RESIDENTS OF Boston’s District 7 need an honest city councilor who will represent the area in an upbeat, inclusive way. The district, which covers Roxbury and parts of the South End, Dorchester, and Fenway, includes some of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods. Yet a new generation of leadership is emerging in Boston — one focused more on tackling concrete problems and expanding the economic pie than on refighting the same old battles. Tito Jackson, a 35-year-old economic-development specialist, embodies this shift. He’s the standout among the seven candidates vying for the District 7 seat in a special preliminary election on Tuesday.
While the seat only became vacant in the aftermath of longtime councilor Chuck Turner’s bribery conviction late last year, Turner’s antagonistic style lost its effectiveness long ago. Jackson, in contrast, is an especially amiable candidate. But he is dead serious about addressing the longstanding issues of unemployment, crime, and foreclosures. The experience and contacts he gained as a former job-creation specialist for the state economic-development office fit the district’s needs. Compared with the other leading candidate — Cornell Mills, the son of former state senator Dianne Wilkerson — and the rest of the field, Jackson is better equipped to lift both the prospects and the mood of the district.
Jackson can’t wave a wand and bring new industries to Roxbury. But he can help to make the district safer and more attractive to small businesses that are willing to invest and expand. And he understands the ins and outs of trade apprentice programs that could help to pave the way for better jobs for his constituents.
Jackson has deep roots in Roxbury, and he respects his political elders. But he is ready to push ahead with his own forward-looking agenda.