March 1, 2023
Voters in a part of Dorchester can pencil in a special election for May, as their state representative, Jon Santiago, has resigned to take a job in the Healey administration.
Santiago, a South End Democrat and a major in the US Army Reserve, is set to become Gov. Healey’s veterans’ affairs secretary, a move that creates a vacancy in the 9th Suffolk District, which Santiago won in 2019 after knocking out longtime incumbent Byron Rushing in a primary.
State lawmakers in 2021 redrew the political boundaries of Senate and House districts, and pulled part of Dorchester into the 9th Suffolk, including several streets west of I-93 and north of Columbia Road. The area around the South Bay shopping plaza is also included in the district.
The primary is set for May 2 and it’s likely to be determinative, since Boston Democrats are unlikely to face serious opposition in the final election. The final election will be on May 30.
So far, just one candidate has publicly thrown a hat into the ring: Brian Kearney, a Dorchester resident who set up a fundraising account. He hasn’t returned a request for comment.
“I haven’t heard too much of anything... but whoever gets the seat will be my state rep, so I’m looking forward to seeing who it is,” Rushing told the State House News Service on Monday.
A parallel special election, for the vacant 10th Suffolk House seat anchored in West Roxbury, is generating more interest at the moment. Multiple candidates have opened fundraising accounts in the last few weeks, including former City Council aide William MacGregor and Senate aide Garrett Casey. The district includes parts of Jamaica Plain and Brookline.
Rep. Ed Coppinger of West Roxbury resigned in tandem with Santiago this week. Coppinger heads to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, which has hired him as the head of government affairs. The trade group previously employed former Mattapan state Rep. and House speaker Thomas Finneran as its leader.
Local legislators get committee assignments
State House and Senate lawmakers representing Dorchester and Mattapan have received their committee assignments for the next two years.
Liz Miranda, who won the 2nd Suffolk Senate seat last year after serving in the House, is the co-chair of the Joint Committee on Racial Equity and Civil Rights, and vice chair of the Economic Development committee. Senate leaders also appointed her as a member of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee.
Nick Collins, who has been in the Senate since 2018, chairs the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight and is the vice chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business.
Over in the House, Rep. Dan Hunt was tapped as chair of the Human Resources and Employee Engagement Committee. Rep. Russell Holmes is the vice chair of the Operations, Facilities and Security Committee, and Rep. Brandy Fluker Oakley is the vice chair of the Racial Equity and Civil Rights Committee.
Chris Worrell, a freshman representative who won Miranda’s House seat last fall, was appointed as a member of four committees: Consumer protection, education, health care financing, and tourism.