To the Editor:
I am writing in response to last week’s letter to the editor from Barry Lawton about what leadership tradition Democratic Nominee Carlos Henriquez will bring to the residents of the 5th Suffolk District.
In recent years, we have seen two distinct types of political leadership by leaders of color. There are the remnants of the “old politics,” characterized by confrontation and endless negativity, and there is the new style of “getting results” politics, characterized by President Obama, Governor Patrick, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and in my view, Carlos Henriquez.
Carlos has shown his commitment to community by consistently being engaged in improving the 5th Suffolk District. He has worked with residents from all wards and precincts around creating jobs for residents, people of color and women, through the development of the Kroc Community Center on Dudley Street. He has led an organization over the last three years with an incredible staff and 32 resident board members to increase affordable housing, organizing, advocating for teen jobs and increasing voter turnout.
Carlos has served as a liaison and legislative aide on the Boston City Council. He has worked at over a half-dozen community centers and schools, mentoring and advocating for teens in the community.
He has spent three of the last four years knocking doors and actively increasing the community’s civic participation and political consciousness. He has done this without regard to residents’ age, ethnicity or income. I have walked the streets with him as he’s talked to older residents about whom to call for city services; as he’s sat with teenagers and told them where they can find jobs and training; and as he’s consulted with local businesses about improving the local economy.
I have attended over a dozen community actions with Carlos for various issues, from union picket lines to youth jobs rallies to peace marches. He has testified and advocated for policy at both the city and state level.
I agree with Mr. Lawton that what matters is representation and paying full attention to the District’s needs. And it is for these reasons that make Carlos the best candidate. Carlos has consistently represented, advocated for and paid attention to the district’s needs for the last 10 years. To me this is a far different style of leadership than what Barry has presented through his occasional candidacies since 1988, along with his unproductive criticism of past leadership in the district.
I have worked in the 5th Suffolk District over the past 20 years as a political organizer, street worker, and helped manage a local faith-based organization. I lived on East Street for three years and attended Meetinghouse Hill Civic Association meetings. What the District needs is effective collaboration and leadership that is consistently hands-on. Leadership that steps up to do what is needed instead of pointing out what isn’t being done.
Contrast the behavior of Carlos’ 3 opponents – none of whom will accept the voters’ will – to our neighbors to the east. In the 4th Suffolk District (South Boston, Dorchester) after a heated and sometimes acrimonious race for an open seat with nearly four times the voter turnout, the Democratic candidates nevertheless got behind nominee Nick Collins in a show of solidarity. With our Democratic governor and House seats facing a strong challenge, Democrats should be should be fighting side by side post-primary.
On September 14th, the voters of the 5th Suffolk District put their faith, excitement and commitment behind Carlos Henriquez and I am sure he will continue to share his energy, experience and commitment to the community. I support Carlos Henriquez and believe that the voters will again put their trust in Carlos on November 2.
– Jed Hresko
Jed Hresko is a volunteer with the Committee to Elect Carlos Henriquez