The lowly Boston City Council, long the butt of jokes, doesn’t look so shabby today, does it?
From her perch as one of four Boston at-large city councilors, Ayanna Pressley built a political resume and name recognition, then used them to topple incumbent congressman Michael E. Capuano in Tuesday’s stunning Democratic Party primary.
Not bad, for a body that Secretary of State Bill Galvin, who faced down a challenge from another city councilor, Josh Zakim, snarkily derided in a debate.
Pressley revived a tradition of city councilors using the office as a launchpad for higher office. Think Joe Moakley, who went from the council to Congress in 1973, or Ray Flynn and Tom Menino, city councilors before they became mayor.
So aspiring politicos take note: There’s another council election next year. For anyone who wants to follow in Pressley’s footsteps — or just help their city — now’s the time to start laying the groundwork.
In the spirit of the great mentioner, here’s some folks who might consider looking at the at-large race. These aren’t endorsements, by the way — just some encouragement:
Monica Cannon, a Roxbury activist who ran for state representative in 2016.
Katie Forde, who ran twice for register of deeds, in 2016 and 2018.
Julia Mejia, founder of CPLAN parent advocacy group.
Deeqo Jibril, who ran for city council in 2017.
Boston Celtics community engagement manager John Matthew Borders IV.
Natalia Uturbey, executive director of Imagine Boston 2030 at City Hall.
You. Why not?
The council is no longer a backwater. Even in a strong-mayor system like Boston’s, councilors can play a role in shaping city policies. A city council seat, and especially the four at-large seats, is really whatever councilors make of it.
Just look what Pressley did with hers — for Boston and, ultimately, for herself.