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City Council at-Large

Wild Cards

On Tuesday, you will not only vote for mayor of Boston but you’ll vote for four City Council al-Large candidates.  There are the top four after the primary (Pressley, Flaherty, Murphy and Wu) and then there are the bottom four – one of these candidates might just be the Wild Card that pushes out one of the top 4.  Here is a little Q&A with three of the wild cards – Jack Kelly, Annissa Essaibi-George, and Jeff Ross.

 

 

 

 

Jack Kelly

What do you bring to the table that none of the other candidates do?
I bring to the table an unwavering commitment to Boston’s most vulnerable populations.  I’ve actually been on the margins of this city.  At 16 years old I got addicted to Oxycontin.  Soon after that, I was homeless, an addict, and getting arrested.  I know how hard it is to break that cycle, and I know as a City Councilor I could do more to help those who suffer from addiction, poverty, or mental health problems.  I’ve been sober for 10 years, but there are too many who do not make it out alive.  I know that could have been me.  That perspective and my commitment to helping those who are still struggling make me unique in this race.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
Ten years ago I walked out of an abandoned building I had slept in the night before, got clean, got sober, and got my life back on track.  When I think about all those lives lost and ruined through cycles of addiction, crime, and disease, I feel so lucky for having made it.  However, I know that I did not deserve my good fortune any more than the thousands of Bostonians who do not get so lucky.  So, what I really want my proudest accomplishment to be is helping others in our city who need a second chance, and breaking the cycles before they start. 

I began that work while serving Mayor Menino as the Neighborhood Liaison for Charlestown and then while working to reduce rates of HIV and Hepatitis C at Mass General Hospital. Now, as a candidate for City Council At-Large, I’m proud to have come so far in the last ten years.  But, that pride is only meaningful if I can use this platform to fight every day for those facing the challenges that I faced.

Why should people vote for you?
People should vote for me because I will not allow the Council or our next Mayor to ignore the issues that make our neighborhoods unhealthy.  When we talk about good schools, I will be there to remind everyone schools and students can’t succeed when our kids return to communities where they are malnourished and surrounded by drugs and violence.  When we discuss Boston’s economic successes, I will be the voice on the Council that advocates for the communities in Boston that are not sharing in the city’s prosperity.  There are too many residents in this city for whom Boston’s success is something they read about, but don’t experience.  As a City Councilor, I will always be honest and a leader on issues of poverty and addiction because I know what it’s like to feel lost and unaccounted for in this city. 

 

Annissa Essaibi-George

What to you bring to the table that none of the other candidates do?
I bring the perspective of a mother (4 boys including triplets) and of a teacher (12 years East Boston High School) and a small business owner. I think that those experiences give me the most unique lens to view the City. As a City Councilor At-Large, I can really help those trying to navigate school issues and I know ways to improve the schools (and realize the work that needs to happen in high schools especially). Owning my own business means I know the reality of the struggle of starting, sustaining and developing a successful business and I can help those that are trying to do the same. I am also very civically active in community building. I am a former Civic Association President and on the Board of Directors for the Dorchester House Health Center. All of these are important experiences that I bring to the table.

??What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment was running my first road race. Although I have always been athletic and active, I have never been a runner or into endurance sports. I wanted to participate in the “Run to Home Base” 9K so I could cross home plate at Fenway park. I began training and on Mother’s Day 2010 I ran a short road race (3.5miles) and I cried crossing the finish line. It was an incredible feat for me. To make a decision to train, sign up and then run and finish was incredibly gratifying. And what a great gift it is to work hard to do something and be able to “check it off the list!”

Why should people vote for you?
I believe I am the best candidate for the Boston City Council At-Large race because I have a lifetime of achievements that demonstrate my ability to get things done for Boston. I am also fully invested in Boston. My husband and I grew up here and we are committed to raising our children here. My business and career are also here. I have insights into education, business and community that will make me an effective advocate for Boston residents.

