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Old 02-10-2009, 08:41 AM   #1
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Ellis South End President Running for DiMasi's Seat

From UHub:

Susan Passoni, president of the Ellis South End neighborhood association, is running for the seat vacated by Sal DiMasi.

From her announcement letter:

"I have given this considerable thought and my decision is a result of my continued desire and passion to help affect change in the areas that are of greatest interest to me and are critical to the future of Massachusetts: education, affordable housing and economic growth. These are of course all related; as a Commonwealth we cannot possibly have economic expansion without industry; we can not attract industry without a growing, well educated population, and we can not keep smart and talented residents, college graduates and professionals if there is no affordable housing."

Any one else feel like the above statement is at odds with what we actually see coming out of the Ellis group?
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Old 02-12-2009, 05:00 PM   #2
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Re: Ellis South End President Running for DiMasi's Seat

Also running: a baker, a biker, a candlestick maker.

So far there are four announced candidates: Susan Passoni, Lucy Rivera, Aaron Michlewitz, and this new guy, who works part-time as a host at Tremont 647 / Sister Sorel.

All four will run for the Democrat spot while no one, as of yet, will run for the Republican spot. Still looking for an unenrolled candidate to jump in at the last second!

South Enders vie to succeed DiMasi
by Laura Kiritsy

Thursday Feb 12, 2009

The field of candidates vying in the special election for the 3rd Suffolk District House seat has grown with the addition of two South Enders to the race.

Political newcomer Ryan Higginson of Tremont Street and Chandler Street resident and civic activist Susan Passoni, who has waged two unsuccessful bids for the District 2 City Council seat, have both announced campaigns to succeed Sal DiMasi, the North End Democrat and former House speaker who resigned from the seat he held for 30 years last month.

The two will compete in a May 19 Democratic primary contest that thus far also includes North End resident Aaron Michlewitz, DiMasi?s former constituent services director (See "DiMasi departs, potential successors surface," Jan. 28) and attorney Lucy Rivera of Beacon Hill. The general election is scheduled for June 16.

Higginson, who works in human resources at Suffolk University, said he was inspired to run for office by his involvement with the Young Bostonian Advisory Council, which was created by Mayor Thomas Menino in an effort to encourage civic engagement among the city?s 20-34 age group, which accounts for about one-third of the population in Boston.

"The community building aspect of [the council] is really what inspired me to move on to this next level," said Higginson, who lamented the transient nature of many younger Bostonians, who often move to the city to attend college then stick around to start their careers. "Most of them are not really getting involved in their neighborhoods," said the candidate, a former North End resident who has lived in the South End for a little over two years.

"There?s just so much that can happen when you get to know your neighbors," he said.

Higginson said his priorities as a legislator would be economic development and environmental issues, which he pointed out are now intertwined as the city looks to stimulate the economy with building projects, thus presenting an opportunity to incorporate green technology into new developments.

Passoni, the president of the Ellis South End Neighborhood Association based her decision to run on the same passion for public service that fueled her city council bids in 2005 and 2007.

"My decision really comes down to a continued desire and interest and passion to help effect change in areas that are of greatest interest to me, and more important, that are really critical to the future of Massachusetts - and that?s education, affordable housing and economic growth," she said. "You can?t possibly have economic expansion if you don?t have industry; you can?t attract industry if you don?t have a growing, well-educated population; you can?t keep smart and talented residents, college grads and professionals if there?s no affordable housing. ... I feel this is a great opportunity to try to work on those initiatives at a state level."

Passoni also believes her financial background - she is a former Goldman Sachs financial analyst and was a director of Credit Suisse First Boston - is an asset in the current economic climate.

"I worked for 20 years with major corporations on financing strategies and also strategic opportunities and I also worked with them to analyze their income statements and how to build revenue and cut costs," she explained. "To be honest with you I can?t think of a better time in our state to have someone in the legislature - or a group of people - with a strong financial background and skill set."

The 3rd Suffolk District includes a portion of the South End along with Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Chinatown and the North End. After 30 years of representation by a North End resident, both candidates acknowledged that they?ll have to work harder to overcome the perception that the neighborhood has a lock on the seat.

"I think anyone would have to see that as an obstacle," said Higginson. "I think the place it would be the biggest obstacle is the North End."

However, Higginson added that while the neighborhoods in the district are distinct, there is much common ground, particularly around economic issues.

"This is not going to be a slam dunk by any stretch of the imagination," Passoni acknowledged of pulling out a win on primary day.

To that end, it?s a good thing she likes cannoli, a staple of the North End diet, where no doubt both she and Higginson will have to spend a lot of time meeting voters.

"I love cannoli," she laughed. "That?s the bad thing. I don?t want two cannoli thighs."

Passoni?s previous political campaigns may give her an edge over her competitors, given that about half of City Council District 2 overlaps with the 3rd Suffolk, which means Passoni already has a base of support in the district. She won the South End vote in both of her council races; in the 2007 race she topped the ticket in a seven-person preliminary contest.

"I?m coming into the race with a pretty strong, or good, base because part of this district, the 3rd Suffolk, half of it I?ve already run in before. That was another factor [in deciding to run] ... when I looked at the numbers I said, ?This is a good thing.?"
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