate and medically accurate information, including consent, healthy relationships, all sexual orientations and gender identities, and the effective use of contraceptives.”

NARAL supports “An Act Relative to Healthy Youth”, a sex-ed bill that would require all public school districts in the state that teach sex education to use content approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education —  which has, in the past, approved a curriculum that advised 12-year-olds to use saran wrap to protect themselves during oral-anal contact. The curriculum also offers advice to 12-year-olds on how to have anal sex.

Assaibi George also supports paid abortion leave for city employees, co-sponsoring an ordinance on the matter with fellow mayoral candidate Michelle Wu in the Boston City Council.

Essaibi George also filled out a questionnaire from Progressive Massachusetts that showed more of her ideology. While she didn’t support rent control, cutting police funding, or letting 16-year-olds and noncitizens vote in municipal elections, there are other areas of agreement. 

She said that she supported the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s do-not-prosecute list. That includes trespassing, shoplifting, larceny under $250, wanton or malicious destruction of property, and disorderly conduct, among other offenses.

She said that she supports ending information sharing between the Boston Police Department and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and that she supports barring members of the Boston Police Department from inquiring about people’s immigration status. She also said that she thinks sympathizing with white supremacist organizations “is a problem” in the Boston Police Department.

On education, she said that she opposes charter school expansion and supports implementing a district-wide ethnic studies curriculum. Progressive Massachusetts said the ethnic studies program would be used “to inform our students about different global experiences involving race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual orientation, while encouraging students to critically think about the lived experiences of those around them.” 

Essaibi George’s campaign could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The Boston mayoral general election is set for Tuesday, November 2.


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