The look of Boston’s upcoming City Council came into focus on Tuesday as Kim Janey claimed the votes to become president, while Alejandra St. Guillen backed off a court challenge of Julia Mejia’s 1-vote recount win for the final at-large seat.
Janey, who has represented Roxbury and parts of the South End for the past two years, says she has the votes to serve as the City Council’s president, her office confirmed Tuesday.
Elected in 2017, she previously was a longtime community and youth activist. Janey, an outspoken progressive, scored a big victory last month with the passage of her pot ordinance, which will create a new marijuana oversight board and various mechanisms meant to promote minorities and other locals who are applying to open up pot shops.
Mejia, a former MTV reporter and community activist, will sit in the final of the four at-large seats, hanging on by a single vote after a three-day recount and a looming court challenge from St. Guillen. The city’s official count had Mejia up 22,492 to St. Guillen’s 22,491 after the recount wrapped up Monday.
St. Guillen, a former City Hall staffer, conceded on Tuesday after her campaign had held out Monday night with a claim that she could pick up five votes and win if she took the matter to court.
St. Guillen tweeted Tuesday morning, “Last night, I believed that I owed it to my supporters and the voters to fully review the results from the recount before moving forward. After weighing all the options with my team and my family, I have come to the decision to not move forward with a court challenge.”
Mejia, standing in front of City Hall after St. Guillen tweeted out her concession, told reporters she was “grateful” her opponent didn’t take the issue to court.
“It was really important for us to continue to keep our city together, not further divide a community that was already felt divided. We’re having to choose between one or the other,” she said.
Mejia said her first priority will be to change when hearings are held, moving them from the midday that’s common now to nighttime when working residents can show up.
“I’m going on the inside to change the way we do business in here,” Mejia said.
The body will be the most diverse in its history, now with women comprising a majority of the 13-member council. Janey, who’s black, would preside over a council that includes its first Latina in Mejia and its first out lesbian, Liz Breadon.
Various names had been bandied around the fifth floor of City Hall to be the next council president, including Matt O’Malley, Lydia Edwards and Michelle Wu, who all sought to build support at one point or another this fall, sources have said.