Written by Maureen Dahill
The race for the First Suffolk Senate seat is underway and as a candidate, I know I can prove to voters that I am the right person for the job. I am a lifelong South Boston resident who has contributed to the welfare and well-being of my neighborhood. I am a political outsider and the work I have done for my neighborhood and this city has been for the purest of reasons. I did not enter this race to advance my political career. I entered this race because I believe I can make a difference for all of the people in the district. The dedication and passion I have demonstrated in my work in the community transcends neighborhood boundaries. Ultimately, we are all people who want to live in a safe and vibrant community.
In the three short days since announcing my candidacy, this race for the Senate seat seems to be heading toward an “us” versus “them” confrontation. We are lucky to live in a wonderfully diverse district that needs a senator that will not let us be defined by our differences, but rather united by our common challenges. We need a senator that will bridge our divides and lead us to face those challenges together, such as ensuring safe neighborhoods with clean parks and playgrounds and providing excellent schools where our children’s needs are met. We need a senator that will work with the community to insist on a good quality of life for our elderly citizens and make sure local businesses flourish.
I have received a generous outpouring of support and encouragement from many circles. I have also been pressured by some not to run for the seat held so successfully by Jack Hart, someone I admire. Maybe it’s because I am a woman with no political background or I could split a neighborhood vote. What I do know is those reasons give me conviction to charge forward and compete for the seat. Local media would also have us believe that Dorchester can’t wait to “take” the seat from Southie further provoking a divide. I have talked to voters in South Boston, Dorchester and Mattapan and they are excited about my candidacy. Boston has changed. The district has changed and our neighborhoods have changed. The district now includes Mattapan and Hyde Park, making it an extremely diverse community that reflects the amazing city that is Boston.
I am a working mother married to a Boston Firefighter and we understand the challenges of raising a family in the city. We have a teenage daughter at Boston Latin School and two sons in Catholic school. I did not take my decision to enter this race lightly. I am leaving a full-time job in the private sector, to pursue a career as a public servant because I believe I can make difference. I have a strong work ethic instilled in me by my father, a retired State Trooper, that challenges me to work hard and give my best effort every day. After graduating from Mount St. Joseph Academy in Brighton, I continued my education down the road at Boston College. After my daughter Grace was born, I went back to school and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College while opening a vintage clothing store that won Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston Award in 2000. From being a small business owner, I realized the importance of volunteering and being actively involved with the local institutions and charities. I organized and supported numerous successful fundraisers for organizations including Julie’s Family Learning Program, The Laboure and Saint Peter Academy. In 2009, I founded the online neighborhood magazine, Caught in Southie, which has become a popular resource for the community as well as a vehicle for promoting small independent businesses. In 2010, I won the South Boston Citizens’ Association Jimmy Kelly Shamrock Award for my “dedication, leadership and steadfast commitment” to the community. Anyone that knows me or has worked with me in the community, understands that my commitment is tireless. These life experiences will help me navigate the political landscape of the First Suffolk District.
Before you pledge your vote or support to anyone, ask them what they have to offer the First Suffolk District. Do they face the same problems you and I do everyday? First in is not first to win. I look forward to meeting all of you in your neighborhoods and the opportunity to hear your concerns and ideas. From Mattapan Square, to Lower Mills, to Neponset, to Fields Corner, to Uphams Corner, to Savin Hill, to Andrew Square, to Fort Point, to the Waterfront to City Point, we all want the same from our elected officials; to move our communities forward. I urge voters in the First Suffolk District to vote for the candidate that you believe will best represent you and your families. It would be my honor and privilege to serve you.