Coffee with Candidates: Annissa Essaibi George

BOSTON — Our Coffee with Candidates series is back and this time we’re getting to know the historic field of candidates seeking to be the next mayor of Boston.

Boston 25 News Anchor Kerry Kavanaugh recently had coffee and conversation with the five major candidates still in the race.

Kavanaugh recently met with Boston City Councilor, Annissa Essaibi George at the Sugar Bowl in Dorchester, which she can walk to from her house.

Essaibi George is an at-large city councilor and a former Boston Public Schools teacher. She’s born and raised in Dorchester. She’s the daughter of immigrants. Her mom was born to Polish parents in a displaced persons camp in Germany. Her dad is from Tunisia.

She told Kavanaugh about a conversation she had with her father, as a teenager, when she told him she wanted to run for mayor of Boston someday.

“And he said an Arab girl with an Arab name will win nothing in this city,” said Essaibi George. “And so, I think about that often. I think about, you know, how much Boston has changed, and how we have an opportunity today, we look at this diverse field, to really change what leadership looks like in this city.”

Kavanaugh also spoke with Essaibi George about Boston’s affordable housing crisis, a top issue for voters. Watch the video to find out how she’ll tackle that plus see the rest of the extended conversation.

After Kavanaugh’s interview, The Boston Globe reported on allegations that Essaibi George used to her office as city councilor to help her husband’s business. He’s a real estate developer.

Kavanaugh reached out the campaign about this. A spokesperson sent the following statement:

“Annissa has been adamant about maintaining a total separation between her and her husband’s work. She’ll continue to do that.

“This was not her husband’s project, his name didn’t come up, so the staff proceeded to do what they always do -- work with the other councilors and community leaders. But as soon as we were made aware of even the potential of a conflict -- when the Globe brought it to our attention -- Annissa immediately took action, talked to counsel, and will take any steps necessary.

As Annissa has stated publicly in multiple interviews over the course of this campaign, Doug will not be doing any new business in Boston or business before the ZBA or the BPDA during Annissa’s time as Mayor.”

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