The Rainbow Times’ endorsements for Salem and Lynn, Mass. are in; Boston Mayoral endorsement to come
By: The Rainbow Times’ Editorial Team—
The Rainbow Times’ editorial team has proudly released its Salem, Boston, and Lynn endorsements for Mayoral and City Council races. Each endorsement was carefully considered based on the upholding of progressive values and ideals, support of the LGBTQ+ community, a demonstrated understanding of issues impacting marginalized community members, and those who not only embrace diversity but who are supportive of inclusive practices of municipal leadership.
The team believes there are two levels of competencies needed to be effective in local government. First, cultural and intersectional proficiency is needed to understand and work effectively on behalf of all residents. Secondly, critical municipal issues such as housing, the climate crisis, residents’ safety concerns, community members’ mental and physical health, infrastructure and development, all must take a front seat when leading municipalities forward. Likewise, those elected to leadership positions must be able to navigate the intricacies of establishing innovation within city government while not leaving behind equitable and inclusive practices and ordinances. Every local issue impacts each and every resident differently. However, due to systemic barriers, such obstacles disproportionately and adversely impact disenfranchised communities.
The candidates who have earned our endorsement have directly demonstrated to our editorial team — based on responses, past voting records, and actions — that they have the competency to not only lead broadly but are people who have already engaged themselves in pro-active roles to effect change for those who are at the bottom of the totem pole, for they are also invested in equity and we see that through their former and current actions.
After receiving written responses to LGBTQ+ specific interview questions, including those based on intersectional identity, issues disproportionately affecting the community at the local level, and extensive research conducted by The Rainbow Times’ editorial team, we are confident in the endorsements below. We unequivocally believe that these candidates for elected office will represent the interests of the LGBTQ+ community (and communities of color within and outside of it) with vigor and knowledge, with compassion and logic, with fairness and impartiality placed at the forefront of their voting matters in city government. We are proud to stand firmly with the endorsed candidates and we are unwavering in our support of them, and our process conducted during this endorsement period.
As a publication that focuses heavily on civil rights and educating others about the intersectionalities of our vast identities, the litmus test was not easily passed. We are proud to endorse candidates that are best suited to advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community and the subcultures existing around it, whether they’re friends, allies, or family members.
Local government must be willing to make inroads on issues and contribute to producing solutions rather than stalwart them. Councillors should be willing and capable to bring tangible proposals to the table to combat the most pressing needs of residents. Simply standing in the way of progress just “for the sake of it” isn’t enough, nor does it fulfill a candidate’s responsibility with all of its base, which is most likely comprised of people from all walks of life, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, credo, religion, gender identity and so on.
Like many cities across the nation and certainly within the walls of Congress, we’ve seen the devastating impact that Americans have suffered at the hands of elected officials that are not only out of touch with what would benefit the majority of residents in their districts — whose callous lack of responsibility or compassion to the plights of others reaps devastating consequences, thereby threatening the fabric of our democracy. There are obstructionists of all kinds and backgrounds, all racial identities, and so forth. Local government is certainly not immune to it, as has been demonstrated in Salem.
After careful examination of voting records in multiple races, our team found that in Salem particularly, there have been four (4) City Councillors who have been obstructionists to producing results, offering viable solutions, articulating common-sense decisions (or bringing their own plans to the table), and who have been more aligned with the self-serving interests of a few, rather than representing all of their constituents with transparency and inclusion. They act in strife, ignoring any sense of accountability or responsibility to constituents. They do all unabashedly with a sense of impunity. They have been unmoved regardless of facts, experts’ advice, educational forums, and have not listened to the outcry of the critical needs of residents. That is not leadership at all, but rather using the people’s seat as a bully pulpit, similar to what we suffered through under the Trump administration. We must expect more from our elected officials. All residents across the board deserve it.
Some candidates running for office this election cycle have intently and openly discriminated against the LGBTQ+ community, touting religious beliefs for their prejudicial practices, also most notably in Salem. They have weaponized LGBTQ+ status as if LGBTQ+ candidates or those who are allies and support equality for the members of this community are wrong to support equal rights for everyone. Others have openly made up malicious anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric that involves heterosexual candidates having affairs with former city officials, etc. — a shameful tactic that is often believed by the most naïve amongst us, or those who want to create division within Salem.
