In the same congressional district where Ayanna Pressley, the first African-American woman elected to Boston’s City Council, is giving Congressman Michael Capuano a run for his money this primary season, a similar dynamic is playing out in a local election in the city of Everett.

Gerly Adrien, a political newcomer who was raised in Everett by Haitian-born parents, is challenging the two-term incumbent state representative Joe McGonagle. Both are Democrats and they agree on many things — the need for affordable housing, stringent gun laws, even a ban on plastic bags.

Yet, said Adrien, “there is a disconnection, there is a divide here.”

She points to the Everett Democratic City Committee debate in which McGonagle opposed making Massachusetts a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants.

“We need to give law enforcement all the tools they need,” said McGonagle during the debate. “We have an issue — and I don’t want to get deeply involved — we have an issue with gangs.”

Adrien calls that remark a shocking example of how McGonagle is out of touch with his constituents, an attempt to link immigrants to gangs.

McGonagle said that’s not what he meant.

“We want the good immigrants, people who are hard working, productive members of society to live comfortably and safely in Massachusetts,” said McGonagle in an interview with WGBH News. “We want everybody to be safe, but, bad people, we want them out of our city and out of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

McGonagle said his views on gangs are informed by close ties to local police. He also touts connections to immigrant communities. He's traveled to Haiti, for instance, with a local reverend. And, he points, out his mother emigrated from Germany.

“My mom had to learn English watching the ‘I Love Lucy’ show,'” said McGonagle. “That’s why it’s important for me to bring programs into the city — English language learning programs.”

McGonagle’s father and grandfather served on Everett’s City Council, and his re-election team includes a former Everett mayor and a current city councilor. He’s the establishment candidate in a year when challengers have momentum in the Democratic Party.

In New York’s Democratic primary, Bronx bartender Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated a 10-term congressman. She was backed by the Bernie Sanders off-shoot group, Our Revolution.

The Everett chapter of Our Revolution is working to elect Gerly Adrien. They’ve also been registering new voters.

“Our leadership is not diverse, through no fault of their own,” said Samantha Lambert, a member of Everett’s Our Revolution chapter. “Though, in a city like ours, there’s room for more people at the table.”

Gerly Adrien recalls growing up in the 1990s when most Everett residents were white. People of color now make up at least half the city’s population, yet, as Adrien points out, fill few of Everett’s elected offices.

Will her campaign change the city’s power structure?

“I think that’s the big question,” said Adrien.

There’s another question looming in this race: the prospects of a third candidate, Stephen “Stat” Smith. He’s a former Everett state representative who stepped down in 2013 after pleading guilty to voter fraud. Smith did not respond to WGBH News inquiries, but he does appear to have voter support. His campaign signs are visible across Everett.

Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously stated that no elected offices in Everett are held by a person of color. In fact, Marcony Almeida-Barros is a Brazilian-born member of Everett's school committee. The text has been updated.