Oiste’s Negretti will step down in fall; political run seen possible; lots of ifs

The head of a top Latino political organization is stepping down in September. “It’s just time,” said, Giovanna Negretti, who has helmed Oiste since it started a decade ago. “You just feel it in your gut.”

Oiste – which translated from Spanish means “Have you heard?” – has sought to increase Latino political power within the Bay State. She said she did not yet know what she will be doing come September; “the scariest thing is not knowing what’s next,” she told the Reporter.

Negretti, who has worked to elect Latinos across the state, did not rule out running for office. “If something pops up, I’ll definitely take a look at it,” the Puerto Rican native said. “It would have to be really interesting and exciting and challenging.”

Asked if she might challenge state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Jamaica Plain Democrat in her first term, Negretti laughed. “I think Sonia’s doing a fine job,” adding that Chang-Diaz has “proved to be a very progressive leader.”

Negretti’s name has been floated in some political circles as a potential candidate for the Second Suffolk District seat. She was an aide in the 1990s to former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, who lost to Chang-Diaz in 2008 in the Democratic primary. Wilkerson is currently fighting federal corruption charges.

“I’m not about taking down leaders, I’m about building them. If and when she’s doing a bad job or disservice, then we’ll have to figure out what to do then,” Negretti said of Chang-Diaz. “We have to give a woman a chance.”

Negretti said she is proud of the work she has done at Oiste. “I think through our efforts we’ve been able to increase the number of Latinos running for office,” she said. The group has also helped up the number of Latinos working on campaigns and within the State House and City Hall. “There’s more to do and I hope the next person can do an even better job,” she said, before adding, “I’m not going anywhere. I’m still going to be a thorn in people’s side, I hope.”

Murphy considers bid for treasurer

Is City Councillor At-Large Stephen Murphy mulling a campaign for state treasurer? Sources tell the State House News Service the answer is yes. The news comes after Norfolk County Treasurer Joseph Connolly dropped out of the race, citing health problems. Steve Grossman, a former national and state Democratic Party chair, is currently the only declared candidate. Treasurer Timothy Cahill is an unenrolled candidate for governor.

It would be Murphy’s second attempt. He unsuccessfully ran in 2002.
Murphy also has been looking at the auditor’s post which will be vacant on Joe DeNucci’s upcoming retirement. Current declared candidates include former labor secretary Suzanne Bump, Northeastern University employee Mike Lake, Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis, and former Turnpike Authority board member Mary Connaughton. With the exception of Connaughton, all are Democrats.

Folks should have a better idea this week: The News Service notes that statewide candidates must tell the Democratic Party by Feb. 4 that they plan to campaign at the June convention.

Should Murphy win, the fifth place finisher in last year’s municipal elections would take his at-large seat. That would be Tito Jackson, now the political director for Gov. Deval Patrick’s re-election campaign.

Pressley and Connolly call for teen-pregnancy rate hearing

City Councillors At-Large John Connolly and Ayanna Pressley are calling for a hearing into a recent increase in the city’s teen pregnancy rate. Teen pregnancy, which potentially leads to higher dropout rates among students, rose 3.5 percent increase between 2006 and 2007. The hearing is aimed at assessing the impact of teen pregnancies and identifying prevention efforts and parenting services.
The Women and Healthy Communities Committee, which Pressley chairs, is expected to handle the hearing. Invited to testify will be officials from the mayor’s office, Boston Public Schools, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the Massachusetts Alliance for Teen Pregnancy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Material from State House News Service was used in this report. Check out updates on Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at dotnews.com/litdrop.