Two Candidates, Two Legacies In District 7 Election

By Phillip Martin

Mar.14, 2011

BOSTON — On Tuesday, District 7 residents will vote in a special election to fill the seat of former city councilman Chuck Turner, who was removed from the seat by the vote of his fellow councilors after his conviction on federal corruption charges. The two candidates, Tito Jackson and Cornel Mills, are making their final cases before the vote.

Tito Jackson, the frontrunner in the election to fill Chuck Turner's old City Council seat, chatted with a voter during a candidates' forum in February.

Both candidates come from political families. Jackson is the son of local community activist Herb Jackson, who earned a reputation for delivering services to Roxbury’s poorest sections. 
Cornel Mills is the son of former Senator Dianne Wilkerson, who had earned a similar reputation before it was sullied by a criminal conviction.  Just days ago, Mills dropped his mother off at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, where she has begun serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for accepting nearly 24 thousand dollars in bribe payments.
But Mills says he is proud of his mother’s political accomplishments and of his own experiences.
“I run a real estate company that specializes in foreclosure prevention I’m a former homicide investigator. I’m the product of a single parent household. I’m the son of Senator Wilkerson and she instilled in us a need to give back, a need to serve, a need to help build community and that’s what I’m looking forward to do. And that’s what I’ve done over the past 20 years if you take a look at my resume,” Mills said.
Tito Jackson, who won the vast majority of votes in last month’s primary election, is still the front-runner. He’s received the endorsement of the Boston Globe and he’s trading on his experience of having worked for Gov. Deval Patrick:

Cornell Mills, the son of ex-state-Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, is running against Tito Jackson for the District 7 City Council seat. Here, he chats with a voter at a candidates' forum in February.

“(During Gov. Patrick’s campaign,) I dealt with folks at a city, state as well as federal level.  So I won’t come in needing any training wheels.  I’m actually going to come in ready to ride my bike and get us where we need to get and to leverage those relationships to get all that we need there,
 Jackson said.
And what the community needs, says both Jackson and Mills, is a comprehensive plan for fighting crime and increasing employment.
The most immediate hurdle for the candidates themselves will be to encourage a decent turnout in Tuesday’s election.  Last month, less than 3,000 votes were cast among 30,000 eligible voters in the district.  With sunny weather and temperatures in the high 40’s predicted for Tuesday, the District 7 candidates are banking on a much higher turnout.


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