By Gintautas Dumcius
Call it a rematch of sorts. Spurred in part by
Sen. Barack Obama's run for the White House, a
Dorchester woman who helped manage William
Celester's unsuccessful campaign for the Sixth
Suffolk seat in 2006, is mounting a run to
challenge incumbent state Rep. Willie Mae
Faustina "Kathy" Gabriel said she was frustrated
with the lackluster turnout in the district for the
Super Tuesday primary and sees a need for new
"Mobilizing people will be tough," she said in
an interview with the Reporter. "People think it's
normal not to get involved. I think it's abnormal
to live like that."
Her purple campaign banner, hanging in her
Callender St. home, touts "Unity - Actions -
Solutions." She plans to run the campaign out of
her home and is holding a fundraiser on July 12 in
Gabriel ran Celester's campaign for the seat in
2006, when he faced off against Allen. Both hoped
to fill the seat left by state Rep. Shirley Owens
Hicks when she retired. Allen, a veteran member of
the Democratic State Committee and a former
community liaison in the city's Office of
Neighborhood Services, prevailed.
Gabriel said she has also worked for Owens
Hicks, business man Chris Gabrieli, U.S.
Congressman Joseph Moakley and for state Rep.
Gloria Fox, among others.
While collecting signatures, few could name
their current representative, Allen, Gabriel
"The feedback was disturbing to me," Gabriel
said. "They didn't even know her gender."
Allen did not return repeated phone calls
seeking comment for this article. The Democratic
primary is scheduled for September 16.
Gabriel came to the United States in 1970, at
the age of 19, from Trinidad, settling into
Dorchester in the 1980s, she says. She currently
works in Suffolk Superior Court as a clerk in the
civil division and has helped out with citizenship
workshops for people, she says.
Gabriel received a degree in political science
from UMass-Boston. She picked up her interest in
politics from her grandmother. She recalled having
to read political pieces and editorials to her
grandmother, who couldn't read, in Trinidad.
Gabriel is a single mother of two boys: One is
32, an Air Force veteran who works for the Boston
Police Department, after returning from Kosovo,
Iraq, and Kuwait three years ago, she said. The
other is 23 years old.
Gabriel has the backing of Rev. Shaun Harrison,
the CEO and founder of Youth In Crisis Ministries,
who mulled a run for the seat himself.
Gabriel plans to push for diverting some funds
from Veterans Affairs hospitals to local health
clear clinics. Veterans should be able to go to any
health clinic and receive care, she said.
Returning from overseas, "They have to fend for
themselves," she said. "All that notoriety goes
down the drain."
Gabriel also highlighted pushing for more funds
for AIDS treatments and increased budgets for
domestic violence programs. The last two to three
years saw a tripling in domestic violence
homicides, leading the state's public health and
safety officials to declare a "public health
Gabriel described herself as "police-friendly,"
but said she still had a few remaining questions of
the Boston Police Department's "Safe Homes"
The project takes tips from parents and uses
them to enter the home, with the parents'
agreement, to take a gun away. Some, including the
American Civil Liberties Union, say it conflicts
with the U.S. Constitution protecting people from
unreasonable government searches.
"I know that parents need a lot of help,"
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