Even on paper, Kenzie Bok looks like one of the most qualified candidates to run for City Council in recent memory. Her PhD in intellectual history from Cambridge aside, the contender for the District 8 seat being vacated by Josh Zakim brings a wealth of hands-on experience in city government and city politics.
She was instrumental in drafting and organizing support for the Community Preservation Act in Boston in 2016, which boosted funding for affordable housing, parks, and historic preservation; has served as budget director to Councilor at Large Annissa Essaibi-George; and most recently headed policy and planning for the Boston Housing Authority.
But Bok is indeed more than her very impressive resume. She brings an interesting mix of passion, policy-wonkiness, and political common sense that is a good fit for the economically diverse district that includes Mission Hill and Beacon Hill, Back Bay and Audubon Circle.
“A lot of good ideas die on the vine,” she told the Globe editorial board. “What a good city councilor can do is quarterback some of those ideas.”
The ideas that go to the top of her list are an increase in affordable housing units, including efforts to use public lands to do just that, accelerating the timeline for universal pre-K in the Boston Public Schools, and supporting the kind of coordinated “intermodal infrastructure,” including bike lanes, that are so popular with District 8 residents.
The Sept. 24 preliminary race also includes Montez Haywood, Kristen Mobilia, Helene Vincent, and, in a political oddity, Republican Jennifer Nassour. While the notion of an against-the-grain voice on the council is appealing, this just isn’t Nassour’s year. Kenzie Bok has the potential to be both a serious budget watchdog on the council and a policy innovator with intellect to spare, and the Globe is pleased to endorse her candidacy.
Who’s on the ballot?
The following candidates are on the ballot for the Sept. 24 preliminary election, listed in the order they will appear:
■ JENNIFER ANN NASSOUR
■ HELENE VINCENT
■ PRISCILLA KENZIE BOK
■ MONTEZ DAVID HAYWOOD
■ KRISTEN MOBILIA