Sunday, October 16, 2011

City Council Choices: The Core Four

Boston holds municipal elections on Tuesday, November 8. My district city councilor, Mike Ross, is running unopposed, so the only real choices for me are in the at-large Boston City Council race.

I will be voting for Ayanna Pressley, John Connolly, Felix Arroyo and Steve Murphy. They are the four incumbents in the race, and after evaluating all of the candidates, I believe they are the best people for the job.

Every election, by definition, is a choice. From a high-level perspective, my picks reflect a picture of what Boston looks like today and it will look like in the future. I typically keep the future in mind when I vote; I would like to think most people do. And one other candidate in this year's race-- a former city councilor who wants his old job back-- well, in my opinion he represents too much of a return to the past.

Ayanna Pressley has an impressive paper resume. Born out of state, she was raised by her mother (who tragically passed away earlier this year after a long bout with an illness). Ayanna went to Boston University, and she worked her way through the ranks within the offices of various elected officials, including Senator John Kerry, and it was Kerry who flanked her when we first met. Few Boston politicians her age understand the truly diverse makeup of Boston and the challenges all Boston's residents face. Few can cross the apparent chasms presented by Boston's diversity better than Ayanna.

John Connolly is the hardest working politician I have ever met. He has spent the past several years, including two years after an initial defeat seeking the office he now holds, listening to people all over the City and developing forward-looking (dare I say "progressive") plans for Boston's future. He's taken a leadership with green and environmental issues and the concept of sustainability. He believes, like I do, that Boston's economy will be shaped by the industries that will define the future, and that the time is now to prepare an economic environment that is favorable to those industries.

Above all, what shapes all the politicians receiving my votes is their commitment to the nuts and bolts of constituent service. Felix Arroyo has sent me two cards in the mail when I appeared in the back pages of my neighborhood's weekly newspaper, congratulating me for my professional accomplishments. Steve Murphy is very close to the issues of groundwater refreshment that are so important to my neighborhood and adjacent Back Bay.

The existing four at-large city council candidates seem to get along together. They've claimed the past two years have been very productive. That cooperation and spirit is necessary to tackle the big challenges facing Boston, chief among them the lack of confidence in the city's schools and a consistent mindset among the young and bright that, while Boston is a great place to play, the suburbs are where strong families grow.

I have faith that the current incumbent at-large city councilors are up to the task.

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