Rep. Carvalho enters First Suffolk race

Rep. Evandro Carvalho is shown on the night of his first election victory in 2014. Chris Lovett photo

State Rep. Evandro Carvalho announced his candidacy for the First Suffolk Senate seat in a statement Tuesday, framing his bid as a push for needed representation for neighborhoods that often feel unheard on the state level.

The 36-year-old attorney and Dorchester resident pulled nomination papers on Friday for the seat vacated by former state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry in late January. He will almost certainly face State Rep. Nick Collins, 35, of South Boston, in the Democratic primary on April 3.

“The political commentators will say it’s long odds,” Carvalho said in a statement, “that money is aligned against me, but I’ve been an underdog my entire life: As a kid from Cape Verde who spoke no English and cleaned buildings in the Back Bay; as a Madison Park student who dreamed of being an attorney; and now as a candidate for State Senate. I can’t wait to show them what we all can do together.”

Carvalho, who won a special election in 2014 to succeed former Rep. Carlos Henriquez after his ouster from the House, is a Cape Verdean native who has lived and worked in Dorchester and Roxbury since arriving in the US at the age of 15. He won re-election to the Fifth Suffolk seat in 2016.

In the statement announcing his candidacy, Carvalho addressed the steady drumbeat of violence all too common in some neighborhoods of Boston.

“With 2018 barely over a month old, we have already had 5 fatal shootings in Boston,” he said. “I represent the neighborhoods of Dorchester and Roxbury, where families like mine have known the fear and chaos of gun violence for too long. And year after year, the cries of grieving parents have grown into a swell of community trauma.”

He highlighted work as a representative to advance economic and social justice causes, including criminal justice reform, a higher minimum wage, and expansions to English language learning programs and prescription drug monitoring programs. Transit equity and additional support for families of victims of violence were also chief priorities, he said.

He chose to step into the race, Carvalho said, after discussing the opportunity with family and supporters. Former Sen. Forry’s departure left a dearth of black representation in the state Senate, he noted.

“How could I presume to lead when so many voices remain unheard?” he asked. “What kind of public servant would I be to pass up a chance to continue this fight? When my young daughter has grown up, and asks me how I acted in this moment, I will proudly tell her that I seized the torch of so many amazing leaders before me and kept moving forward.”

Three other candidates have pulled papers for the special election, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office confirmed Tuesday morning: Former State Rep. Althea Garrison (no party), Kenny Jervis (D), and Donald Osgood, Sr. (I).

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