The state representative seat in the Second Suffolk District, which includes Charlestown and Chelsea, opened unexpectedly last month when former Representative Eugene O’Flaherty opted for a job in Boston City Hall. The March 4 Democratic primary features three credible candidates. (There are no Republican or independent candidates.) The most promising of the trio is Chelsea real estate agent Roy Avellaneda, who served five terms on the Chelsea City Council and boasts significant private- and public-sector experience.
Avellaneda, 43, entered politics in the mid-1990s, just as Chelsea was undertaking charter reform and emerging from state receivership. He was among a new breed of forward-looking politicians in a city long marred by budget woes and corruption. The city’s large Latino population coalesced around Avellaneda, a strong supporter of offering in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants at the state’s public colleges. But it is his wider experience in transportation and development that makes him such a good fit for the entire district.
Traffic woes are almost sure to affect the district if a casino is sited in either Everett or Revere. As a former project manager for the state transportation department, Avellaneda knows which levers to pull to ensure that the concerns of residents are heard and heeded. That knowledge could be especially important in the congested area of Sullivan Square in Charlestown.
For decades, this seat has been held by a Chelsea resident, sometimes to the dismay of Charlestown voters. Two good candidates from Charlestown have entered the race — Dan Ryan and Chris Remmes. The genial Ryan learned the ropes of constituent service as a longtime aide for US Representative Michael Capuano. He makes a strong case for expanding water transportation in the district. Remmes is a ward committee activist and articulate opponent of casinos.
Charlestown residents can be assured, however, that Avellaneda is squarely in their corner, too.