John Moran decided to throw his lot in as a Democrat candidate vying to fill the 9th Suffolk District state representative seat recently vacated by Jon Santiago because he believes the time is now right for him as a 24-year resident of the South End and community advocate in his spare time to commit himself fully to serving his community. “As a state rep representing the South End and parts of Dorchester and Roxbury, I would be able to fully focus on bringing results to the citizens of the 9th Suffolk District,” said Moran, who announced his candidacy during an event on the morning of Thursday, March 9, at Titus Sparrow Park. Born into a large Irish family in Scranton, Pa., Moran was raised by his mother, who volunteered for many organizations, and his stepfather, who served as an elected County Tax Collector for more than 20 years. Moran’s mother and stepfather instilled in him the importance of giving back to his community from a young age, and his commitment to public service took hold when he was attending Earlham College, a small private liberal arts college in Richmond, Ind., as an undergraduate. “Earlham is a Quaker college, so it’s service oriented, and we did volunteer work by virtue in and around the city of Richmond,” he said. After finishing college at Earlham, Moran relocated to the Boston area to attend the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where he studied International Business. He has since worked for Liberty Mutual, Systems Evolution Inc., and Bose. Most recently, Moran has worked for the Cambridge biotech company, Biogen, leading its Continuous Improvement Center for Excellence, an internal consulting group that, he said, “helps staff change and adapt to new technology and processes.” But he’s on short-term leave now to focus on his campaign and, if elected, said he would step down from his role at Biogen. Moran and his partner, Michael, moved to the South End in 1999, first on Waltham Street, before they purchased their home in Concord Square in 2006. Since then, Moran has served in a longtime leadership role with the Concord Square Association, a neighborhood community group. Meanwhile, Moran’s advocacy in the area of affordable housing stems in part from his involvement in a proposed market-rate apartment development project at 115 Worcester St., adjacent to Concord Houses in the South End. He became invested in the project when there was inadequate community involvement, he said, and subsequently had an instrumental role in creating a neighborhood coalition “that focused on fighting for the rights of the low income residents at Concord Houses.” Said Moran: “At the same time, we proactively attempted to work with the developer and presented three alternative designs in an effort to create a win-win situation – designs that maintained the rights of the Concord Houses residents, pushed for affordable home ownership, and kept the residents and the neighborhood in mind.” Through his involvement in this project, Moran said he learned that the city’s Article 80 development process for large-scale projects (and the behind-the-scenes process that precedes it) “can be more robust, and that really got me interested in understating the process.” Moran then became involved in Alliance for Downtown Civic Organizations (ADCO) and co-authored the group’s plan to make the Article 80 process “more centered” while incorporating additional community input. Moreover, Moran has also served on District 7 City Councilor Tania Fernandez-Anderson’s advisory council, since its inception in January of 2022. The group, which includes leaders from throughout District 7, meets for three hours every Saturday and sometimes during the week as well, said Moran, to discuss “focused topics,” such as development, healthcare, equity, and arts and culture. Working with this group is what inspired Moran to commit himself full-time to community service, he said. If elected, Moran intends to increase affordable home-ownership opportunities in the district via MassHousing’s CommonWealth Builder Program, which encourages the construction of affordable single-family homes and condominiums for households with moderate incomes, particularly in communities of color. “Home ownership to build economic security is really important to me,” he said. What Moran describes as “the humanitarian crisis centered at Mass and Cass” is another issue close to his heart, especially since his late father had struggled with alcoholism and his brother has also had substance abuse issues. “I look at individuals through the lens of it could be anybody,” said Moran. “It could be my family. These aren’t strangers. Everybody has addiction in their families.” Additionally, if elected, Moran said he would work to ensure that everyone in his district has access to adequate schools, public transportation, and greenspace. “No matter your zip code – whether you’re in Orchard Park in Roxbury, or in the Polish Triangle in Dorchester, or in Copley Square – we should all marshal our resources to lift up the three pillars of schools, transportation, and greenery,” he said. As he has been making his way through the district to meet voters, Moran has also focused on small businesses and the challenges now facing them. The businesses he has visited in the district so far include Nicole’s Pizza and Columbus Cleaners, both in the South End; Dorchester Brewing Company, located just outside the Polish Triangle; and DJ’s Market in the Polish Triangle, among others. Asked what best qualifies him as state rep, Moran said it all comes down to “the heart and the head.” Speaking from the heart, Moran said, “I owe this community a lot after living here for 24 years, so I owe them my service.” And as for the “head” in this equation, Moran said, “My business acumen, combined with [my commitment to] community advocacy, gets results.” Visit johnmoran9.com for information on Moran’s campaign.