Currently, there is a local onslaught to impose personal religious practices into local government, with some Salem At-Large candidates claiming they will “govern according to the will of God,” and will vote according to their faith, regardless of whether human rights may be at stake and no matter what local ordinances and laws are already established. They have gone as far as to state that they support “conversion therapy” against gay and transgender students and adults in Salem, which leads to increased suicide rates, societal shunning, and longstanding mental anguish. The fact that Massachusetts was the 16th state banning gay conversion therapy wasn’t something that deterred them from making these false statements to some of our editorial team members and they are not alone in promoting this anti-LGBTQ+ agenda openly — and other times covertly — by letting voters know that gay and trans candidates did not belong in local politics. Factually, the information uncovered was alarming to say the very least. The Rainbow Times will follow up on investigative stories it is working on about this specific hate-filled religious right that has shown up in Salem and is being moved around by other candidates who belong to other marginalized groups, which is the most troublesome aspect of what was uncovered.
As we’ve seen in national politics, there has been a divisive trickle-down effect throughout the country. Some have expressed desire akin to a freeze-frame in time, remembering what they deem as the “good days,” or reverting to the 1950s, a period of time that was stifling, abusive and oppressive for all marginalized groups. It is critical, as a society, that our cities and towns continue to make progress — progress that will earn us all a seat at the table. Progress grows local economies. It ensures a brighter future for the youngest of generations and progressive policies place people, all people, at the forefront. The world moves forward and so must we.
Many, both young and old, strive for equality, human rights, climate control and eco-friendly measures, womens’ rights, equal pay, reproductive rights, and gun control. We believe those professing those changes are moving in the right direction to correct the errors of the past, change the current systems of oppression that limit other Americans from having a seat, voice, and vote at the table, and who fight to change America for the better. Most old-school politicians and those who support white supremacy disagree. We don’t wonder why they do so.
We must work harder to elect candidates who vow to change the status quo, even when many will resist. Resistance to change without a plausible argument is just born either out of fear and ignorance, or bias and prejudice. There is a plethora of reputable information and published research by professionals of each field that offers plenty of information and education about prejudice and the patriarchy, as a system of oppression that continues to hurt every person under it, other than those in power. To sit idly and do nothing is not an option. To keep the status quo and continue to oppress anyone who is not white is not an option. We have seen where that has taken us, with covert racism just about everywhere and overt racism under Trump — and the rise of white supremacy and domestic terrorism. And, bottom line, we can do better. But, we can only do better if we get out the vote. Words and endorsements are nothing if you don’t go out there and cast your vote. Let our democracy work fully by becoming an active part of the process so that you, too, can make a difference.
With growth and change come challenges; with progress comes change and compromise. We must have elected officials that understand the unique set of circumstances that surrounds forward movement. We also need elected officials who are equipped to rise to the occasion, who have the conviction of their words and work, who seek to understand and advocate for others, who strive for inclusion, and who comprehend how critical this point in time is — a time that will make or break so many of us when words and practices have been tainted, twisted and weaponized to gain political advantage or promote policies based on self-serving and archaic interest. We need elected officials who keep all residents in mind and who will work to dismantle the onslaught of attacks against the LGBTQ+ community and all marginalized communities while breaking down barriers to the access of services and who put a sizable dent into the systemic oppression that we know glaringly exists in nearly every facet of life.
After a rigorous endorsement process, The Rainbow Times proudly endorses the candidates below.
Kim Driscoll for Salem Mayor
The current incumbent, Mayor Kim Driscoll, has kept Salem moving forward for the past 16 years while serving the residents of Salem with strength, resiliency, intellectual fortitude, and inclusion. Under her formidable leadership, Mayor Driscoll has helped lead Salem to become a world-class city with a booming economy, smart development, and an in-depth understanding of issues relating to the LGBTQ+ community and the subcultures existing within it. For ongoing progress, inclusion, and equity within the Salem borders, Mayor Driscoll is the only choice.