Jeff Ross

What to you bring to the table that none of the other candidates do?
My family unit is biracial and socioeconomically stratified, and I’ve had to work my whole life to bridge those divides. I have a history of breaking down barriers between community be it advocating for CORI reform, against sexual violence and to protest exclusion from the South Boston Parade of the LGBT community. I am an openly gay man who has been active across neighborhoods while also serving at-risk populations as a multilingual immigration lawyer. I have a passion for working on social justice issues in both my personal and professional life and know what it’s like to grow up in a family that struggles to make ends meet. I’m also elected to the Democratic State Committee from the 2nd Suffolk Senate District.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
I’m most proud of my two kids and that they have been able to achieve academically. Both of my kids are teenagers in the public schools and they are strong students and engaged in extracurricular activities. As a father, that’s exactly what you hope for. On a community level, I’m proudest about the bridges and relationships I’ve been able to build across the city with people from diverse backgrounds. I’m elected to a majority-minority senate district and that relationship development is important to me – I know that I don’t just talk about bringing communities together, I have experience doing that work over the past 20 years.

Why should people vote for you?
I want to make a difference in the lives of Boston families and we need new ideas and fresh perspectives in order to continue to make progress in every community. I will work to improve quality of life issues from things as simple as beautification programs in our business centers to tackling the issue of gun violence. I’m a community gardener and pet owner, and as simple as it may sound, I will work to create more green space and dog parks to support recreation across every neighborhood in Boston. I believe in creating more opportunities for our young people and creating access to educational support for learning disabilities, trauma and English as a second language. I also understand that in order to continue to improve our city and pay for the services our communities need, that we need to find innovative ways to ensure that economic development continues.

Martin Keogh

What do you bring to the table that none of the other candidates do?
I am not a politician. I am not new Boston nor am I old Boston.  I am just a dad who loves his kids and loves our city. I am an attorney who has helped those without means over the last fourteen years. I also have performed community work and public service for as long as I can remember.  Public service is my priority and passion.  I didn’t jump into the city council race because I caught the bug. I got into the race because our schools, streets and city need someone who is sincere, who has a track record, about making things better.  I got into this race because I am a family man who faces the same problems as everybody else, and who knows how to get things done. I am running because I care about moving our city forward for my kids, and yours.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment? It’s a tie, and my wife will agree with me on this.  Our son Nolan and our new daughter Penelope. It’s all about our kids.

Why should people vote for you?
I bring experience, energy and ideas to the council that will move our city forward. I have a plan to make our public schools better, our streets safer and our neighborhoods cleaner and greener. I am an attorney, a successful business owner, a person who has taken care of his parents and person who cares about our environment. But, without a doubt, my kids are the number one reason why people should vote for me. It is them that drive me to make this city the best, safest, cleanest and affordable city it can be.

Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 5th. 

 

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.

Features

City Council- At- Large

Written by Terri Ogan

Hey Southie residents – it’s time: Time to vote!  The 2011 Municipal Elections are coming up so Caught in Southie is giving you some information on this year’s candidates for Councilor-At-Large.  Make sure you exercise your right and head down to your local poll on Monday November 8 and vote!

Felix G. Arroyo:  Born in Hyde Park, candidate Felix G. Arroyo is currently the Field Director at Northeast Action.  A firm believer in “collaborative politics,” Felix is coordinating a New England-wide campaign to gain universal healthcare under the Obama Administration.   The UMass Boston grad has gained political experience working for the Boston City Council in Councilor Turner’s office as well as working on five City of Boston budgets.  Felix is also a volunteer youth baseball coach in his community, an elected board member of the Jamaica Plain Community Centers and the Vice Chair of Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council.  Felix currently resides in Jamaica Plain with his wife Jasmine and wants to work with city communities to “build a better Boston.”

John R. Connolly: Known as the highest “vote-getter” in 2009, John R. Connolly was first elected to an At-Large City Council in November 2007.  Currently residing in West Roxbury with his wife Meg and two children Clare, 3, and Teddy, 2, John serves on the board of directors for Meridian Academy, the Board of Visitors for College Bound Dorchester, and is a Member of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program-DMH Team-Integrated Care Project Community Advisory Group.  He has been a lawyer since 2001 engaging in ample pro-bono work providing free service to an abundance of community-based organizations, such as Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD).  Connolly believes that “Boston’s future hinges on a commitment to improving our schools and to making Boston the greenest city in the world.”

