City Councilor Lydia Edwards said last week that after an incredible first year as the District 1 councilor, she will pass up running in the crowded at-large Council race and pursue re-election to District 1.
“I’m running for re-election and I want this job,” she said. “I’m not interested in at-large. I’m interested in this job and am lucky to have it. I am only interested in being District 1 city councilor.”
Edwards made the declaration this week after releasing her one-year report that analyzed what she had done over her first year in office throughout each community in the district.
“It’s been an exciting first year in Charlestown,” she said. “I feel lucky to be supported by the people in Charlestown to push and continue to push for more for us…I feel I tried my best to deliver on the campaign promise to bring in community-led development. I really tried to do that and make sure the community has a voice in what’s being done.”
Some of the things she listed as accomplishing were pushing back on the Zoning Commission on building heights, having the open hearings on One Charlestown and looking into the lease at the Little Mystic.
However, beyond the professional, Edwards said she feels at home in Charlestown and has been humbled by the numbers of people who have requested her presence at solemn moments, such as funerals. She said she has learned just being present and being there for people is as important a role as being an advocate and legislator.
“One thing I’ve learned is that a very important part of this job is being present,” she said, noting that she has been humbled by being asked to be at funerals, wakes, and even weddings. “I did not expect that to be an impactful part of this job. I tend to think my degrees or my ability to argue a point would be the most important thing. However, being there for people at these moments has been extremely important. I get a sense of coming home when I go to Charlestown. It’s becoming second nature.”
The highlight moment for her this year, she said, was the fact that the community has never tried to exclude others. She said this was evidenced at a One Charlestown meeting when a long-time Townie stood up and spoke to the Turn It Around youth group, many of whom lived in the Bunker Hill Development, and said they were all one.
“He stood up at that hearing and turned around the kids and said, ‘You are Townies too,’” she said. “That was a beautiful moment I thought.”
At City Hall, Edwards reported that she has found success in working with other councilors and getting legislation passed and/or in the spotlight.
One piece of legislation, the tax relief ordinance for the elderly, has been in conjunction with new District 2 Councilor Ed Flynn, the son of former Mayor Ray Flynn. Edwards said she knew several of the female councilors like Michelle Wu, Andrea Campbell and Ayanna Pressley, and figured she would work well with them, but never expected to strike up such a bond with Flynn – who represents South Boston, Bay Village, South End and Chinatown.
“I hate to be so assuming, but I did assume I would bond with and get to know some of the women on the Council that I knew and had worked with,” she said. “Eddie was a shocker for me. He is amazing to work with…Talk about two different Bostons becoming very good friends. I look forward to working with all the councilors, but Ed and I have forged a bond.”
In the coming year, Edwards said she will continue working on development and some of the other issues that were started in her first year.
“There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done,” she said. “However, a big lesson I’ll carry forward is that it’s important being present and returning phone calls.”