We are thrilled to announce our ardent endorsement of Kim Driscoll once again for Salem Mayor. Mayor Driscoll has fervently stood with the LGBTQ+ community, has committed herself to equity within the city of Salem, and has publicly demonstrated leadership from an inclusive, educated, and innovative process. She has handled the COVID-crisis like a champ while putting the health and safety of Salem residents at the forefront and ensuring the city stays on track and operates as normal as possible to allow our local businesses to flourish. That is not an easy task and something that many other Mayors and cities struggled with last year and even now. Her leadership is unmatched and we are proud to throw our full support behind her re-election bid. Salem’s future depends on it.
Our climate concerns deserve someone who will support eco-friendly solutions while standing against all types of prejudice. We know Mayor Driscoll has delivered substantial solutions already that have safeguarded people of color, and LGBTQ+ youth. The creation of the Salem Race Equity Task Force (SRETF) is one of those examples of her leadership in the wake of the national exposure that the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor brought to life. With the SRETF, there is a solid foundation and an intentional effort from the Mayor to tackle issues that minority people experience in Salem. That shows that Mayor Driscoll sees BIPOC people and all, and she delivers on her commitment to continuing a Salem that is inclusive of all, and where accountability is present. It’s not about perfection, it’s about a record of fighting for what’s right and protecting those who need it most while protecting the environment, maintaining our history, developing coalitions with community partners to tackle the most pressing needs of Salem residents like housing, affordability, development, and infrastructure. Salem has been in the process of transformation, a transformation that has led us to this point of growth. That can only be accomplished with a formidable leader that delivers on the promises made to us all. Mayor Driscoll is a fighter and doesn’t give up, even when there have been obstructionists on the Council to halt any meaningful progress and have tried to deny many Salemites of basic human rights, such as the right to be able to afford housing and support ADUs, so that those who work locally and contribute to the wellbeing of a vibrant city can afford to live here too.
Mayor Driscoll walks the walk and talks the talk. She has been out on the campaign trail not merely to get a vote but to get to know the concerns of the residents and to listen to how she can continue to improve the city as a whole. She invests herself deeply in city issues and that includes going into the trenches with others and digging deep to get the job done. No one person will agree on every single decision a Mayor makes — that is an impossible task. What we know is that Mayor Kim Driscoll is a powerhouse that doesn’t seek a pat on the back for a job well done, but instead fights to ensure that Salem is a thriving city where we can all grow and flourish. She creates a safe haven for those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community (and other racial and ethnic minorities) and provides a sense of safety and affirmation to those who need it most. She has listened to harsh criticism from some residents and has received misogynistic comments from other mayoral candidates or Councillors, comments that wouldn’t ever make their way into a political race had there been two male candidates running for the corner office. Yet, she persists.
We are proud to go into the trenches with Mayor Driscoll any day of the week and look forward to what she has in store for Salem moving ahead. The Rainbow Times ardently stands with Mayor Kim Driscoll and offers our unyielding endorsement for her re-ectlection bid.
Salem Councillors At Large*
Alice Merkl; At-Large City Councillor
Alice has endlessly proven that she is fully vested in Salem and has been for a number of years. Her dedication and work are not only for one specific cause, a particular area of interest nor a certain group of people. She is fully dedicated to a wide variety of initiatives and serves all people with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Alice was endorsed by the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus PAC and the North Shore Labor Council, an interview that dissects candidates’ answers in a very long and timed process that isn’t easily won.
She has been active in volunteering efforts for the Mack Park Food Farm, the Community Life Center, Salem’s Council on Aging, the Salem Food Pantry, and on neighborhood clean-ups just about every month. In the past, she has lent her voice to LGBTQ+ causes, such as the “Yes On 3 Campaign” to educate students and residents during public forums on trans rights issues. She has taken it upon herself to be knowledgeable, informed, and proactive in combating food insecurity, supporting environmental sustainability, housing for all, and historic preservation advocacy, as key issues she’s devoted to. Alice has vowed transparency and responsiveness, something that we can never get enough of in politics.
