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Former state Sen. Owens endorses Yoon

The first African-American elected to the state Senate on Tuesday endorsed City Councillor At-Large Sam Yoon for mayor.

“Sam Yoon understands that real leadership means bringing people together to solve the problems facing the city," former state Sen. Bill Owens said in a statement. "After sixteen years, its [sic] time for a new generation of leadership. This is an exciting year with so many young people from our community running for public office.”

Irony alert: Owens knows a little bit about a "new generation" coming in.

He served in the Senate's Second Suffolk District seat from 1975 to 1983, and then from 1989 to 1993, having been beaten in a bruising 1992 Democratic primary by a young Dianne Wilkerson. (Wilkerson was herself beaten in a primary last year by Sonia Chang-Diaz before she was arrested by the FBI on federal corruption charges.)

As the Globe noted last October: In 1992, using the slogan "We Can Do Better," she challenged veteran Senator Bill Owens in the Democratic primary and pulled off a surprising victory. Owens, who in 1974 became the first African-American elected to the state Senate, was backed by a wide array of black leaders, and Wilkerson's victory was seen as ushering in a new era in urban politics.

Full release from Yoon's people below:

State Senator Bill Owens Endorses Yoon for Mayor
Senior Statesmen backs Mayoral Hopeful

BOSTON – Boston City Councilor-at-Large and mayoral candidate Sam Yoon received the endorsement today of former state senator and longtime community leader William Owens.

Owens, who represented the 2nd Suffolk senate district from 1975 to 1983 and 1989 to 1993, said Yoon would bring a fresh approach to City Hall.

Owens went on to say, “Sam Yoon understands that real leadership means bringing people together to solve the problems facing the city. After sixteen years, its time for a new generation of leadership. This is an exciting year with so many young people from our community running for public office.”

Owens said that he believes his endorsement of Yoon would be the first of many in the African American community.

“There will be a lot of people in this community standing up with Sam Yoon, but I wanted to be one of the first,” said Owens.

Yoon said the endorsement from Owens was an enormous honor.

“I am so proud to have the support of Senator Owens in my campaign for mayor,” said Yoon. “The work that he has done and the legacy that he has left in this community are tremendous.”

Owens led the efforts in the Senate to secure the appropriations to build Roxbury Community College and the adjacent Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic. He also sponsored the legislation that created both the State Office of Minority Business Assistance (SOMBA) as well as the Minority Health Commission.

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