The growing list of candidates for a City Council seat now includes a Republican — the former chair of the state GOP — a rarity in city politics dominated by Democrats.
Jennifer Nassour, an attorney who lives in the Back Bay, announced her candidacy earlier this week for the seat held by Councilor Josh Zakim, who said in March that he would not seek reelection this fall. The district stretches from Beacon Hill to the West End, and includes Mission Hill and Audubon Circle.
“I love this city, I live and work in this city and I am raising my three daughters in this amazing city; I understand the joys and the challenges of what living as a family in Boston looks and feels like,” Nassour said in a statement. “I recognize our communities’ unique qualities, and will work to preserve and support their historic value, serve the residents’ needs and make room for new members to join our neighborhoods.”
According to her press release, Nassour is the CEO of ReflectUS, what she called a nonpartisan coalition of the nation’s leading women’s representation organizations that work to increase the number of women in public office. She also sits on the boards of MassINC, the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, the UMass Women Into Leadership program, and the Union Club of Boston.
Nassour did not mention her prior work with state Republicans in her announcement. Nassour helmed the Massachusetts Republican Party from 2009 to 2011, when the GOP doubled its ranks in the Massachusetts House and Scott Brown was elected to the US Senate. She remains a registered Republican, according to the elections commission.
Maureen McInerney, a spokeswoman, said Nassour’s work with the Republican Party is only part of her resume.
“It’s definitely not where her story starts or stops,” she said, adding that the press release does not include her work for several law firms. She said the release included information, such as her work for community organizations, that “demonstrates what qualifies her to represent this district, and what qualifies her to represent the city.”
Boston’s preliminary elections in September are nonpartisan, and the top two vote-getters for each seat — regardless of party affiliation — will advance to the general election two months later.
But, one of her opponents was quick to point out Nassour’s omission.
“While I welcome Ms. Nassour into this race, it is troubling that she is trying to hide her past as chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party,” said Landon Lemoine, a member of the Back Bay Neighborhood Association. “I have been campaigning on the idea that community growth and progress must be based on equality, inclusivity, and empowerment, and our message has been resonating.”
Other than Lemoine, candidates who have announced for the race are: Priscilla Kenzie Bok, a policy and planning adviser at the Boston Housing Authority; Montez David Haywood; Kristen Mobilia, a community organizer who challenged Zakim in the last election, winning 32 percent to 67 percent for Zakim; and Hélène Vincent, the director of research and academic partnerships at EF Education First.
Also, Robert Couture and David Kenneth Gerry have filed declarations of intent to run.
As of Thursday, only Bok, Haywood, Lemoine, Mobilia, and Vincent have been qualified for the race. The last day to file nomination papers is May 21.