Will Dorcena: Born and raised in Dorchester, Will Dorcena values hard work, equality, showing respect for others, and standing up for others.  As a true leader in his community, Will has been a trustee at Boston College High School, Catholic Schools Foundation and Roxbury Community College, among others.  Will has brought his parents’ Haitian roots to his doorstep as the co-founder and publisher of The Boston Haitian Reporter, which is a monthly newspaper that reports on the happenings of the Haitian community in Boston. Will lived in Dorchester until he was 32-years-old and attended St. Kevin School and Boston College High School.  He then attended Boston College and earned his Master’s degree at Babson College.  Will currently lives in Hyde Park with his wife and daughter.

Michael F. Flaherty: Growing up in South Boston, Michael F. Flaherty was surrounded by civil servants, union members and teachers and prides his work on helping others and acting responsibly in his community.  His childhood experiences proved beneficial, as Michael became a public servant himself as an assistant district attorney at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.  He is currently engaged in the community through his Kitchen Table Conversations Tour, in which he aims to garner a better understanding of how Boston residents want their city to improve.   In his earlier years Michael attended Boston College High School and proceeded to earn his Bachelor’s degree at Boston College, followed by a law degree at Boston University Law School.  He served on the Boston City Council from 2000-2009 and as Council President from 2002-2006. Michael resides in South Boston with his wife, Laurene, and their four children.

Stephen J. Murphy:  The Dorchester-born businessman first made his mark on the Boston City Council in 1997 where he took office as an At-Large member.  Stephen lead the way for the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reform and as part of his push for tax fairness, he also proposed changes to the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program.  To ensure the safety of Boston pedestrians, Stephen was the man who paved the way for the installation of crosswalk countdown lights.   He attended the Boston Latin School and Stonehill College where he earned his degree in Business Administration.  Stephen hopes to use his ample experience in finance and business to improve the city of Boston during economic hardships.
Ayanna S. Pressley: As the only woman in the running, Ayanna S. Pressley has made her mark as a female candidate.  She was previously elected to the Boston City Council in 2009 and became the first woman of color to serve in the history of the Boston City Council.  As chair of the Committee on Women and Healthy Communities, Ayanna is devoted to stabilizing families and communities, reducing and preventing violence and fighting poverty.  The committee also aims to prevent domestic and child violence and abuse, bullying, substance abuse, homelessness and hunger, all of which continue to plague our society.  As an active member of her community, Ayanna is a board member of the Action for Boston Community Development, College Bound Dorchester, Diamond Girls, Fenway Advisory Board, McGrath House, My Life, My Choice and the UMASS Boston Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy.  Ayanna has ample political experience working as Senator Kerry’s Political Director, and as the Senior Aide for Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II. She hopes to continue her work engaging with the youth and improving Boston communities.

 

Ayanna S. Pressley: As the only woman in the running, Ayanna S. Pressley has made her mark as a female candidate.  She was previously elected to the Boston City Council in 2009 and became the first woman of color to serve in the history of the Boston City Council.  As chair of the Committee on Women and Healthy Communities, Ayanna is devoted to stabilizing families and communities, reducing and preventing violence and fighting poverty.  The committee also aims to prevent domestic and child violence and abuse, bullying, substance abuse, homelessness and hunger, all of which continue to plague our society.  As an active member of her community, Ayanna is a board member of the Action for Boston Community Development, College Bound Dorchester, Diamond Girls, Fenway Advisory Board, McGrath House, My Life, My Choice and the UMASS Boston Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy.  Ayanna has ample political experience working as Senator Kerry’s Political Director, and as the Senior Aide for Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II. She hopes to continue her work engaging with the youth and improving Boston communities.
He still lives in South Boston with his wife Laurene and their four children.

Sean H. Ryan:  As a firm believer in schools, safety and services, Sean H. Ryan hopes to reduce taxes, provide drug and violence resolutions and unite neighborhood schools and classrooms.  Sean has attended Boston public schools in Roxbury, Dorchester and Jamaica Plain including Boston Latin High School.  Following his teen years he earned his undergraduate degree at the prestigious Harvard University.  Sean exercises his creativity as a musician and is also a teacher and a member of the Boston Teachers Union.  He was born and raised in Jamaica Plain and still lives there today.

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.