City council seat challengers emerge

District, at-large competition kicks off

Jule Pattison-Gordon | 4/26/2017, 10:31 a.m.
With city council applications for nomination papers made available Wednesday, a spread of challengers are emerging, causing the list of ...
Tito Jackson signs nomination papers to run for mayor. Photo: Courtesy Tito Jackson

With city council applications for nomination papers made available Wednesday, a spread of challengers are emerging, causing the list of competitors for the District 7 seat being vacated by Tito Jackson to grow increasingly long. The departures of Councilors Sal LaMattina of District 1 and Bill Linehan of District 2 also have opened the field for several candidates. The at-large councilors, District 8’s Josh Zakim and District 9’s Mark Ciommo, face fights for re-election.

To be on the Sept. 26 primary ballot, candidates must meet the one-year residency eligibility requirement and gather a requisite number of signatures between May 2 and 23. Would-be district councilors need a minimum of 200 signatures from district residents, while at-large councilors must collect at least 1,500 signatures. If enacted, a home rule petition that passed the city council in March would allow voters to sign as many candidates’ papers as desired. Without the new policy, voters will be limited to providing signatures only to up to four at-large candidates and one district candidate.

While candidates were only able to pull municipal election applications starting last week, many set their campaigns in gear weeks and months in advance. Below, the Banner provides an overview of candidates.

District 1

LaMattina has spent eleven years representing Charlestown, the North End, East Boston and Beacon Hill as District 1 councilor. As he retires, among the first to step forward for the seat are East Boston’s Lydia Edwards, the current deputy director of the city’s Office of Housing Stability; Charlestown’s Jack Kelly III, a policy advisor to Councilor Linehan; East Boston’s Michael Sinatra, LaMattina’s chief of staff; and the North End’s Stephen Passacantilli, current director of operations for the Boston Transportation Department and former aide to both LaMattina and Mayor Martin Walsh.

In her city role, Edwards, 36, is responsible for programs aimed at assisting residents who face displacement. Her duties include collecting eviction data, negotiating housing solutions between tenants and landlords and advocating for policies, with the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act as a recent example. Previously, Edwards served as a public interest lawyer with the Greater Boston Legal Services and was received honorable mention as 2015 Bostonian of the Year for her advocacy of immigrant and domestic workers rights. She opened a first-in-the-nation law and policy clinic for domestic workers and was later part of the team that wrote the Massachusetts’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Last year, Edwards made a bid for the state senate seat vacated by Anthony Petruccelli, but lost in the Democratic primary to Joe Boncore. She ranked fourth out of seven primary contenders, nabbing 14.6 percent of the vote, according to state records.

As of her January 2017 filing, Edwards had $10,533 in the campaign coffers established for that race. She has filed a new statement of purpose with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance designating her campaign for the city council race. Her treasurer is Vann Snyder.

Meanwhile, Passacantilli, 41, is a Boston Public Schools parent whose experience includes several years as president of the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council. His grandfather, great-grandfather and great-grandmother all held public positions: city councilor, state senator and immigration commissioner, respectively. Passacantilli formerly served as a special assistant to the mayor’s office. He has yet to file papers for his campaign with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, as of Tuesday morning.