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It's Menino, again: Ayanna Pressley changes face of City Council

Associated Press | 11/4/2009, 5:46 a.m.
In this Oct. 27, 2009, file photo, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, left, stands with Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree Jr., debate moderator at center, and Michael Flaherty, right, before a mayoral debate between Menino and Flaherty in Boston. Menino, seeking an unprecedented fifth consecutive four-year term, is favored to win the Nov. 3 election. AP file /Lisa Poole

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Mayor Thomas Menino appealed to African American voters during a recent stop at 106. 1 FM radio station in Grove Hall. Tony Irving photo     Candidates vying for an a

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lix G. Arroyo, Doug Bennett, John Connolly, Robert Fortes, Tomas Gonzalez, Tito Jackson, Andrew Kenneally, Stephen Murphy, Hiep Nguyen, Ayanna Pressley, Sean Ryan, Jean-Claude Sanon, Bill Trabucco, Scotland Willis. The 15th candidate, Ego Ezedi, appeared at the event earlier in the evening, but was not present for the forum. Sandra Larson file photo

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or for U.S. Sen. John Kerry, made history as the first black woman elected to the City Council, pulling in 41,847 votes, according to the Election Department’s unofficial results. Nancy Rousseau, a career counselor who lives in Mattapn, said Pressley’s win signals a new day in Boston. “It definitely signifies real change,” Rousseau said. “I


Ayanna Pressley, a former aide to U.S. John Kerry, became the first African American woman to serve as a city councilor in Boston.
t-large seat on Boston’s City Council participate in a forum at the Harriet Tubman House in the South End on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009. (From left): Felix G. Arroyo, Doug Bennett, John Connolly, Robert Fortes, Tomas Gonzalez, Tito Jackson, Andrew Kenneally, Stephen Murphy, Hiep Nguyen, Ayanna Pressley, Sean Ryan, Jean-Claude Sanon, Bill Trabucco, Scotland Willis. The 15th candidate, Ego Ezedi, appeared at the event earlier in the evening, but was not present for the forum.

Boston voters for the first time elected a black woman to the City Council and sent Mayor Thomas Menino back to office for an unprecedented 5th term in Tuesday’s balloting.

Ayanna Pressley, political directt means that there is an opening and that people are starting to embrace real diversity in Boston. For me, it means a qualified woman is going to have a significant impact on the city.”

If voters wanted change on the City Council, they clearly wanted the same in the mayor’s race. Menino fought off the strongest challenge yet by earning 63,123 to City Councilor Michael Flaherty’s 46,768.

Black, Latino and Asian voters played a pivotal role in this year’s election, with two black and two Puerto Rican candidates among the eight at-large city council candidates. At-large and mayoral candidates campaigned heavily for voters of color, maintaining a heavy presence in predominantly black and Latino polling places.

Menino and Flaherty both spent time in Roxbury. Menino held a rally for supporters at Prince Hall in Grove Hall and Flaherty visited polling places in Ward 12. Supporters of the two vied for the steady stream of voters filing into the polling places.

“There’s been a lot of aggressive debating,” said Jumaada Smith, who covered the polls at Boston Latin Academy for Chuck Turner. “People are really standing up for their candidates. It’s was some old-school barbershop talk.”

State Rep. Gloria Fox and state Sen. Sonia Chang Diaz both worked the polls at Boston Latin Academy alongside Smith.

At English High School in Jamaica Plain, Carlos Martinez passed out literature for Flaherty.

“I’ve been in Boston since I was two years old,” said Martinez, who was born in Puerto Rico. “I’m working and I have a good job, but I look around and see a lot of Latinos without jobs. Menino’s had his opportunity for the last 16 years. Enough is enough. We need new ideas.”