This is the last in a series of profiles about the candidates facing off in the Nov. 5 election.
Focusing on the improvement in the quality of life for Boston residents in District 8, attorney and small business owner Josh Zakim is going up against Michael Nichols for city councilor in Tuesday election.
“It’s important that we have someone in that office who will continue to push a progressive agenda forward that will create a city of opportunity for everyone,” Zakim said in an interview. “We [need to] set the right tone for the next generation here and that tone needs to be one of inclusiveness, of access for everyone. . . so the kids from all of our neighborhoods and any background are going to be able to succeed in today’s economy.”
Dan Sibor, Zakim’s campaign manager, said Zakim’s work as an attorney at the Greater Boston Legal Services and his experience with public service has inspired and prepared him to take on the role as city councilor.
“After serving in the private sector for a bit, he realized this is where he could be the most good for people,” he said. “That public service component of the career sort of pushed him to do something that can serve many.”
Currently, there is only one K-8 public school in the district, located in Mission Hill. If elected, Zakim said one of his first priorities would be to create more public schools in the district and strengthen the quality of the ones that exist.
“Of the neighborhoods in this district, there’s only one [public K-8 school], and that’s not acceptable to me,” he said. “I think that really deprives people of their neighborhoods and their opportunities, and it’s something we need to work on.”
Sibor said Zakim wants to focus on creating an open and transparent government that would be accommodating for everyone in order to satisfy the needs of the community.
“Josh wants to be sure that this is a place where everyone’s going to have the same access and opportunity,” he said. “So [in electing him], the district’s going to have a councilor in there who’s very attuned to these issues of making Boston into an open and accommodating place for everyone, not just a servant to the people.”
Mass. Rep. James Livingstone is one of the many politicians who publicly endorsed Zakim in the election. As a representative for the 8th Suffolk District, Livingstone said he serves many of the same neighborhoods as the District 8 city councilor.
“I am confident that Josh is the best candidate and will be a strong, progressive voice at the city level,” he said. “He possesses an understanding of local issues and a passion for social justice that will serve the district well. I look forward to working with him for years to come.”
Sibor said Zakim’s campaign goals aim to affect the entire district, from his political colleagues to the school-aged children, and the city as a whole.
“Your district city council is the single most direct point person as far as elected officials go,” he said. “If you have a day-to-day issue affecting your life … that’s the person you need to talk to. [When you call,] the first question is not going to be ‘Do you vote?’ It’s going to be ‘Where do you live and what can I do to help you?’”