Roxbury voters — set to replace disgraced City Councilor Chuck Turner in tomorrow’s special election — said they want a powerful neighborhood advocate who will tackle crime, jobs and education.
“We need a strong candidate that will be willing to fight and stand up for us and make sure we’re getting the same city services that everyone else in Boston is getting. We pay the same taxes,” said Cheryl Crawford, 52, of Roxbury.
Crawford was part of the standing-room-only crowd of about 150 at the Crispus Attucks Children’s Center yesterday in Grove Hall for the final candidates’ forum. District 7 candidates Tito Jackson, Cornell Mills, Danielle Williams, Natalie Carithers and Roy Owens are all vying for the seat vacated by Turner, who’s appealing his three-year sentence on a federal bribery conviction.
Jackson, a former Patrick administration staffer, said he would use his background in economic development and job creation to fight crime and blight.
“I’ve never been robbed by somebody who had a job,” he said. “Most of the ills that we have in our community are based on the fact that people don’t have money in their pockets. So we need to make sure that we bring businesses back to our community, that we support our entrepreneurs.”
Mills — the son of former state Sen. Diane Wilkerson, who’s facing 3 1/2 years behind bars on a federal bribery conviction — also homed in on neighborhood violence and mentioned his credentials as an investigator with the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office, locating witnesses to homicides.
“This is a short-term race with long-term consequences,” Mills said. “If we don’t elect the right leader to move this community forward, we’re going to end up taking 10 steps backwards.”
Williams, a former aide to state Rep. Gloria Fox, said she has 20 years of experience working in the community.
“I’m tired of people coming in our community, outsiders dictating to us, what we’re going to do, how we’re going to do it,” Williams said. “I’m sick of it. That’s why I came from behind the desk, to come out and talk to my community to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ ”
Carithers, a former aide to ex state Rep. Willie Mae Allen, touted her work bringing one of the 2006 gubernatorial debates to Roxbury. Owens, a frequent candidate for office, railed against abortion.
“What I’m looking for in a candidate is someone who is actually going to do for this community,” voter Vernon Jackson, 30, said. “There are people dying out here.”
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