Aug 30, 2023 - News

Revere elections spotlight city's changing face

Illustration of a row of voting booths casting long shadows, the side of the booth reads "VOTE" with a checkmark as the V.

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Revere — a city of 60,000 just north of Boston — is having municipal elections this year that could change the face of the city's politics.

Driving the news: The most diverse slate of candidates in city history is vying for five at-large City Council seats, three of which are open races.

  • The candidates tell Axios this year presents a remarkable opportunity for change in Revere.

Why it matters: Revere's elected officials have remained mostly white and male for decades, even as its non-white population grew by nearly a third between 2013 and 2020 to a high of 49%.

Meanwhile: Neighboring Boston embraced a more diverse set of city leaders throughout the 2010s, eventually electing its first female and non-white mayor in 2021.

Zoom in: One of the Revere candidates for at-large City Council, Alexander Rhalimi, says he would be the first Moroccan immigrant ever elected to public office in the United States.

  • Another at-large candidate and the son of Colombian immigrants, Juan Pablo Jaramillo works as political director for the Environmental League of Massachusetts, a leading environmental advocacy group.
  • Ned Almeida, a nurse running for an at-large seat, is calling for a "Revere Renaissance" of increased civic engagement and cooperation between the city's diverse cultures.

Only one of the 11 candidates running for the at-large seats, Michelle Kelley, is a woman. City Council President Pro Tempore Joanne McKenna is the only female member currently on the council.

  • Kelley, a real estate agent, says she wants to bring a "neighborhood watch" attitude to city government and ensure developers adhere to the city zoning code.

What they're saying: State Sen. Lydia Edwards was one of the women of color who helped transform Boston City Council when she served there. Edwards wants to see this crop of Revere candidates bring their own perspectives and lived experiences to City Hall.

  • "Being a representative, especially on the municipal level, is as close to the grassroots as you're going to get. And a lot of these people are already doing the work," Edwards said of the candidates.

What's next: After the September preliminary election, 10 of the 11 at-large candidates will compete again in the Nov. 7 general election.


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