In fewer than two weeks, voters in Boston will head to the polls for the Boston municipal elections, where they will elect their representation for the next two years on the Boston City Council.
In the neighborhood of Allston-Brighton, which makes up district nine on city council, incumbent councilor Liz Breadon is being challenged by 25-year-old Jacob deBlecourt. Breadon was first elected in 2019, when she became the city’s first openly LGBTQ+ city councilor.
In a sit-down interview with The Daily Free Press, deBlecourt spoke of their previous work in city council as director of public policy for Councilor Julia Mejia, and how that helps shape their view of what city council can do for people in Boston.
“I am running because I’ve seen the kind of power that the city council can have to make our community a better place with the right kinds of representation,” deBlecourt said.
In an email statement, Breadon wrote that she is “running for re-election to build an inclusive, equitable and resilient community in Boston where all can thrive.”
Both candidates addressed their campaign priorities, which include the issues facing the Allston-Brighton area and why they would be the best person for the job.
Breadon wrote about the need for increasing fines for sanitary code violations, holding landlords accountable, protecting green space and planning for sustainable socioeconomic growth.
deBlecourt, a longtime renter in Allston who added they live with three roommates who share a single bathroom, spoke about housing as a top priority.
“I have a dedicated plan to not only increase the supply of income restricted and affordable housing, but also [strengthen] tenant protections and drafting a homeless Bill of Rights, which is incredibly important,” deBlecourt said.
deBelcourt also said their campaign will focus on Allston-Brighton’s “lack of artist space” and addressing the rat problem.
“If I had to summarize my campaign in four words, it’s more housing and fewer rats,” deBlecourt said.
Alex Cornacchini, executive director of Allston Village Main Streets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting development in the Allston Village business district, also spoke about the housing issue.
“A lot of old renters are getting priced out [of Boston] with these new luxury apartments and condos,” Cornacchini said. “It’s an issue all around Boston, but I think it’s exacerbated in Allston because we’re one of the fastest developing neighborhoods of the city.”
In this unique race, both Democratic candidates are progressives with varying backgrounds.
Breadon, an immigrant from Northern Ireland, has lived in Allston-Brighton for 25 years, according to her campaign website, while deBlecourt, just 25 years old, called Allston-Brighton “special” for its diversity, from renters and college students to seniors and multi-generational families.
“It’s interesting to see two candidates from the two different parts of the Allston-Brighton neighborhood,” Cornacchini said. “On one hand we have an older homeowner that has a lot of political sway in Brighton, and on the other hand, we have the relatively new up-and-comer from Allston as a renter and a little bit younger, and knows a little bit more about the struggles of being a young individual in Allston-Brighton.”
Breadon highlighted her experience on city council as the reason why she is the better candidate for reelection.
“My two terms in office as Councilor for District 9 show that I have a proven track record of getting results: record-breaking affordable housing agreements, neighborhood master planning, city funds for community organizations, five new science classrooms at Brighton High, improvements to pedestrian safety [and] new rehearsal and artists spaces,” Breadon wrote in an email.
deBlecourt had a different position.
“Being a progressive is more than just about being a vote,” they said. “It’s about being a voice, and we need someone in this neighborhood who is ready to be the voice for the community, someone who is ready to engage in the work, to create the kind of Allston-Brighton where people are able to plant their roots, where people are able to start a small business, and where families are able to stay put and not have to move around year after year.”
As for a final pitch to voters, deBlecourt said it’s time for the neighborhood to start a new chapter.
“If you feel like we’re ready for a new chapter, if you feel that the status quo isn’t working for you, the voters of this district need to know that they have another option,” deBlecourt said.
The candidates will face off in a debate hosted by Allston Village Main Streets on Nov. 2 at Charlesview Community Center in Brighton before the election is held on Nov. 7.