Townie Tidbits

By Sal Giarratani


When Lydia  Edwards first announced her intentions to run for the District 1 City Council seat following City Councilor Sal LaMattina’s decision to retire from his district council seat, few of the so-called political kingmakers inside the district saw her as a threat to win the seat.

Now looking back, I too wondered about her chances but I had already seen her campaign when she ran for state senate. Her campaign was put together well. She knows her Politics 101. She had good people working with her in that campaign.

Back in the September preliminary, she nearly took the district vote, losing by a razor-thin margin. She did win East Boston and Charlestown, but lost the North End vote pretty badly.

In the final election, she faced Stephen Passacantilli once again. Many wondered about the third candidate in September, Margaret Farmer. Would the Farmer vote add to Edwards’ column. In the end, it did so convincingly.

In the end, Edwards won 52.8 percent of the total vote  and by over 700 votes, too. It clearly is a new day in Boston politics. Edwards wasn’t born here, she’s African American and she is clearly a progressive Democrat. Her opponent is a scion of a legendary political family in Boston’s North End. His grandfather was Freddie Langone from the Boston City Council. His great-grandfather was Joseph A. Langone Jr., the first Italian-American state senator in Massachusetts and his great-grandfather Joseph A. Langone Sr. was the first Italian-American elected as a Massachusetts state representative. Yet in this race this year, none of that meant anything.

Lydia Edwards herself did do good old-fashioned Politics 101 She knocked on 73,000 doors, and had over 500 volunteers working the phones and in the field on her behalf. She also had an incredible young lady by the name of Gabriela  her campaign manager. Coletta is East Boston all the way, born and raised in a family that cherished community involvement.

Shortly before taking off for Texas, I caught up with Gabriela in Day Square and let her know that she was doing an incredible job as a campaign manager and the teamwork of Lydia and Gabby seemed headed in the right direction for the campaign.

I was not surprised when friends back home called me to let me know the election results. I saw it coming. Passacantilli ran a good campaign but Stephen met his match in Lydia Edwards. It was her time to win. Politics is always about timing.

Kudos to all who campaigned for their candidates in this district fight. Politics is about community activism. District 1 is the real Kennedy School of Politics. You find it in the wards and precincts of this diverse political district.

Now the hard work begins as Lydia Edwards prepares for her new role as a District 1 city councilor..

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