Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu ’07 rolled out twelve endorsements from local government officials in early December, including two from Cambridge city councilors, to bolster her 2021 mayoral campaign.
Cambridge City Councilors Quinton Y. Zondervan and Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler praised Wu’s stances on climate and transportation issues, citing her commitment to environmental and economic justice.
Wu’s office released a 46-page plan in August outlining a series of policy steps for Boston to mitigate the effects of climate change and move toward environmental sustainability.
“The window to reverse climate change is closing quickly, and the time is now to transition to a thriving green economy and sustainable communities with a city-level Green New Deal for Boston,” Wu’s campaign website reads. “Michelle has a plan to meet the scale and urgency of need in our communities.”
Zondervan said in an interview Boston and Cambridge should join forces in the fight against climate change, and that he believes the two cities would have a productive working relationship with Wu as Boston mayor.
“I proposed a similar, smaller-scale Green New Deal taskforce for Cambridge,” Zondervan said. “I think a lot of challenges that we’re dealing with — climate change, obviously, but also housing for example — are very regional issues that no one of us can solve alone for the region.”
Sobrinho-Wheeler wrote in an emailed statement that one of the key areas in which Boston and Cambridge should cooperate is public transportation, a centerpiece of Wu’s platform.
“The Boston metro area, which includes Cambridge, has the worst traffic in the country and yet the MBTA has cut service and raised fares in the past two years,” Sobrinho-Wheeler wrote. “Having the mayor of Boston as a strong advocate for bus and bike lanes, having municipal representation in the MBTA oversight body, and a shift to fare-free public transit would be incredibly helpful for Cambridge and other cities and towns in the Boston area.”
Wu has advocated for fare-free public transit since her 2019 “Free the T” campaign, launched in response to a proposed 6.3 percent fare increase by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Zondervan said he worked with Wu on “Free the T,” recording videos at a number of train stations in the Greater Boston area.
“Free public transportation is the single biggest step we could take toward economic mobility, racial equity, and climate justice,” Wu wrote in a January 2019 op-ed in the Boston Globe.
During Wu's mayoral run, which she officially launched in September, fare-free public transit has become one of her signature campaign promises.
“Instead of fare hikes, we should be discussing bold ideas to invest in transit – bold ideas like a fare free transit system,” Wu’s website states.
Zondervan and Sobrinho-Wheeler’s shared views with Wu earned the three government officials the support of the same progressive groups. The climate change activist groups Massachusetts Sierra Club and Boston Sunrise Movement endorsed all three candidates during their respective council runs in 2019.
Wu, Zondervan, and Sobrinho-Wheeler also participated in a Harvard Yard vigil on Dec. 9 honoring essential workers lost to Covid-19 and calling on the University to better protect its frontline employees.
If elected, Wu would be the first person of color and first woman to serve as Boston’s mayor. Incumbent Mayor Martin J. Walsh has not yet announced a reelection bid, though Wu is currently opposed by fellow Boston City Councilor Andrea J. Campbell.
Sobrinho-Wheeler wrote that he is excited about the transformative nature of Wu’s candidacy.
“Her election as Mayor would represent a new direction for Boston and as the City Councillor who has received the most votes in the last election, she has a strong mandate already,” he wrote.
—Staff writer Brandon L. Kingdollar can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @newskingdollar.