The Race Is On: Two Candidates Vying for 9th Suffolk District State Representative Seat on Hand for Ward 4 Dems Meeting

Two candidates vying for 9th Suffolk District state representative recently vacated by Jon Santiago were on hand for the Boston Ward 4 Democratic Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 21, at Union Church. John Moran, a 24-year resident of the South End who is now on temporary leave from his job leading an internal consulting group  at the Cambridge biotech company, Biogen, described himself as “a leader of purpose” with “the heart and drive to get results.”

Amparo “Chary” Ortiz and her 16-year-old daughter, Adelia Rodriguez.
Amparo “Chary” Ortiz and John Moran, two candidates for the 9th Suffolk District state representative seat recently vacated by Jon Santiago.

Moran said he has a “proven track record” when it comes to affordable housing, dating back to his involvement in a proposed market-rate apartment development project at 115 Worcester St., which sits adjacent to Concord Houses in the South End. Moran, who bought his first home with his partner, Michael, on Waltham Street in the South End in 1997, said, “The issue is that’s not possible anymore.” As state representative, Moran said he would create more affordable home-ownership opportunities “so people can settle down, plant their root here, and live their lives.” Asked if he would support a city home-rule petition on rent control, Moran responded that he “fundamentally believes that cities and towns should make their own decisions relative to rent control.” But Moran added: “We need to be very careful that our Mom and Pop landlords aren’t penalized by it.” Moran said the issue would need to be discussed at the City Council level to thoroughly explore the perceived merits and potential drawbacks of rent control in Boston, although he added that he doesn’t agree with deed restrictions – something that he admits he doesn’t entirely understand. Moreover, Moran described the city’s Impact Advisory Group (IAG) process for large-scale development project as a “Kabuki play,” since project specifics have usually already been determined prior to this stage. Regarding what he calls the “humanitarian crisis” centered at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, Moran said this matter hits close to home for him, since his late father struggled with alcoholism and his brother has also had substance abuse issues. Moran said he believes the crisis must be tackled from “a holistic human perspective” that would seek to treat mental illness, along with the underlying substance abuse issues. Among the ideas that Moran would like to explore is reopening the Long Island Bridge for a facility that would treat mental illness in tandem with substance abuse. Additionally, Moran has served on District 7 City Councilor Tania Fernandez-Anderson’s advisory council since its inception in January of 2022. The group meets for three hours every Saturday (and sometimes during the week as well) to focus on topics affecting the district, including development, healthcare, equity, and arts and culture. Councilor Fernandez-Anderson is now supporting Moran in the race, he said.Moran said he was compelled to run for office to give back to a community that has allowed him to be himself as a gay man. “I’ll forever be grateful for that, and the time is right now for me to give back,” he said. To learn more about Moran and his campaign, visit Another candidate in the race is Amparo “Chary” Ortiz, also of the South End. She is a longtime BU School of Public Health administrator and a single mother of two children, both now attending Boston Public Schools. Ortiz, who grew up in the Cathedral housing projects, said she knows firsthand some of the challenges facing people in her district, as she too has often lived paycheck to paycheck. “I think there are a lot of people like me in the community who get priced out of the South End,” said Ortiz, who added if elected, she would intend to help her constituents better understand the affordable housing process and the resources available to them. “I don’t think anyone should be paying over 35 percent [of their income towards housing],” she said. Moreover, Ortiz said she is already active in the community, serving on the boards of the Blackstone Community Center and the South End Community Health Center, as well as on the Puerto Rican Festival of Massachusetts planning committee. As state representative, Ortiz said she would champion the causes of affordable home-ownership opportunities in the district; “youth development in our classrooms”; and community outreach in regard to public safety. Ortiz said she ultimately intends to foster “a community that comes together to make everyone in the neighborhood stronger” – something, she said, that “cannot be done if we don’t unify.” Said Ortiz: “We need all of you…in order to make decisions that aren’t one-sided, and that are beneficial.” Asked why she has chosen to run for state rep, Ortiz replied, “I think this position is a gift. It’s not just thinking about your family. [The community] is like an extension of your family.” Said Ortiz: “I really want to dive into creating a unity that I don’t think has been done before. As I look around the room, I see a lot of people are missing. I think there are a lot of voices no one has gone to. With the low-income and the working class, it almost feels like they’re kept in a box. We don’t want to be limited. Let us all be at the table to help make better decisions.” To learn more about Ortiz and her campaign, visit (although the website hadn’t been launched yet as of Wednesday, March 22). 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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