State Rep Candidate John Moran on Hand for Virtual Town Hall Meeting

 John Moran, a candidate for the 9th Suffolk District state representative seat recently vacated by Jon Santiago , as well as a longtime South End resident, was on hand for a virtual Town Hall-style meeting sponsored by several neighborhood civic groups on Thursday, April 14.

​Born into a large Irish family in Scranton, Pa., Moran earned an undergraduate degree from Earlham College, a small private liberal arts college in Richmond, Ind., before relocating to the Boston area to attend the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where he studied International Business. 

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.

During his professional career, Moran worked for Liberty Mutual, Systems Evolution Inc., and Bose before his most recent position at the Cambridge biotech company, Biogen, where he led its Continuous Improvement Center for Excellence, an internal consulting group that helps staff learn and adapt to new technology and processes.

Since moving to the South End, Moran assumed a longtime leadership role with the Concord Square Association, a neighborhood community group. But it was his involvement in a proposed market-rate apartment development project at 115 Worcester St., adjacent to Concord Houses in the South End, that led to Moran’s advocacy in the area of affordable housing, which he said would be one of his biggest priorities, if elected.

​“Housing been more of a problem in the city, and we need to fight displacement,” said Moran during the virtual meeting.

​If elected, Moran said he 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.

​Moran, an usher at last week’s memorial service for Mel King, who served as  state representative for the 9th Suffolk District from 1973 to 1982, said he shared King’s “passion for public housing.” (In 1968, King led the Tent City protests against the then-Boston Redevelopment Authority in response to the recent displacement of South End residents, whose buildings were torn down to initially make way for a parking lot.)

​Besides King, Moran said he is also inspired by others who served in the role of 9th Suffolk state rep, including Santiago and Byron Rushing, for their work to help close the disparity gap between residents living across the district.

​“I’ll fight to bridge the gaps standing on the shoulders of those leaders, including Mel King,” said Moran.

​As state rep, Moran said he would seek to affect change in the same way he has in the corporate world, like when he helped establish “Pride of Liberty” – Liberty Mutual’s first program which acknowledged gay employees.

​“I like to lead with bringing people to the problem and solving the problem together,” he said.

​Another top priority for Moran, if elected, would be to address the ongoing public-health crisis at Mass. and Cass. using a “holistic” approach that focuses on not only remedying addiction but also on treating underlying mental-health disorders.

​Moran, who said he has a long family history of addiction, pointed to the need for a state-of-the-art recovery facility that would treat mental health issues, as well as addiction, whether it’s on Long Island or located somewhere else instead.

​“[Addiction] should be treated like any other ailment,” he said.

​Additionally, regional and citywide health centers could be coopted to help with needle exchanges, suggested Moran, while he believes that transitional housing is also a necessity for those struggling with addiction.

​If elected, Moran has also pledged to be as “transparent” as possible, going as far as to post his votes at the State House on his website.

​The virtual meeting with Moran, sponsored by the Boston Ward 4 Democratic Committee, the Chinese Progressive Association, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, MassVOTE, and Reclaim Roxbury, was originally scheduled to be a candidates forum, also including another 9th Suffolk District state rep hopeful, Amparo “Chary” Ortiz. Ortiz was unable to attend, however, so the format was changed to a Town Hall-style meeting with only Moran.

The special election for the 9th Suffolk District state representative seat is now scheduled, with the primary set for May 2, followed by the final election on May 30.

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