For city council

Boston At-Large: Connolly, Murphy, Pressley, Arroyo
By EDITORIAL  |  October 21, 2009

When Boston City Councilors Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon declared their candidacies for mayor many months ago, the duo opened up what is normally a very narrow field for at-large Council candidates.

Despite the challenging state of municipal finances in this painful recession — which means that political expansionism will take a back seat to municipal triage — an exceedingly strong field of candidates entered the race.

That is all for the better. If ever there was a time when good ideas — that is, new approaches to old problems — were needed, it is now.

There are eight candidates seeking four citywide Council seats. It is a shame that voters will only get a chance to cast their ballots for half of the field. Most are impressive. And, in this cynical age, all have a refreshing desire to make a difference.

The two incumbents, JOHN CONNOLLY, 36, of West Roxbury, and STEPHEN MURPHY, 52, of Hyde Park, deserve re-election.

Connolly, who is finishing his first two-year term, has turned in the most impressive citywide debut since Lawrence DiCara, now a full-time lawyer, came to the Council in the seemingly ancient era of 1972.

Connolly has staked out three areas as his special turf: making government more accountable, working for a greener and more energy-efficient city, and — most noteworthy — tackling issues related to education, especially truancy, which drives Boston’s unacceptably high dropout rate.

The authority of a city councilor is narrowly prescribed by the city charter. But whoever is elected mayor would do well to endorse many of Connolly’s thoughtful ideas.

If there were an award for a local politician who has demonstrated the greatest capacity for professional growth, it should go to Murphy.

When Murphy won his seat on the council 12 years ago, he was an old-fashioned, back-slapping pol. In those days, he was more interested in locking up wrongdoers and throwing away the key than in understanding the social roots of urban crime and unrest.

Today he is a committed advocate of CORI reform. That means he wants to change the Criminal Offender Record Information system, which prevents offenders who have served their time from making new lives for themselves.

In addition, Murphy has become the Council’s leading expert on the city’s finances and budget. In these economically challenging times, that makes him a valuable elected official.

Of the political newcomers, we are most impressed with AYANNA PRESSLEY, 35, of Dorchester, and FELIX G. ARROYO, 30, of Jamaica Plain, both of whom combine progressive attitudes with practical know-how.

Pressley learned how government works as a staffer for Senator John Kerry and Congressman Joe Kennedy. She has also been active in a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Pressley speaks passionately about making the city work for everyone. Her commitment is convincing. Her experience, buoyancy, and energy suggest she will be a results-oriented public servant who will use her skills and connections to get things done.

Pressley would also be the first African-American woman ever to serve on the Council — and the first African-American elected to citywide office in Boston in 16 years. Most important, she has the right priorities and basket of skills.

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: The Editorial Page , Elections and Voting, Politics, Boston,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MERCY AND SAL DIMASI  |  March 13, 2013
    When it comes to showing a modicum of mercy to some of those convicted of federal crimes, Barack Obama is shaping up to have the worst track record of any president in recent memory.
  •   NEXT, MARRIAGE EQUALITY  |  March 05, 2013
    On March 27 and 28, the US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in two cases that could essentially put America on the road to full marriage equality.
  •   THUS SPAKE MARKEY  |  February 26, 2013
    Last week, Congressman Ed Markey inadvertently injected some daring political thinking and a touch of historical imagination into the race to fill the US Senate seat vacated by John Kerry's appointment as secretary of state.
  •   DRONES: 10 THOUGHTS  |  February 20, 2013
    Foreign drone attacks are almost (but not quite yet) as American as apple pie.
    America is a prisoner of the War on Terror, which military and diplomatic policy makers once called the Long War.

 See all articles by: EDITORIAL