Lifelong East Boston resident Gabriela “Gigi’ Coletta came out on top during Tuesday night’s Special Election Preliminary for the District 1 City Council seat left vacant by Sen. Lydia Edwards and is on her way to City Hall. Coletta will become only the third female to win the seat since it was created in 1983.
“You have heard me say this before, and I will say it again with great pride: I am a daughter of District One. Every opportunity, every relationship, every inch of support – I am so grateful for everything that this community has given me. Together on the campaign trail, we made some ambitious plans together and I meant every word,” said Coletta of her victory. “Charlestown is a special square mile that exemplifies togetherness, community, and camaraderie. This community is so rich with history and legacy, united as generations have stayed and new families have begun, with a common purpose of making this a better place. It has been an honor working with Charlestown on everything from historic preservation to small business development, to strong education and opportunities for our kids. to the day-to-day constituent services that matter so much. Tonight, we celebrate and we may finally get some sleep, but you should know: The work starts right up again for me tomorrow morning. You saw the energy and dedication with which I approached this race, but that was just a hint of what you can expect from me as your next Boston City Councilor. I cannot wait to get started.”
Throughout District 1, which includes Eastie, Charlestown and the North End, Coletta received 57% of the vote with challenger and fellow Eastie resident Tania Del Rio receiving 33% of the vote. The unofficial total Tuesday night had Coletta with 2,799 votes and Del Rio with 1,608 votes.
Coletta won each neighborhood and absolutely crushed the competition in Eastie and Charlestown.
In Eastie she received 1,218 votes (54%) to Del Rio’s 932 votes (41%).
In Charlestown Coletta won handedly with 1,094 votes (63%) while Del Rio received 525 votes (30%).
In the North End, Coletta also bested Del Rio by 336 votes and received 487 votes (52%) overall to Del Rio’s 151 votes (16%). Write-in votes for the North End’s Jorge Mendoza accounted for 32% of the vote in the North End.
Coletta served as Sen. Lydia Edward’s Chief of Staff before leaving Edwards’s City Council staff last summer to become the External Relations Manager at the New England Aquarium.
Before running for the District 1 seat Coletta was leading efforts to ensure the downtown waterfront remains resilient, inclusive, and accessible for all Bostonians by expanding access to the Aquarium and its home on Central Wharf for BIPOC and non-English speaking individuals and families.
Prior to becoming Edwards’s Chief of Staff, Coletta led Edwards’s successful and historic campaign in 2017 as campaign manager. As Campaign Manager Coletta activated and mobilized a grassroots campaign consisting of a broad coalition of residents, unions, volunteers, and advocacy groups numbering over 500 people – all of whom felt disenfranchised by the political establishment. In the end Coletta’s work helped elect Edwards as the first African-American woman to represent District 1.
After the election Coletta was appointed by Edwards as her Chief of Staff. There she centered and amplified the lived experiences of those systemically overlooked in every policy discussion, constituent case, and civic engagement initiative. She spent the entirety of her tenure in the neighborhoods of Eastie, the North End and Charlestown, understanding constituents’ concerns to build bridges between differing populations.
Prior to Edward’s 2017 victory, Coletta was Rep. Adrian Madaro’s Community Liaison where she sat shoulder-to-shoulder with community members for years listening and learning about their priorities. She served as Madaro field director during his successful 2015 special election campaign.
Coletta was elected as the Democratic State Committeewoman for the 1st Suffolk and Middlesex district in 2016 and to the Ward 1 Democratic Committee in 2020.
She was also the Associate Director of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (MWPC), where she furthered MWPC’s mission to recruit, elect, and train women to run for office across Massachusetts while creating strategies to elect endorsed candidates for its Political Action Committee. She has become a frequent guest trainer for Emerge Massachusetts, where she advises women seeking to run for office or manage campaigns for female candidates.
Coletta is a graduate of Boston Latin Academy. She received a degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Boston as well as a minor in Human Rights.
She currently lives in Eastie with her partner, Sebastian Zapata, and in her spare time loves to cook dishes that honor her Italian and Mexican heritage.