“In their own words”: Gabriela Coletta

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I’m a daughter of District One, a proud product of the Boston Public School system, and I’ve committed my entire career in service to my community, to my neighbors, and to this district. Uplifting and serving the residents of East Boston is the only thing I’ve ever known.

I was raised by two community advocates who took me to neighborhood meetings, civic events, and even protests against airport runway expansion in the 1990’s. From a very young age, they ingrained in us a sense of civic duty and a moral obligation to empower each other and take care of one another.

After college, the moment I could come back to empower and bring people together in East Boston – I did. I had the opportunity to work with many of you to help elect our State Rep. Adrian Madaro and subsequently served as his community liaison attending nightly community meetings for many years. This is where I got a chance to truly understand the priorities of my neighbors and the issues that affect them every day.

I went on to serve as the Associate Director of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, a local nonprofit to recruit, train and elect more women across the Commonwealth – such as City Councilor and Senator Lydia Edwards. That work is ultimately what brought me back to East Boston: To build a coalition from different backgrounds and in different languages, to elect the first woman of color to represent us on the Boston City Council.

As Chief of Staff to Councilor Edwards, I worked on every pothole, project, and policy over the course of three and a half years. I helped protect and secure affordable housing across the district, expanded paid parental leave for all city employees, and connected residents to food, employment, and housing resources during the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, I ensured our office prioritized accessible and responsive city government by focusing on excellent constituent services and went toe-to-toe with special interests advocating on behalf of constituents.

It’s been an honor of a lifetime serving every single individual in this community, no matter who they are or where they come from. It would be an honor to continue working on behalf of this district and fighting for residents as I’ve done effectively for so many years.

I’m running to represent this incredible district to protect the vibrancy of our communities, expand opportunities for our children, and ensure municipal government is accessible and inclusive of all people. We’re at a watershed moment in our district when it comes to sea-level rise to climate change, a displacement and affordable housing crisis, and persistent and structural inequities in our public education system.

HOUSING

I’m focused on ensuring that we have affordable and workforce housing for everyone, especially as a renter and as someone who was only recently rent burdened up until last year.  We must expand first-time homeownership to build generational wealth. Many in this community, including myself, feel like East Boston is growing without them while many of our neighbors have unfortunately already been displaced. I will ensure any development proposal is done through a transparent process and centers the needs of the community first.

ENVIRONMENT

Waterfront resiliency, expanding open space and our tree canopy are top priorities for me as well. East Boston is an environmental justice community that has disproportionately bore these   burdens for far too long. As City Councilor, I will push for a district-wide plan to fortify our coastline to protect the resiliency of not only our buildings but our people.

EDUCATION

Quality, free, and local education is a necessity for any child’s chance in the world to achieve their fullest potential. The public schools in District One are working hard to provide quality education but students, parents, and teachers need targeted investments and support from our city government. I will be a champion for public education across the district and for all Bostonians.

East Boston is a community with a rich immigrant history where many families arrived and stayed in pursuit of the American Dream. In a city where nearly 30% of residents are foreign-born, we must welcome and support immigrants with inclusive, accessible, and meaningful city resources and services. As City Councilor, I will always be a strong advocate for our undocumented immigrant neighbors in this district and across the Commonwealth. Our diversity of culture and language is our strength and serves to bring such vibrancy to District One.

I am ready to lead in service – but more importantly, in partnership with – the community and you all. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We face unique challenges that require proven, collaborative, and innovative leadership.

The urgency of now requires someone who is ready to take the job on Day One. As someone who was in that office, day in and out, for almost four years, I am uniquely qualified to navigate the unique bureaucracy of a City Council office working with colleagues, city departments, and the administration. I know how to cut through the noise when speaking to special interests, negotiate effectively, and deliver for this district.

People who interact with City Hall need to know that someone there has their back. I took that responsibility very seriously and I approached the role with my heart, with empathy, and always in service. That’s exactly why I’m running for this position. I truly believe in what City government can do to better people’s lives.

East Boston is an activist community, coming from a legacy of giants who ensured this place remained a beautiful, diverse, and welcoming place to live and raise a family. We are building on their great work to ensure East Boston remains this way for generations to come.

I’m ready to step up and be in this fight with you.  I have the proven record and experience to hit the ground running and it’s a defining difference in this race.

As your City Councilor, I promise to be bold. To be an independent voice. To speak truth to power. To be uncompromising on behalf of my constituents. To put your needs before the needs of special interests. I promise to collaborate and center your priorities. To let the work be my motivation – not the politics. I promise to serve with integrity and to be the advocate that this district deserves. 

That is the approach I will bring as City Councilor and I would be deeply honored to have your support and your vote on May 3.