Field of District 1 City Council Candidates Begins to Take Shape

By John Lynds

The announcement last week that longtime District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina would not seek reelection this fall has led to several potential candidates from Charlestown, East Boston, and the North End eyeing the open seat.

Already, two candidates from Eastie, one from the North End and one candidate from Charlestown have reported they would run for the District 1 seat, and others are strongly considering a run, but haven’t yet made any decisions.

In Charlestown, Jack Kelly has made his announcement to run official this week. Kelly is a local entrepreneur who most recently worked to tackle substance abuse in the city as a staffer for South Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan.

Kelly, born and raised in Charlestown, ran for At-Large City Council and did well among voters in the District, but finished just out of the money. This time, he hopes to represent Charlestown and the rest of the district at City Hall.

“I would like to thank Sal LaMattina for his service to Charlestown, East Boston and the North End,” said Kelly. “I plan on running to fulfill his seat. I look forward to hearing from voters throughout District 1. It would be honor to serve Charlestown, East Boston and the North End.”

Meanwhile, Jim Lister of Charlestown, a financial wealth manager, Chamber of Commerce leader and life-long Charlestown resident, said he is strongly considering a run. He said he has been approached by numerous people over the last week inside and outside of the Town encouraging him to run. Lister has a young family and is very involved in supporting local non-profits, and he said he has to weigh his family and non-profit obligations before making a decision.

“It’s a great time for Charlestown to get greater representation at City Hall,” he said this week. “I’d be excited to represent Charlestown, East Boston and the North End. I am certainly giving it a strong consideration right now. I have a two-year-old son and I’m a family first and foremost person. I want to make sure it balances with my family and the non-profits I represent in Charlestown. There are some big things to consider, but I plan to make a decision soon.”

In Eastie, LaMattina’s Chief of Staff Michael Sinatra and Mayor Martin Walsh’s head of the Office of Housing Stability, Lydia Edwards, said they would run. In the North End Stephen Passacantilli, a former Walsh advisor, said he was throwing his hat into the race.

Sinatra, a lifelong Eastie resident, has spent the past four years working for LaMattina.

“I have decided to run for the District 1 City Council seat,” said Sinatra. “I have spent the last four years on Councilor LaMattina’s staff handling many issues throughout the entire district, with proven results. I was promoted to Chief of Staff after a short time because of my successful track record and I feel that my work speaks for itself. If I am successful in winning the seat I will continue the work that I have been doing, making sure the day to day, nuts and bolts of basic city services are addressed. This job entails a relentless pursuit of servicing each and every one of our constituents, which I have been proud to do for my entire tenure working for the Councilor. I look forward to this campaign and wish each of the candidates the best of luck.”

Edwards, who ran for State Senate following former Eastie Sen. Anthony Petruccelli’s departure from office, got appointed last year by Mayor Walsh to head his newly-formed Office of Housing Stability.

“Income inequality is the challenge of our time,” said Edwards. “People need an advocate to help them stay in their homes. For the families that have called Boston home for generations, and for recent immigrants who’ve come here in search of a better life, our neighborhoods need innovative solutions to the housing crisis and wage stagnation that threatens our way of life. I want to fight for East Boston, Charlestown and the North End. And I can’t wait to partner with my neighbors to make our vision of an inclusive Boston into a reality.”

Passacantilli, a lifelong North Ender who served as a close advisor to Mayor Walsh at the beginning of his administration, comes from a long line of politicians that included his maternal grandfather, former At Large City Councilor Frederick Langone. Langone served 11 terms on the Council from 1961 to 1971 and again from 1973 to 1983. Langone’s grandfather, Joseph Langone, was a state legislator; his father, Joseph A. Langone, Jr., was a state senator; his brother, Joseph A. Langone III, was a state representative; and his mother, Clementina Langone, was a civic leader who served as vice chairman of the Democratic State Committee.

“As a Boston Public Schools parent raising a family in the city I understand the issues that impact families and seniors in our neighborhoods every day,” said Passacantilli. “I grew up in the District, and I’ve always had a passion for public service and government. I want to use this experience to represent all residents of East Boston, Charlestown, and the North End on the Boston City Council.”

Other names being floated around include East Boston’s Margaret Farmer and Jason Ruggiero.

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