Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell Thursday formally announced she is jumping into the city's 2021 mayoral race. She will run against incumbent Mayor Marty Walsh and City Councilor Michelle Wu, who announced her candidacy last week. Campbell joined GBH Morning Edition Host Joe Mathieu to talk about the race and her decision to run. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.
Joe Mathieu: Councilor Campbell, congratulations. Welcome back to GBH's Morning Edition.
Councilor Andrea Campbell: Thanks. Thank you for having me. It's emotional.
Mathieu: I bet it is. As the sun rises on Boston this morning, you're feeling it, did you call Mayor Walsh to tell him?
Campbell: I did, I did. Him and of course my council colleague, Councilor Wu.
Joe Mathieu: I'm sure it was an interesting conversation, although a lot of people saw this coming. And now that you made it official, can you share that response with us?
Campbell: Share what response?
Joe Mathieu: From the mayor or from Councilor Wu?
Campbell: Oh, I haven't heard back just yet from the mayor, but Councilor Wu did say she was excited that I'm in the race. And, of course, we can look forward to continue to work together. But my goal is to focus on my candidacy.
Joe Mathieu: Well, we're going to talk about that. And I'm glad that you're here. Your video announcement this morning describes Boston, as you just heard, as a tale of two cities. And it goes on to say that you have lived in both. So how would you bring those two cities together?
Campbell: So I think I've done that just as a district councilor for the last five years in my district, which is largely Dorchester, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain and Roslindale. It's probably one of the most diverse districts in the city of Boston. And so I have done that at the councilor. And of course, I was born and raised in the city of Boston and I went to all Boston public schools. I know the history of every neighborhood in the city of Boston, I take pride in being from here. But I also, you know, have found it to be painful at moments because we know that Boston, for many, is still very much an unequal city. And so I look forward to bringing us all together across neighborhood lines to solve for every inequity you can imagine and eradicate them, confront our own painful history of race and racism, and to make Boston a city that works for everyone.
Joe Mathieu: You've made police reform and criminal justice reform the foundation of your career in public service. We last spoke about your drive to demilitarize Boston police when you were last with us on GBH. This morning on this day that the nation is again saying the name Breonna Taylor. You tweeted, in part, "I don't want to hear Boston is better than that. I want to hear that we will take immediate action that confirms we are better than that." Councilor, you've been pushing for a new civilian oversight board for police. Is that how you do it?
Campbell: I think there are many things we need to do, and the first is we need to be honest about our own history in the city of Boston. Whether we like it or not, we have been a very segregated city. We, of course, have dealt with a very painful history with respect to busing. I was a product of busing, going to five excellent BPS schools because people fought for me to have that opportunity. And so I think this is an opportunity to address every inequity you can imagine, whether it's in our policing system or our health care system, our education system, housing, jobs, access to health care, you name it. And to say we're finally going to eradicate those inequities, and we are going to be a leader with respect to every city in this country, with respect to all those issues.
Joe Mathieu: What message do you have to young people living in Boston, especially young people of color, who are heartbroken about this decision regarding Breonna Taylor?
Campbell: It's painful and I hurt with them. You know, I got into this work after losing my twin brother to the criminal justice system. You know, he died as a pretrial detainee while in the custody of the Department of Correction. He was in custody for two years. And we still, as a family, don't really know what happened to him. And so instead of focusing on that anger and frustration, I've channeled it into purpose. And so I tell young people and anyone in our city who is feeling pain with respect to this decision to channel that pain into purpose. We all have a role to play in making our own city great. And I look forward to working in partnership with every resident in the city of Boston, to do just that.
Joe Mathieu: We're talking with Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell, who has announced her run for mayor this morning. We just conducted a poll here at GBH News with Mass Inc. that you may have seen, Councilor, which found 54 percent of people in Boston had not yet heard of you. Obviously we're very early in the process here. Everyone knows Mayor Walsh already. So how do you plan to make yourself a household name? How do you introduce yourself?
Campbell: Well, it's just that, you know, getting out into every neighborhood and introducing myself, but I don't pay attention really to polls because even in my first race, if I did, I wouldn't have ran, because the polls said I had no shot. And so obviously, voters in this district thought differently. And if we paid attention to polls, Rachael Rollins wouldn't be our district attorney. Ayanna Pressley wouldn't be our congresswoman, and Sen. Markey wouldn't still be the senator. So I look forward to getting out into the communities, introducing myself to voters across the city of Boston, listening to them. And, of course, creating policy together to eradicate inequities in the city of Boston.
Joe Mathieu: You mentioned Councilor Michelle Wu, of course, is already running. We did ask her about your decision to jump in, and this is what she said.
Campbell: I have tremendous respect for my colleague. This race is about the people of Boston, the residents in every community, and the struggles and the dreams that we are seeking to lift up.
Joe Mathieu: So she shares your respect, Councilor Campbell. What's it going to be like to run against a colleague?
Campbell: Well, I mean, we each respect each other, right? We've worked in partnership as council colleagues and we'll continue to do that.
I just bring a different story, a different background, professional experience to the work. You know, my entire life has been defined by the city of Boston. I understand the inequities that people speak of. I've lived them in my personal experience as a BPS kid, as an attorney who started her career here in Roxbury. I started my public service career with Gov. Patrick here in Massachusetts. And so I see this as an opportunity to bring that unique story to this race, but also to work on issues of education, racial equity, criminal justice, anything and everything with respect to our young people and so much more. So excited to get on the trail.