By Dan Murphy
Sharon Durkan, chair of the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee and a longtime political organizer in the city, is now the sole candidate vying to succeed Kenzie Bok in the District 8 City Council seat.
Raised by working-class parents in rural north Georgia, Durkan is a first-generation college graduate, earning a B.A. from Smith College. She first got involved with Democratic organizing as President of the Smith College Democrats and Vice President of the College Democrats of Massachusetts.
Durkan began working for then-City Councilor Michelle Wu upon relocating to Boston in 2015. She has since worked with Sen. Ed Markey, among many others, to organize communities across the state.
In 2019, Durkan was named chair of the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee.
“As chair of the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee, I have found my true passion in serving as a community advocate and organizer, working to address critical community challenges and elect leaders dedicated to the issues that matter most,” Durkan, a Beacon Hill resident, wrote in an email. “In this role, I helped elect our first woman of color Mayor and our first woman Governor and Lieutenant Governor duo, keep our Democratic leadership in the Senate, and elect the first Black woman for the Third-Suffolk district to state Senate. It has been energizing to be a small part of the infrastructure of what makes it possible for transformational leadership in our city, and I look forward to what we can accomplish if I am elected to City Council.
Durkan added: “I understand the needs of my District 8 neighbors because I face many of them myself. I have listened to so many of my neighbors and fellow community members on the issues that matter most to them, and know that affordable housing, quality transit and safe streets, access to health care, and climate resiliency are essential for strong, vibrant communities. As Ward 5 Chair, I have a proven track record of advocating for the needs of my community. I look forward to continuing to solve pressing challenges as a City Councilor.”
With outgoing District 8 City Councilor Bok stepping down from her seat, effective, Friday, April 28, to lead the Boston Housing Authority, Durkan believes the time is right now for her to step up from behind the scenes as someone who has long encouraged women to assume leadership roles in local politics, and to assume a role as an elected official herself.
“As a volunteer trainer for Emerge Massachusetts, a group that trains women considering a run for office, I always posed the question, ‘If not you, then who?,’” wrote Durkan. “It is a pivotal time for the City of Boston. The decisions that our leaders make today will determine the success of future generations – we must tackle the issues that are keeping residents from thriving in our city.”
On her last day in office, outgoing District 8 City Councilor Bok announced her endorsement of Durkan to succeed her in the role as city councilor.
“I’m very proud to endorse Sharon Durkan to succeed me as District 8’s Boston City Councilor,” said Bok. “I’ve watched Sharon’s excellent grassroots organizing over her time as Chair of the Boston Ward 5 Democrats, working to make our city and state a better, greener, fairer place for everyone. As a neighbor, I also know her deep interest in the quality-of-life issues that affect all our local communities, from repairing our streets and sidewalks, to implementing better trash management systems, to protecting our parks. Sharon will be a passionate advocate for Mission Hill, the Fenway, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the West End at City Hall.”
Of receiving Bok’s endorsement for the seat, Durkan said: “I’m honored to earn the endorsement of Councilor Kenzie Bok. Kenzie has been an incredible city councilor, and champion for District 8. From housing to the environment to historic preservation and much more, Kenzie has left her mark on the City of Boston. I know her impact, and I would be honored to continue the important work she has begun to ensure District 8 is well represented on the Boston City Council.”
Durkan continued, “I’m running for Boston City Council, District 8, because I want to make meaningful progress on the issues that matter most to Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Mission Hill, the West End and Fenway. Since I moved to Boston, I have found my passion in building relationships across my community, listening to my neighbors, and advocating for all residents. I am running for City Council because it will allow me to apply these skills and make a real difference.”
Durkan has also earned the endorsement of Rep. Jay Livingstone, and on April 28, just over three weeks after announcing her candidacy, Durkan had already raised over $40,000 towards her campaign from supporters throughout the district.
To learn more about Durkan’s campaign for District 8 City Councilor, visit sharondurkan.com, or you can donate any amount to her campaign via ActBlue at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/durkan-email-april.