Five Trailblazing Women Mayors in Massachusetts

BLFF Team | Sep 13, 2021


In a historic first, all five candidates in the running for Mayor of the City of Boston (including incumbent Kim Janey) are people of color–four of them identifying as women. Recent polls suggest that after the primary on September 14th the mayor’s race will come down to two women, making this election even more groundbreaking. During this historic moment, let’s reflect on trailblazing women mayors from the past and present in Massachusetts who have paved the way for these four women candidates:


Alice Burke

Initially elected Mayor of Westfield, Massachusetts in 1940, Alice D. Burke was the first woman to be nominated and serve in a mayoral position in Massachusetts. Burke served three terms as Mayor of Westfield: 1940-1943, 1954-1955, and 1958-1959.


Barbara Ackerman

Barbara Ackerman was the first woman elected as Mayor of Cambridge in 1972. Prior to serving as Mayor, Ackerman sat on the Cambridge School Committee starting in 1962, and subsequently was elected to City Council in 1968. Upon completing her term as Mayor in 1973, Ackerman went back to sit on the City Council of Cambridge.


Sumbul Siddiqui

Sumbul Siddiqui was elected Mayor of Cambridge in 2020. Siddiqui is the first Pakistani and Muslim Mayor not only in Cambridge, but all of Massachusetts. During her two terms as Mayor, Siddiqui has focused on issues including but not limited to: climate change, affordable housing, responding to the COVID-19 crisis, mental health services, and others. Siddiqui credits Barbara Ackerman for paving the way for her to achieve this position.


Yvonne Spicer

Yvonne Spicer was elected the first Mayor of Framingham in November of 2017, making her the first Black woman elected as Mayor in Massachusetts. During her time as Mayor, Spicer has focused on transitioning to a city-form of government for Framingham, economic development, improving schools, and responding to the COVID-19 crisis with funding for small businesses and opening testing sites. Spicer is seeking a second term as Mayor of Framingham.


Kim Janey

Kim Janey assumed office as Mayor of Boston on March 22, 2021 making her the first woman and Black person to serve in this position. Prior to serving as Mayor, Janey sat on City Council representing District 7, consisting of Boston neighborhoods Roxbury, Dorchester, South End, and Fenway. During her time as Mayor, Janey launched a pilot program for making the route 28 bus free as well as an increase in down payment assistance on houses from $10,000 to $40,000. Mayor Janey is seeking election in the 2021 Boston Mayoral race.



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