Lit Drop | Unions funnel money to District 3 candidates

Dorchester unions are lining up — or at least lining up campaign finance accounts — in District 3.

Frank Baker, the incumbent councillor who has held the seat since 2012, hasn’t publicly decided if he’s running for another two-year term. But he said if nomination papers were available today, he would pull them and run for reelection. (Nomination papers will become available at the Elections Department in a few months. 2023 is an off-year election, with just the City Council on the ballot.)

He pulled in roughly $10,000 to close out 2022. The political action committee (PAC) for the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, which is located on Dorchester Avenue, donated $500 to Baker, as did IBEW Local 103, which is on Freeport Street. Other donations, available publicly from the independent Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) website, came in largely from police officers and players in the city’s real estate sector.

Heading into the new year, and a municipal election cycle, Baker’s campaign account has $66,257 in cash on hand. He spent $26,000 in December, including paying fundraising consultants and sending $10,000 to the Ward 7 Democratic Committee, which is chaired by state Sen. Nick Collins of South Boston.

Baker said the $10,000 is to help fund a lawsuit fighting the City Council map that removed large chunks of his district while adding precincts north of Dorchester. The decennial process known as redistricting redrew the boundaries of the nine Council districts.

Baker picked up more of South Boston from District 2 Councillor Ed Flynn, including several housing developments close to the Dorchester-South Boston border.

Baker and Flynn both opposed the changes, which also pushed District 4, represented by Brian Worrell, deep into Cedar Grove and Adams Village. Both Baker and Flynn support the lawsuit that aims to throw out the redrawn boundaries.

The redistricting process also ended up flipping a challenger into Baker’s district. Joel Richards, a teacher and pastor, ran for District 4 in 2021 and didn’t make it past the September preliminary, with the November final featuring Worrell and former state Rep. Evandro Carvalho.

On Dec. 12, Richards announced that he’s planning a District 3 run. He will hold a campaign launch party this Friday (Jan. 20) at 6:30 p.m. inside GrandTen Distilling on Dorchester Avenue. The party was initially slated for The Banshee, but was moved due to what the campaign called “unforeseen circumstances.”

Richards had pulled in $11,200 before the end of the year. The Boston Teachers Union, headquartered on Mount Vernon Street, donated $500 through its PAC. The BTU’s vice president, Erik Berg, separately donated $200. And individual donations arrived from teachers and the nonprofit sector.

Unions and wealthy individuals are typically the top donors to campaigns in each election cycle. The start of the new year allows donors to donate again to their favorite candidates. The annual contribution limit for an individual donating to a candidate is $1,000. Lobbyists are limited to $200.

Breakfast with the Secretary of Labor
Marty Walsh, President Biden’s labor chief and the former Boston mayor, is scheduled to speak before the business group known as the New England Council on Jan. 27. The in-person breakfast is set for 9:30 at the Seaport Hotel.

The business group is headed by Dorchester’s James Brett, a former state representative who has served in the job since 1996, after a run for mayor himself.

There are plenty of potential economic topics for Walsh, who still lives in Lower Mills, to touch on, including his trip to Davos for the World Economic Forum, which is happening this week. The event features world leaders and top business executives mingling and talking in the Alps.

According to his office, Walsh will be discussing the effects of Covid-19 on labor markets. “Secretary Walsh will highlight the need for organizations to be innovative in their approach to attracting and retaining talented workers, including the importance of investing in job quality,” his office said in a preview of the trip.

A second panel he plans to participate in will focus on the “future of jobs,” and include talk of a transition to clean energy and collective bargaining.

After Davos, Walsh will hotfoot it to Zurich for a tour of a vocational training center focused on electronics and metals, and then to Austria, where he’ll discuss apprenticeship programs.

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