Rep. Collins to seek First Suffolk seat; field takes shape

Rep. Nick Collins will run for the open First Suffolk Senate seat. Above, Collins spoke at the 2017 St. Patrick's Day Breakfast. Don West photo

The race for the First Suffolk Senate seat is officially underway.

State Rep. Nick Collins will seek the senate post left vacant by former state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, the Collins campaign confirmed Friday.

"Today, I will file nomination papers to be your next State Senator," Collins said in a statement Friday. He ran for the seat in 2013, losing in a tight primary race against the former Sen. Forry.

Forry left the Senate last Friday to take a post at Suffolk Construction, a major Boston developer led by power broker John Fish, where she will be vice president of the firm’s Northeast region dealing with issues of diversity, inclusion, and community relations. In the wake of Forry's departure, Collins said that he has had conversations with friends, family, and residents in the district.

"Many of the conversations echoed the same theme: we need a leader who will listen and work tirelessly to improve the quality of life in our community. Our senator needs to be someone who knows our neighborhoods and will improve education, understands the urgency of upgrading our transportation network, is committed to addressing the opioid epidemic and making our streets safe and will fight for the crucial community funding required to meet these challenges," he said.

"I am ready to be that leader. Our district is one of the most culturally diverse in the state, and my vision, passion and experience will deliver results that will improve the quality of life for every neighborhood."

The South Boston representative and his wife Olivia welcomed their first child days before Forry left office. Forry’s open seat kicked off a flurry of speculation on potential successors.

Candidates have until Feb. 20 to deliver 300 verified signatures to the Boston Elections Commission for nomination papers. The special election primary is scheduled for April 3, with a May 1 final election date.

With Collins’ in the race, the other likely district representative to be eyeing the seat is Rep. Evandro Carvalho of Dorchester, who told the Reporter on Tuesday night that he will “have to consider it for the benefit of the community that we represent,” he said. The Cape Verdean immigrant and Dorchester resident joined the House in 2014.

Reached on Friday, Carvalho said, "I am very strongly considering it. I will make an announcement early next week."

Collins’ announcement came just after two other state representatives -- Rep. Russell Holmes and Rep. Dan Cullinane -- said publicly that they would not enter the race.

Holmes told the Boston Globe, “It’s not a good time to stop everything I’m doing,’’ adding that he is settling into his new post at Baystate Financial after leaving Ameriprise Financial in November.

Also mulling the race, Cullinane said in a statement Wednesday: After much thought and careful consideration with my wife Emily, we have decided that right now is the time for me to continue to focus all of my energy on doing the job I love, serving the residents of Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park and Milton as their full-time State Representative.”

He highlighted ongoing housing projects and transit initiatives in the heavily-Mattapan district, like the lastest Neponset River Greenway Extension, the forthcoming Blue Hill Avenue Commuter Rail Station, and the continuing conversation around maintaining the Mattapan High-Speed Trolley Line.

In a heavily Democratic district, most of the action is expected to take place before the April 3 primary.

Former state Rep. Althea Garrison, no stranger to runs for elected office, has already pulled papers for the special election, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office confirmed Wednesday.

Garrison is running without a party affiliation, which guarantees her a place in the May 1 final election if she succeeds in securing 300 certified signatures on her nomination papers. As Garrison met the 1,500 signature requirement to run for at-large city councillor in the 2017 race, the bar is well within reach to lock in a slot on the ballot.


Reporter Correspondent Maddie Kilgannon contributed to this report.


Subscribe to the Dorchester Reporter