Jon Santiago looks to lead by building bridges

Hugo Balta

State Rep. Jon Santiago joins the growing list of people looking to become the next mayor of Boston.

The Puerto Rican native is also an emergency room doctor at Boston Medical Center. “This race is really about electing a mayor who’s going to not only address the acute crisis that is COVID-19 … but what I’m more worried about over the next several years, is what type of Boston bounces back from COVID-19,” Santiago told WBUR.

Santiago says he has always seen Boston as a place of opportunity using his father as an example. “We moved initially to Dorchester, then to Roxbury, and my father was able to actually graduate Northeastern while having a full time job during the day,” he said. “And he was struggling to get by with subsidized housing, Section 8, and relying on government support.

Santiago, 38, is the fourth candidate — and fourth of color, reports the Boston Globe — to declare in a still-malleable field that cracked wide open when President Biden said he would nominate Mayor Martin J. Walsh to be his labor secretary.

“I think this is about the candidate who can have the most appeal to the most neighborhoods,” Santiago said. “I think we bring that — a candidate based on hope and making sure equity is at the [forefront].”

The second-term state representative was first elected to represent the South End and Roxbury in the state legislature in 2018.

Santiago is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves, and served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic.

(Photo Credit: NBC Boston)