Alice is loyal and trustworthy. She is clear about where she stands and when she doesn’t know the answer, she immerses herself in the topic to be able to fully identify answers and seek solutions that align with human rights and needs. Her volunteer work is a testament to that character and willingness to serve others, something which isn’t an easy task. This is Alice’s second run and like we did the first time, we fully and wholeheartedly endorse her for At-Large City Councilor. We hope you do too.
Ty Hapworth; At-Large City Councillor
Like several of his colleagues, Councillor Hapworth also stood in support of gender-neutral language in city ordinances and voiced such support, not only by a vote. He directly took on the opposition to it and insisted on updating every word to be gender-inclusive, like many cities have already done in the commonwealth. His point, which was misrepresented by dissenters, was based on changing old paper documentation that through the years has purposely left women and their contributions outside of public life, and attempts to allow young girls to see such a reflection of gender-inclusive awareness and terminology for future generations. The same would apply to trans and non-binary resident inclusion.
Councillor Hapworth is one of the most progressive Councillors on the Council. He’s not afraid of his open support to marginalized communities, whether it is Black Lives Matter, Indigenous peoples’ rights, LGBTQ+ rights, or women’s rights, and stands by his convictions. In recent years, he has spearheaded the rainbow crosswalk painting to create a visible representation of the city’s support of the LGBTQ+ community in downtown Salem. He is also the male City Councillor most publicly committed to gender equity. Additionally, Councillor Hapworth has earned the endorsement of the North Shore Labor Council and is committed to workers’ rights, environmental justice, affordability in all sectors, smart planning and development, innovative technology, and social justice.
Over his short time on the council, Council Hapworth has earned our trust and the trust of others who’ve placed their confidence in him. We look forward to seeing how Councillor Hapworth continues to challenge outdated thoughts and ideas to reach innovative solutions and inclusive measures for all residents within city borders. The Rainbow Times wholeheartedly endorses Councillor Hapworth to serve a second term as Councillor At Large.
Conrad Prosniewski; At-Large City Councillor
Councillor Prosniewski is well known in the LGBTQ+ community and to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) because of his consistent record of representing Salemites fairly. He has been able to effectively support a majority of initiatives while still maintaining that fairness as much as possible with all constituents he represents. Prosniewski’s service-oriented call was clear the first time he ran for office, after retiring from his post as Captain of the Salem Police Department for 41 years. In that capacity, he was able to experience and listen to many of the problems that Salemites faced through the years.
When he says he wants to continue to work on improving the quality of life of Salemites, he means it for all Salemites, not just some. He has done it before and he has also already done it through his work at the City Council. As a member of the Public Safety Sub-Committee of the Salem Race Equity Task Force, SRETF, Councillor Prosniewski was key in moving forward the body cam recommendation for Police Officers and his input was vital in the Task Force as a whole. He was also endorsed by the North Shore Labor Council, something that also speaks to his commitment to working families and individuals.
Councillor Prosniewski listens and even if he disagrees, he plays by the rules, and not in an underhanded manner. He also doesn’t play games and is honest about his stances on issues of human rights and service to others. Likewise, if he makes a mistake, he owns it too. Because of his honorable character and solid track record The Rainbow Times proudly endorses Councillor Prosniewski as one of the At-Large City Councilors this November.
NOTE: *There are 4 seats up for grabs. However, at this time, we cannot offer our full endorsement of a 4th candidate. We are able to honorably mention Fred Norton for the 4th seat based on our research of their commitment to progressive causes. He was the only other At-Large candidate to reach out to be interviewed by The Rainbow Times. Unfortunately, our editorial team did not receive his direct answers to our interview questions by the deadline.
Salem – Ward 1*
Bob McCarthy, City Council (Incumbent)
Bob McCarthy has been a long-standing City Councillor who is progressive, inclusive, and uses a practical approach to ensuring all Salem residents are heard. He’s not afraid to voice neither opposition nor agreement and uses thoughtful consideration of issues at hand before casting a vote. His voting record substantiates it. And, he was also endorsed by the North Shore Labor Council this year.
