The news of an open state representative seat late last week quickly turned into a who’s in and who’s out discussion – as many local pols in Revere and Chelsea continue to weigh their options in regards to making a Beacon Hill run.
The news of Kathi-Anne Reinstein’s departure didn’t completely shock anyone, but the timing of the matter definitely turned the Revere and Chelsea political landscapes on their ears. Most were “blindsided” by the news, but several said they were interested in the seat and were going to take a serious look at running.
First and foremost was Reinstein’s Chief of Staff, Roselee Vincent, who said on Monday she is “seriously, seriously considering a run for the seat.”
Vincent is a life-long resident of Revere who lives in Ward 6. For the last 25 years, she has worked at the State House for either Reinstein or her late father, Bill Reinstein. “I’m still thinking seriously and meeting with a few more key people and should know what I plan to do by the end of the week,” she said on Monday. “The response I’ve gotten has been overwhelming, but I still need to talk to a few key people.”
Meanwhile, another woman in the race isn’t having any hesitation with her decision. Former city councillor and State House staff veteran Linda Rosa of Revere’s Point of Pines said she’s in it to win it.
“I’m in,” she said on Monday. “I considered it and I’m going to run. If some people are with me, they’re with me; if they’re not, they’re not. A lot of potential candidates are saying ‘maybe’ or that they’re ‘considering it.’ Let’s leave the games for the casino, and let’s go.”
Revere Ward 4 City Councillor Stephen Reardon said he had an interest in the seat – and conveyed that interest with probably the best quote of the year.
“I’ll certainly be considering it and I’ll be talking with supporters and family about it,” he said on Friday, confirming his continued interest on Monday night. “We’ll take a shot and see if the ball lands on the green. If it’s close to the cup, then I just might take out my putter and give it a shot.”
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said he has interest as well, citing 14 years of local legislative experience and a thorough resume of work at the State House some years ago.
“I never close a door on an opportunity until I’m in the room,” he said.
Councillor Brian Arrigo, who just recently moved into the district, said it’s an opportunity he has to consider, being that open seats like that don’t come up often.
“I’m taking a pretty good look at it,” he said. “I’m definitely interesting and realize it’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around often. It’s something I at least have to take a look at and see if the timing is right.”
Other sources, however, indicated that he was leaning towards not jumping into the race.
Councillor Bob Haas said it was too early to say, and he’d have to digest the entire situation before committing either way.
In Chelsea, former City Council President Paul Nowicki is leaning towards a run for the seat – saying he has talked with consultants and believes it is politically and financially possible. Nowicki, who works for the Chelsea Housing Authority, said he believes he has an edge due to his Chelsea roots and his extensive involvement in Revere youth sports for the past eight years.
“I am strongly considering it,” he said on Monday. “For me, from the perspective of time, I’m looking at my family. My wife and I have three very active children. I have to see how running will affect my family. I’ve already put together a foundation and a structure and I feel strongly on the political side with the finance committee and consultants I’ve put together. It’s the family side of things I’m still thinking about.”
Another Chelsea name emerging is attorney Josh Monahan – who worked for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the City of Chelsea. The Harvard University graduate and Chelsea High School product said he is seriously thinking about putting his name on the ballot.
“I am strongly considering a run and will be paying close attention to any special election details,” he said on Monday night. “Regardless of throwing my hat in, I hope a special election is planned soon because the district deserves an advocate at the State House, especially during budget season. Rep. Reinstein is leaving big shoes to fill at this time of year, as she definitely pulled for the folks of Chelsea, Revere, and Saugus during her tenure.”
Nearly everyone, however, is waiting to see what Revere City Councillor Jessica Giannino will do, as she topped the ticket last November in the Revere at-large race and is perceived to have a lot of momentum as a rising star in local politics. However, this would only be her second term in elected office, so some have postulated it could be too soon for her – not to mention the fact that Vincent is her close relative.
As of press time, she said she had no definite answer, but that it’s an opportunity she would “seriously consider.”
One person already saying ‘no’ to the offer is newly minted Revere City Council President Tony Zambuto.
“You can mark me down as someone who isn’t interested,” he said. “I’m flattered to be considered, but not interested.”
Many thought that a candidate out of left field could be former Revere Mayor Tom Ambrosino – who now works as the executive director of the Supreme Judicial Court. However, on Friday he said he had no interest at all in running for the seat, and that he might be straying away from politics for some time.
Likewise, former Chelsea City Councillor and environmental activist Roseann Bongiovanni said that while she did consider a run, she is not going to do it. She said she enjoys her work at the Chelsea Collaborative and the flexible schedule it allows her to spend time with her young children.
“I did contemplate a run for her open seat,” she said. “However, after much thought and discussion with my family, I ultimately decided that I will not run for the position. Though I would be honored to represent Chelsea, Revere and Saugus constituents, I simply do not want to sacrifice precious time with my two children who are so young.”
House Speaker Bob DeLeo will set the date of any special election for the seat, but a spokesperson for DeLeo said on Tuesday they haven’t set any official dates yet. Some reports indicated that many are looking at April 1 as the date due to the fact that there is already a special election on that day for the Dorchester seat of new Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
Anyone running for Reinstein’s former seat has a year full of campaigning to do, as a special election would be followed by another campaign this coming November – meaning there will be two elections for the seat in one year. Anyone who loses or decides not to run in the special election could certainly circle back and run this fall. Following the November election, there would be a two-year term.