Jimmy Pereira, 28

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At 28, Jimmy Pereira could be the next mayor of Brockton, Massachusetts. A transportation planner focused on environmental justice, he’s tackled the issues affecting the health of his community. After over half a decade of public service, he’s running to create a more accessible government for Brockton.

What was the best advice you received before you ran for office?

Be honest, be transparent, and prioritize people above all else.

Tell me a little bit about your platform. What are the major issues facing your city that you want to see addressed?

It's an array of issues. I'm a community and transportation planner. So we are focused on infrastructure, economic development, education, and public safety. But to me, the most important thing that we're seeing now is the lack of community, the lack of transparency, honest leadership, innovative leadership, and inclusive leadership. Those are not the values we are seeing in the City of Brockton.

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“Be present, really knock on doors, and go with your gut.”

As a public servant who's been at it for at least half a decade, I know that it's about relationship building, and it's about making people aware of what's going on, and not leaving people in the dark.

You have a degree in Regional Planning, focused on health and environmental justice. How does transportation intersect with health and environment, and how do those intersections affect your work

Environmental justice is how we as human beings impact the environment around us and how that has a consequence to our health. Like how we have a high single occupancy vehicle rate. A lot of people are driving to and from work in their cars, which you usually seat about four people, but they're alone. So the more cars we have on the road, the more greenhouse gas is being emitted to the atmosphere. So we have a high rate of asthma and allergies.

We also have high rate of obesity because we're not living an active and healthy lifestyle. Look at the lack of food access, lack of innovative community gardens, those are things that need community development, transportation, infrastructure development and improvements to help address.

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“Be honest, be transparent, and prioritize people above all else.”

What perspectives do you think are currently missing on your city council? What are you hoping to bring?

So running for mayor has shown me that the community here needs someone that they can relate to, someone who can speak their language, and can relay that to other officials that are working in the region and the Commonwealth. We don't have a spokesperson that's behaving as a liaison. We have someone that's performing as a gatekeeper, that's choosing who they want so long as they can. We need someone that's going to be equal, nonpartisan, unbiased, and bring people to the table.

We're not seeing that now. We're not seeing innovation happen in the city. You see a lot of lip service, but not enough results where people feel that the city moving aggressively forward.

This is the second time you're running for mayor. What do you think is the best lesson you took away from your last campaign, and how are you going to run this one differently?

Be present, really knock on doors, and go with your gut. There was a situation where we found out the debate was set up in a way that the cards were stacked against us. Know that incumbents have more of an influence on certain people and certain organizations.

So it’s making sure that we stick it through no matter what and make sure that we are being present with the people, knocking on doors, and engaging them ever so more than they did last time.

We’ve built an incredible campaign staff and volunteer army that’s dedicated to the future of our city.

Do you think people have any doubts about you as a candidate because of your age?

Yes, I do think that. But we combat that by letting them know I've been working for government for at least over half a decade. I started interning at Commonwealth Corporation my sophomore year of college. I was elected as the first Vice-Chair of the Democratic City Committee, and I have years of experience in urban and regional planning.

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“It will be an uphill battle, but if you've got what it takes to climb up.”

But again, being in public service for over half a decade has taught me how to work with government but also how to work with the community, not just wait for them to come to us. To be able to go to them and bring services and information to them. We are the people, and we need to expand access to government and public services. If elected to mayor, that's what I'll be working for the people wholeheartedly.

What is the best piece of advice you'd give to another young person considering a run for office?

Go for it. Go for it. Go for it. You will hear everybody say won't be easy, it's an uphill battle, and you know, guess what, believe it. It will be an uphill battle, but if you've got what it takes to climb up. You can do it, and don't give up. Don’t wait your turn, the establishment will tell you to wait your turn, but you have the knowledge, skill set, and lived experience to change the lives of so many constituents who are counting on you!

 The views expressed in this interview are those of the candidate, and do not reflect the beliefs and views of Ballot Breakers or its staff.

Lacy Wright