Sep 5, 2023 - Politics

Dorchester headed for change with next councilor

Photo: Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald/Getty Images

Dorchester will elect a new district councilor for the first time in 12 years, following the retirement of veteran district councilor Frank Baker.

Why it matters: Baker's retirement makes Dorchester's the only open district seat in the city, guaranteeing another new voice on the council.

Big picture: The next District 3 councilor will grapple with constituent calls to make housing more affordable while balancing the needs of developers and longtime residents.

  • The district is also on the doorstep of the Mass. and Cass area that has become the epicenter of the city's addiction crisis.

What's happening: Seven candidates are running to succeed the popular Baker, who was often seen as a conservative outlier on the council.

What they're saying: Candidate John FitzGerald told the Dorchester Reporter he wants the next council to focus on getting things done instead of a "mentality that one side must be pitted against another."

  • "If we keep that up and refuse to work together to find a compromise, we are only going to continue to fail our constituents," FitzGerald said.
  • Adams Village resident FitzGerald has spent 17 years at City Hall, most recently as part of the city's planning department, and has the backing of Baker, former Mayor Marty Walsh and a slew of labor unions.

Other candidates include Lower Mills' Ann Walsh who led an educational nonprofit and was an aide to former Councilor John Connolly.

  • Matt Patton, a labor attorney and former Elizabeth Warren campaign aide, lives in Savin Hill and wants the city to do more to keep Boston affordable and increase housing without sacrificing neighborhood character.
  • Jennifer Johnson from Meetinghouse Hill is active in civic organizations and says she wants to lower costs for residents forced out by housing expenses.

What's next: The top two finishers in the preliminary election will face off in November.


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