This week South End State Representative and an emergency room physician Dr. Jon Santiago announced his candidacy for Mayor of Boston. In a two minute video, produced in both English and Spanish, Santiago tells his personal story and calls on neighbors across the city to join together and write the next chapter of “our Boston story.”
Santiago is currently serving his second term as the State Representative for the 9th Suffolk District that includes the South End, Roxbury, Back Bay, and Fenway. He is an emergency room physician employed at Boston Medical Center and also serves as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and has deployed overseas.
“We are living through an unprecedented crisis, the impact of which will last far beyond today. It’s a turning point for our city, but in it I also see great possibilities,” said Santiago. “I see and hear it in the voices of my neighbors, patients, and constituents. I’ve spent my life in service to others and now I’m running for mayor to lead us through this moment and to a recovery rooted in equity and opportunity. I will bring our city back, stronger than ever. Today, we set out to bring neighbors together to write the next chapter of our Boston story.”
On Monday Santiago’s launch video titled “Our Boston Story” reintroduces the candidate to voters and tells how his early years in Boston led to a life of service – in the Peace Corps, as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve deploying overseas, an emergency room physician, and as a state representative.
“I’ve heard from many friends across every neighborhood about the challenges Boston faces in this critical moment and its future,” said Santiago. “Our Boston story has always been about hard working people—everyday heroes who dig deep and harness the spirit of our city to keep moving us forward. Beginning right now, we’re building a grassroots movement to bring our city together to write our next chapter.”
In the video Santiago is seen walking home from an overnight shift in the ER with his voiceover saying it is this time that he often reflects on his life and the future of his community.
“To think about my patients and try to understand why they ended up here. The daughter in the grips of substance use; a homeless family looking for shelter; the young man, another victim of gun violence. And now these same families, impacted by COVID-19,” says Santiago in the video. “I’ve come to learn that my patients are a reflection of Boston. Their stories speak to our greatest challenges. Disparities in health and wealth; rising rents; struggling schools. I’ve spent my life in service to tackle these very issues. I’m running for mayor to lead Boston through this crisis…to a recovery rooted in equity and opportunity.”
Santiago grew up in subsidized housing and attended Boston Public Schools.
After college he joined the Peace Corps to help those less fortunate.
“I took an oath to serve in the Army and deployed overseas,” he says. “I came back to Boston to work as an ER doctor, now on the frontlines fighting COVID-19. My commitment to service is what compelled me to first run for public office. Every day I wake up ready to serve the people of Boston. But our city is now at a turning point. The pandemic has exposed our vulnerabilities. This moment requires a leader who sees each and every one of you. I’m ready to serve.”
To accompany the launch Santiago unveiled a new website at www.jonsantiago.org, which is already serving as an online organizing hub and a home for every Boston voice to share input, give feedback, and engage in a dialogue with the campaign. In the days ahead, the campaign will be announcing COVID-safe online citywide organizing events.
Santiago’s elected service began in 2019 when he was sworn in as state representative for the 9th Suffolk District. Since then, he has been a leading voice on the COVID-19 response, substance use issues, and vaccine equity across the Commonwealth. He has been appointed Vice Chair of the Joint Committee for COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness Management. He has been a staunch advocate for organized labor as a former member of CIR/SEIU and has championed transportation equity, environmental justice, and economic recovery for small businesses in Boston.
Santiago lives in the South End with his wife, Alexandra.