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Connolly re-hires former Chang-Diaz strategist

Aiming for a second term, City Councillor At-Large John Connolly has hired a strategist who helped Sonia Chang-Diaz topple Sen. Dianne Wilkerson in last September’s Democratic primary for the Second Suffolk District.

Dan Cohen also consulted for Connolly in the 2007 campaign for City Council. Cohen’s other clients include Sara Orozco, a Democrat who unsuccessfully ran against Sen. Scott Brown (R-Wrentham) last year.

Cohen is also involved in another municipal election: the four-way race to replace Newton Mayor David Cohen. He’s consulting for Setti Warren, a former staffer to U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

Connolly formally launched his re-election campaign yesterday, announcing that it will co-chaired by Thelma Burns of Dorchester, Tim Schofield of Brighton, Ann Marie Russell of West Roxbury, and Melina Munoz of Jamaica Plain.

Full release below:

Connolly Announces Re-Election Campaign for Boston City Council At-Large
Cites work for One Boston in his Video Announcement

BOSTON, MA - John Connolly, a former teacher in urban schools and first term Boston City Councillor At-Large, formally announced his re-election campaign today with a video message e-mailed to supporters. Connolly’s first term legislative initiatives include a proposal to overhaul Boston’s truancy policy and an aggressive Green Agenda aimed at pushing Boston to be the greenest city in the world. Connolly pledged to keep working for “One Boston – a livable Boston with great schools, safe streets, and a healthy, sustainable future.”

“As a former middle school teacher, I have always been deeply committed to improving our schools and making our streets safe for our kids. As a new father, I am even more dedicated to these issues now, and to making Boston's health and environment sustainable for future generations. In short, I love working with you for One Boston.”

Connolly’s campaign will be co-chaired by Thelma Burns of Dorchester, Tim Schofield of Brighton, Ann Marie Russell of West Roxbury, and Melina Munoz of Jamaica Plain. Connolly’s campaign has hired Dan Cohen, a political strategist who consulted in Connolly’s 2007 campaign and also consulted for Sonia Chang-Diaz in her recent State Senate campaign victory. Connolly also recently unveiled his campaign web site: www.connollyforboston.com.

In his first term, Connolly was appointed Chair of the Environment and Health Committee, Chair of the Special Committee on a Livable Boston, and Acting Chair of the Education Committee.

As Acting Education Chair, Connolly introduced a proposal to overhaul Boston’s truancy policy with a new program focused on early intervention, parental accountability, and family engagement. Connolly cited the need for his proposal because chronically absent children are highly likely to drop out, and then highly likely to be incarcerated, battle addiction, and live in poverty. During his first term, Connolly also joined with parents across Boston to keep teachers from being laid off and to bring transparency to the school budget process. With an eye toward better economic times, Connolly filed legislation urging Boston Public Schools to build an Environmental Science Academy that will set a national standard for environmental education.

“When it comes to our schools, we need to be bold” Connolly said. “I know that urban schools can work because, as a teacher, I taught in an urban school that worked.”

As Chair of the Environment and Health Committee, Connolly launched an aggressive Green Agenda that proposed not only an Environmental Science Academy, but also a shared bike program, an increase in the City’s fleet of hybrid vehicles, and a reduction in the City’s carbon footprint.

“By making Boston the leading green city right now, we can give our children not only a healthier sustainable city, but we can build an economic engine that creates countless new jobs for the future,” Connolly said.

As Chair of the Special Committee on a Livable Boston, Connolly has brought City Hall out into the neighborhoods with a series of public hearings scheduled to discuss the recession’s impact on City residents and to explore the challenges residents face in deciding whether to make Boston home for a lifetime.

There will be a preliminary election for the City Council At-Large seats on September 22, 2009. The final election will be November 3, 2009.

John and his wife, Meg Connolly, have a fifteen month-old daughter, Clare. John, Meg, and Clare live in West Roxbury.