Who are the candidates for the East Boston, North End and Charlestown council special election?
Three people will face off in Tuesday’s special election for now-state-Sen. Lydia Edwards’ District 1 City Council seat, which represents the North End, East Boston and Charlestown.
Two of the three candidates — Tania Del Rio and Gabriela “Gigi” Coletta — share many of the same priorities, chief among them the cost of housing in Boston, one of the nation’s most expensive cities to live in.
They are the two main candidates on the ballot for Tuesday’s election, with North End restaurateur Jorge Mendoza running a late-entry sticker campaign.
People are being pushed out of apartments and homes in low-income neighborhoods to make way for high-priced condominiums, said Del Rio, 36, of East Boston.
“Housing is a human right and a gateway to economic stability and healthy families. Yet our communities currently face an affordability crisis,” Del Rio said. “Owning a home remains nothing but a dream for too many Bostonians, and people are being pushed out. The displacement crisis is tearing up the fabric of our community, and it’s time to take housing head-on.”
If she is elected, she said, she would raise the required portion of affordable units in any new housing development from 13% to 25% and hold developers accountable if they don’t abide by that.
Del Rio also wants to see more investment in Boston Public Schools facilities and “convene everyone involved in the school community to talk about how BPS high schools can become an option for people.”
She wants to protect the environment by introducing a “carbon budget” for the city and hold the Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan International Airport, accountable for air pollution mitigation.
Gigi Coletta, 29, also of East Boston, said she’s “uniquely qualified to hit the ground running on day one” because she was Edwards’ former chief of staff, a role in which she oversaw the day-to-day operations of government, the drafting of legislation and constituent services.
Like Del Rio, she considers affordable housing her top priority.
“Two many families can’t afford to stay in their homes due to skyrocketing housing costs and gentrification,” Coletta said.
A “proud product” of Boston Public Schools, she also wants to ensure that youngsters have high-quality education options.
“And I want to make sure we have a green future,” Coletta said. ”We’re already seeing flooding and sea-level rise, so we need to make sure our coastline is fortified, in addition to expanding our parks and tree canopy.”
Finally, she wants to continue her work under Edwards to provide “excellent” constituent services.
North End restaurateur Jorge Mendoza said he wants to increase Boston’s police force and bring Boston Public Schools “back to excellence.” He did not say how he would do that.
In a previous interview with the Herald, Mendoza said he “will be a vocal challenge to Mayor (Michelle) Wu,” the subject of his ire ever since she rolled out a North End-only $7,500 fee for any restaurant outdoor seating.