Baker plans to run again for Council seat, pursue charter reform

Councillor Frank Baker, District 3

As head of the Special Committee on Charter Reform, City Councillor Frank Baker will have a lot on his plate ahead of next year’s council elections. Confronting whispers that he might not seek reelection, Baker was frank in an interview with the Reporter: “As of right now, yes, absolutely, I’ll definitely do another term. But things can change in one year. I don’t want to think about another election until I have to think about another election.”

Over the next year, Baker, who was first elected to the City Council in 2011 and represents Dorchester and parts of Mattapan, Roxbury, South Boston, and the South End, will be focusing on laying out a proposal to amend the city’s charter, which was last updated in 1951.

Two interns from Boston College Law School have been reviewing the charter over the summer, and Baker said the next step is to retain a professional to help him and his committee re-work the document that defines the city’s governmental structure.

Baker wouldn’t offer any specific changes that might be in the amendment, like term limits for the mayor or city councilors, and he cautioned that getting to yes on the proposed changes will involve a home rule petition, City Council action, votes on Beacon Hill, and then a spot on a city-wide ballot. “If we were looking to do term limit changes, whether for the mayor or City Council, then it would have to go through those steps and then be on the ballot,” Baker said.

In the meantime, Baker is meeting regularly with Councillor Matt O’Malley, his vice chair, and others to see just how much can be done. “I know what I have an appetite for. I want to see what [O’Malley] has an appetite for. I know some of the bigger changes that I want to do. I want to float those around.” He aims to have everything in place in time for next year’s elections.

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With three weeks left until the primaries, statewide candidates keep making their way to Dorchester, including the two Democratic candidates for attorney general: Maura Healey and Warren Tolman.

Both have nabbed endorsements from area electeds, with At-Large City Councillor Ayanna Pressley endorsing Healey alongside Councillor Matt O’Malley at Flat Black Ashmont last Thursday morning. Healey, still a relative unknown on the campaign trail, has worked in the attorney general’s office for the last seven years, most recently as an assistant attorney general.

Tolman spent a soggy Wednesday morning touring small businesses in Lower Mills with the Dans of Dorchester (State Reps Dan Cullinane and Dan Hunt), including stops at Meetinghouse Bank and Unique Cuts. Tolman has built a significant base of institutional support since Mayor Marty Walsh endorsed the attorney and former Beacon Hill legislator just before the start of June’s Democratic convention in Worcester, getting nods from Frank Baker, Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, Suffolk Sheriff Steve Tompkins, At-Large Councillor Michelle Wu, and Congressman Stephen Lynch.

The Sept. 9 primary winner will face Republican John Miller, who has three decades of legal experience and has taught at MIT, his alma mater.

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