Back Bay’s Jennifer Nassour has joined the cramped race for District 8 City Council. Originally from New York, Nassour moved to Boston in 2000 and has lived in the Back Bay for eight years, where she is raising three daughters.
Nassour’s background is deeply rooted in politics—she became involved when she was 19 years old working at her local village hall getting signatures. When she went to college, she said she decided to change her major from biology to political science. From there, she worked in a whole host of political jobs, ranging from the state senator’s office to being the Young Republican Chair in Nassau County, N.Y. She decided to go to law school, and currently works as a general practice lawyer.
After she moved to Massachusetts, she worked in the Worcester DA’s office, as well as for former Gov. Jane Swift. She also worked for several different law firms, as well as chaired the Massachusetts Republican Party. Nassour said that she felt that women were not engaged enough in the political conversation, so she started an organization that aimed to recruit more moderate women to run for office. She said that she was recruited to be the CEO of a nationwide nonpartisan political coalition that has the same mission—getting more women in office.
Nassour said that when she heard that Josh Zakim would not be seeking re-election, she first asked her daughters what they thought about her running for City Council, and then turned to her friends and neighbors for advice. She said she feels that it is important to have someone who is living in the neighborhoods, raising kids here, and “isn’t leaving anytime soon.”
“These are the issues we deal with everyday,” Nassour said. Her three school-age daughters are not Boston Public School students because there are no close schools for them in her neighborhood, Nassour said, so she felt it was best to send them to independent school.
“There are no real neighborhood schools in the district; nothing close by,” Nassour said. She said that quality public schools are on her list of important issues. Public safety is also on the list—“making sure that our streets are safe, that the homelessness and drug addiction issues are being focused on,” she said. She said that the issue of traffic is not foreign to any neighborhood in the city, and that is something that needs to be addressed as well. She believes that the City Council needs “someone who is listening to the residents and what’s important in their neighborhoods.”
Nassour said she’s been out talking to the community about the issues that matter to them. “Everyone has something a little bit different,” she said. In Beacon Hill, she said people have complained about the trash that doesn’t necessarily get picked up right away. “It gets picked through and tourists throw their trash on neighbor’s trash, promoting rats,” she said. In the Back Bay, she said she noticed that people were concerned about cars speeding up and down the roads, so they would need things like speed bumps and “figuring out a way to help traffic.” People are also concerned about needles in open space and Nassour strongly believes that is something that needs to be addressed.
“No issue is too big or too small,” Nassour said. She said that her resume and years of experience set her apart from the other candidates. “I have had years and years of experience working in a legislative capacity, running nonprofits, sat on numerous boards,” she said, adding that she’s also been able to view and participate in the budgeting process as well.
As an “invested parent in the city,” Nassour said she wants her kids to be able to come back to the city run the future to a “hospitable and affordable place for them to come to,” and she wants to be part of making that a possibility.