For Boston City Council At-Large
I come from a large blue-collar, working class family who taught me the value of hard work, experience and service at a young age. My mother, in addition to being a union official for many years, worked tirelessly for nearly six decades in the city’s Assessing Department before retiring in 2015. During my childhood, my dad worked as a union letter carrier for the US Postal Service.
As a union member myself, I have spent the last 15 years as a Local 7 ironworker. With brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends working as laborers, electricians, carpenters, police officers, firefighters, and iron workers, I know all too well the stressors of ensuring enough hours worked for health insurance, the uncertainty of the next paycheck and just how crucial our collective bargaining rights are. Rebuilding and rejuvenating the Boston economy during the aftermath of the pandemic remains crucial. I bring my unique experiences as a union member and small business owner along with a lifetime of living and working in the City of Boston.
I love this city, it’s why I choose to raise my daughter here, it’s why I and my family are still active in organizations in my hometown and across the city. I bring a strong voice to the table to advocate for the issues faced by working families in Boston.
My first experience with unions was in 1987 when my mother took me along on a conference trip to Ontario where I stood on a rally line and saw firsthand the strength of the union. My mother had already explained to me that union stood for a fair working wage and safe working conditions. I started my first job at age 15, working on a pushcart in Faneuil Hall’s Quincy Market. By 16, I was working 3 jobs to pay my way through Archbishop Williams High School. While working in Quincy Market, I worked alongside people from all around the world. This was a great experience for a young, impressionable mind, affording me the opportunity to work with and get to know people from different backgrounds and cultures. It also awoke the entrepreneur in me. I saw how small businesses were run and the American dream lived out.
It was two years after receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art that I sought out a career in the trades. I was dating a union carpenter who worked a third of the hours I did as a nanny, had health insurance, a retirement plan and a vacation check. I knew I needed to get in a union if I wanted my American dream of being a small business owner to come true. It took only five short years in the union to be in a position to open the doors of my Irish import shop in South Boston. “Southie’s Own” has serviced the community for almost ten years now, sponsoring soccer teams, street hockey and basketball tournaments as well as any local family fundraisers to help those in need. After all, it’s the small businesses that give back to the community that gives to them. We have managed to survive through a recession and pandemic, I know all too well the struggles we as a city have been through.
In 2006, I joined the Local 7 Ironworker Apprenticeship program and have worked for the past 15 years on jobs all across Boston. I can’t begin to explain the pride and joy that I feel being able to drive through my own city and point at a skyscraper and tell my daughter, “Look, mama helped build that”. In 2018, I became the first female instructor for the apprenticeship program and the first female elected to the Board since its inception 125 years ago. Through these experiences, I have had the opportunity to work with my union brothers and sisters to learn and lead. I take pride in the representing Local 7 whether on the job, in a classroom, at a union meeting or at a podium speaking on our maternity leave policy.
Growing up in a working-class environment has given me an incredible perspective in the tough challenges, as well as the opportunities facing local families. It is my intention to use this perspective, my experiences, and voice to ensure we all have a seat at the table, especially in a post-covid world. Given my values and my work experience, I am confident that I can make an impact advocating for job creation, workforce training, and other policies that support the growth of a strong middle-class here in Boston.