They’re appearing up and down Dorchester Avenue, the backbone of Boston’s largest neighborhood, and beginning to dot store fronts in businesses across the city.
“I believe in Boston 2024,” the signs declare.
If this were an active election year (no offense to the subdued Boston City Council races) they would blend into the landscape of campaign signs that appear in store fronts and areas of commerce as November approaches.
While 2024 is not on the ballot–at least not yet, officially–Boston 2024 is scratching away at one level of opposition, not by taking pot shots in (or at) the press, but by bolstering its own base of support in Boston’s neighborhoods through good old fashioned field campaigning.
CK Strategies’ Chris Keohan and Kate Norton, who were senior advisors in Mayor Marty Walsh’s successful run for City Hall in 2013, are spearheading outreach in Boston for 2024–an important battleground as Mayor Walsh has made it clear that Boston’s support (or lack thereof) for the Games in 2016 will make or break the bid. Statewide, that field effort falls on Walsh Strategies, run by former Deval Patrick PAC director John Walsh.
Dorchester and Southie’s signs and ongoing community outreach efforts are thanks to Jake Hasson, the area’s community engagement coordinator who was brought on in April, according to his LinkedIn page. Hasson has spent the last few weeks canvassing businesses in the area, asking if they support the Games, and posting signs in businesses if owners are supportive of the Games. Hasson has counterparts across the city, charged with doing the same.
And if the signs along Dot Ave are any indication, Hasson’s efforts are paying off.
"We are having conversations across the city and the commonwealth on the tremendous legacy a 2024 Games could leave for neighborhoods and communities. We are appreciative of all the support we are receiving up and down Dorchester Avenue and beyond," said 2024 Vice President Erin Murphy Rafferty in a statement to the Reporter today.
This weekend, Boston 2024 volunteers will be marching in the Dorchester Day parade, sources tell the Reporter (here’s a nifty Dot Day explainer for the uninitiated), and you can expect a contingent at any big city-wide gathering this summer.
Signs and parades do not win an election as any politico can confirm, but in the marathon that is Boston 2024’s pursuit of the Games, visible support (and non-negative name recognition) will make it much easier to reach that 70 percent threshold of support in Boston by the time 2024 is on the ballot next fall.
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