Kim Janey wins District 7 seat on the City Council

Kim Janey addressed supporters at her victory party in Merengue restaurant on Blue Hill Avenue on Tuesday night. Maddie Kilgannon photo

After one of the city’s most hotly contested campaigns, Kim Janey was elected on Tuesday as the first female city councillor to represent the neighborhood that her family has called home for generations.

Janey, who defeated Rufus Faulk, 55 percent to 43 percent in the District 7 contest, will replace Tito Jackson, the losing candidate in the mayoral election, when the City Council convenes in January.

Over the course of her campaign, Janey said, she personally had knocked on 9,000 doors in the district while her campaign team added 14,000 knocks on top of hers.

“As I spoke with people coming to vote today, people would say ‘Oh, I remember when I saw you here,’ and to hear that means that we really did what we needed to do, so I’m just thankful that we put in the work,” Janey told the Reporter on Tuesday.

Throughout the fall, Janey, who topped the district ticket in September’s preliminary, campaigned as the front-runner, raising far more money than any other candidate in the race to represent Roxbury and parts of the South End, Dorchester and Fenway neighborhoods.

Before the polls closed on Tuesday, Janey briefly stopped by the Higginson-Lewis School in Roxbury and asked a few voters for their support before she dashed off.

Her opponent was also there with some of his supporters, like Charles Clemons, who ran for the District 7 seat but was eliminated in September. He had stood outside the school since 6:50 a.m., he said on Tuesday night, as a steady stream of voters filed into the polling location. He said he pressed campaign literature into the voters’ hands and urged them to vote for Tito Jackson for mayor and Faulk for City Council.

Before the polls closed, Faulk headed off to his election night event at Biff’s Lounge in Grove Hall, where he won three of the four precincts in Ward 12’s polling cluster. Still, he came up short in the overall count, which Janey won, 4,940 to 3,852.

Faulk said that he thought the endorsement from some of the other candidates in the primary would make a real difference: “They feel like we can work together moving forward, and I think that’s important for this district.”

Janey had the backing of Attorney General Maura Healey and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, who were by her side as she gave her victory speech at the Merengue restaurant on Blue Hill Avenue.

“This was not an easy fight and people don’t even begin to know the half of it. It was a very competitive race,” Janey said. The councillor-elect acknowledged Faulk and his efforts, and said that they share the same passion and love for their community.

“I’m going to make sure that there is a place for all of us where we can all thrive so that I can see my granddaughter grow up in the neighborhood that gave me so much,” she told the packed room of supporters.

Janey closed her remarks with a phrase she said she borrowed from a local artist: “I’m a Roxbury girl raised in rich black soil.”

Said Healey to Janey: “You represent everything that is good. We’re going to work together on criminal justice reform, you better believe it.”

When asked why she had become so involved in two district council races, Healey said, “Most people’s intersection with government occurs at the local level, so having great people there making decisions for the betterment of their community is really where it’s at.

“It was wonderfully exciting to see these races,” Healey told the Reporter. ”We certainly need more women and people of color in elected office. We need to have a government that truly reflects this democracy, so to see these resounding wins tonight in the city of Boston is absolutely inspiring.”

Healey and Chang-Diaz also supported Lydia Edwards, who won East Boston’s District 1 council seat. “There’s so much that I know will be accomplished with the leadership that Kim and Lydia will bring to the council,” Healey said.

With the election behind her, Janey said she is looking forward to building a strong team to address the needs of her constituents.

“I think that it’s important to continue to connect with some of the residents in our community, to connect with different neighborhood associations [and] community leaders. We have to prioritize what our short-term goals are and what some of our more long-term goals will be,” she added.

Given her background, Janey said that she would be interested in working on the council’s education committee. But for now, she said, she is looking forward to getting some sleep and thanking her supporters.