By Beth Treffeisen
This past February, Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan a life-long resident of South Boston announced that he will not seek a sixth term for District 2. By creating a rare open seat on the Council, this might spark a generational shift in leadership in some of the City’s most rapidly evolving neighborhoods.
Boston City Council, District 2, covers the neighborhoods of South Boston, South End, Bay Village and Chinatown.
Running for the seat so far, is Corey Dinopoulos of South Boston, Ed Flynn of South Boston, Michael Kelley of Bay Village, Frank Ulip of downtown Boston and Peter Lin-Marcus of Chinatown.
Ed Flynn, a South Boston Community activist, Navy veteran and son of former Mayor Ray Flynn, hopes to work hard to represent every resident of District 2.
“Each corner of the district is unique, but we all share common triumphs and challenges,” said Flynn in a press release. “As City Councilor, I will be a tireless advocate working to improve the Boston Public Schools, ensuring our communities are safe and sustainable, combating the opiate epidemic impacting our neighborhoods, and making sure residents have a strong voice when it comes to development.”
Flynn is known for his many years of public services across Boston including being involved as a youth sports coach, veteran’s advocate and playing a large role in ensuring that all people, including LGBT veterans, are able to participate in the annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Dinopoulos a 12-year resident of South Boston, said that he has been thinking about running for a while but never felt like he had the right amount of experience until now.
Over his time here in the community, he has walked the streets, talked to neighbors and been civically engaged.
“Now I feel like I’m more tuned into the voice and the concerns we’re hearing in the community,” said Dinopoulos. “I finally feel like I can speak out for the residents that need help.”
He hopes to take his experience of a designer, innovator and problem solver and apply it to re-imagining how the City can work together to solve civic challenges.
In addition, he knows that these neighborhoods have been going through a lot of change and wants to work towards innovating ideas to tackle the rising cost of living, public transportation, and access to quality education.
In the past, Dinopoulos was part of the Boston 2024 campaign to bring the Olympics here to Boston. Although that was not a success, he said, that he learned a lot from that experience on how to better engage community feedback into the process.
“I want to be the voice of the residents,” said Dinopoulos. “The District needs a new face. I may not be political but I know the community really well.”
Across the way in Bay Village, Kelley, a longtime South Ender and resident to this area, also hopes to get his foot in the race. He will be issuing a formal District 2 City Council campaign announcement and event information in the upcoming weeks.
“With all that is happening in Washington, I am passionate about rededicating our efforts on the local front, where together we can make a real difference,” said Kelley in a statement. “It’s no secret how much I care about the people and quality of life in our diverse district.”
Currently living in the Bay Village, Kelley is the founder of Hire Me Local, a start-up dedicated to connecting local people to local services, has past experience in working with the City of Boston as director of Rental Housing Resources, and was the campaign manager and later staffer of former Mayor Thomas Menino.
“I am ready to put my skills and experience from a decade of working in the Mayor’s office together with my entrepreneurial spirit from owning my own businesses to work for all of the people, in every neighborhood across the entire district,” said Kelley.
From Chinatown, Lin-Marcus the director of The Lean Force also has announced his bid for the seat. The Lean Force worked to create a multi-million dollar grant for a gateway city that focused on bringing people together with quality improvement practices, entrepreneurship, and local ownership.
In the past he has worked as a fellow in the Ed Markey Campaign and is an alumnus of City Year, which works to help students in urban schools succeed.
Ulip, who lives and works in District 2 as an employee at Clavis Insight a venture backed Software Company in Fort Point, also hopes to make change in local politics.
With his background, Ulip hopes to find the solutions needed to make Boston a city that attracts top tier talent and becomes global leader in innovation.
He has also served on the executive committee of Minds Matter, a non-profit committed to making college education a reality for accomplished low-income families in the greater Boston area.
According to his website, Ulip is “running this campaign, in part, to solve the problems facing our city and to offer a new prospective on the Council.”
Although all these candidates have registered with the state, it does not mean that they will be on the September preliminary ballot. In order to run for District Councilor, you need 200 certified signatures of registered voters in the district to run.
The City does not release formal petitions for the City Council races until May. The preliminary municipal election will take place September 26, 2017.