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    12th Suffolk House primary: Cullinane works his way up

    Voters in the 12th Suffolk House District — which includes parts of Dorchester, Mattapan, Milton, and Hyde Park — are accustomed to high-powered representation. Linda Dorcena Forry held the House seat for eight years before winning a Senate seat in May. Former Speaker Thomas Finneran preceded her.

    Each of the three candidates in Tuesday’s Democratic primary — Dan Cullinane, Stephanie Everett, and Marydith Tuitt — has some experience on Beacon Hill. And each relates a powerful personal history that sets them apart.

    Cullinane, 28, was adopted as an infant into a Dorchester family that honors public service. It rubbed off. He enjoyed a reputation as a tireless aide for state Representative Martin Walsh and field organizer for Dorcena Forry. Cullinane views himself as a “strong vote for labor.’’ He’d be wise, however, to adopt Dorcena Forry’s more measured approach. Cullinane said he is eager to study all of the major issues before the House. And his capacity for hard work suggests he will reach good conclusions. Overall, such qualities make Cullinane the best choice for the district.

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    Everett and Tuitt worked as aides for state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and state Representative Gloria Fox, respectively. Everett, 37, attained an impressive education despite what she has described as a difficult period of homelessness. Like the other two candidates, she has a knack for constituent service. But her vision is too narrow at times. For example, she worries that the expansion of the Fairmount commuter rail line may annoy some of her constituents. Instead, she should be thinking about the enormous potential for new housing and jobs.

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    Tuitt, 45, was born in Montserrat and served 14 years in the US Navy. Her emphasis on small-business development is pleasantly reminiscent of Dorcena Forry, who focused on job creation.

    While none will immediately fill the shoes of Dorcena Forry, Cullinane, by virtue of his impressive work ethic, is best positioned to grow into the job.