The candidate Councillor McCarthy is running against, based on the research conducted by our team, has not supported inclusive causes and has worked to fight against them instead, which goes against the essence and sense of equity to every human being that this publication stands by. If driving a vehicle that proudly shows an insurrection bumper sticker the reads “Trump 2.0” isn’t offensive enough, we don’t know what is. Several candidates views on the LGBTQ+ community show a clear picture of what is at stake this November.
Now, more than ever, we need people who are unapologetic in their sense and stances for justice, human rights, inclusion, etc. Bob has continued to show his support of people over establishment, and he is the only candidate that can deliver fairness while upholding the visibility and respect that comes with being in office and holding a seat on the City Council. Councillor McCarthy is undoubtedly that person for Ward 1.
*NOTE: The other candidate running for Ward 1 did not respond to our questions.
Salem – Ward 2
Caroline Watson-Felt, City Council
Although we are unable to offer a full endorsement for Watson-Felt, our editorial team would like to honorably mention her for the Ward 2 Council seat. Unfortunately, we did not receive her responses to the endorsement interview by deadline. However, based on The Rainbow Times’ research, Watson-Felt is the progressive choice for Ward 2 and is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Salem – Ward 3
Patti Morsillo, City Council (Incumbent)
Councillor Morsillo has shown through her consistent voting record that she is not only progressive but that she uplifts the voices of the women of Salem, ensuring they are respected and heard. She has stood up to opposition of progressive causes and has emphatically declared her support and commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, affordable housing, and the pleas of other disenfranchised groups within Salem.
Councillor Morsillo is unabashedly firm in her public stances and has demonstrated the effectiveness of how Councillors should operate. She is a reliable and trustworthy ally with a steady hand that leads the city into the future with conviction. As the incumbent, The Rainbow Times offers the strongest endorsement for Councillor Morsillo to be re-elected to the Ward 3 seat.
Salem – Ward 4
Lev McClain, City Council
McClain is a newcomer to City Council politics, but he is not a new resident of Ward 4. A strong communicator online and in person, he has been involved in conversations relevant to issues pertaining to Ward 4 specifically, especially relating to development, infrastructure, the local economy, taxes, and the environment, amongst others. He is a progressive candidate who supports inclusion and sensible development.
A staunch ally of the LGBTQ+ community, he has also received the endorsement of the North Shore Labor Council, an endorsement in itself that is not a simple one to land and which shows his commitment to working-class families and individuals.
As the Associate Director of Security at the Peabody Essex Museum, PEM, McClain understands the importance and place of safety, history, and the arts in the community. As a matter of fact, The Improper Bostonian Magazine selected McClain to feature in an exclusive portrayal of museum security while sharing his favorite works of art. Committed to social justice, McClain has also presented workshops on race equity to help create a broader understanding and inclusive environment for all who enter and work at the PEM.
As a former renter turned homeowner in Ward 4, he recognizes the challenges that residents face pertaining to taxes, rising rent costs, and development. McClain is a humble man with a vision of inclusion and justice for all. He is a stellar communicator and also a Salem school parent who understands the public school system and its needs. He listens closely to the concerns of his prospective constituents while focusing on ways he can collaborate with others to bring the most to the Ward.
In favor of bilingual language education and sensible affordable housing development, McClain has a multitude of experiences with people from all backgrounds, which lends itself to a deeper sense of empathy, comprehension, and relatability to human rights issues. McClain’s innate leadership skills far exceed the average candidate. If elected, McClain will make history by becoming the first Black man to be elected to the Salem City Council. We are excited to see McClain fill the Ward 4 city council seat and offer him The Rainbow Times unwavering endorsement.
In contrast, his opponent does just the opposite and is not someone who is open to LGBTQ+ rights or causes, development, and housing solutions, even though she is a renter herself. A fairly new resident to Ward 4, and based on answers given to the Salem Digest, she does not seem to have a clearly defined idea of where she stands or what she aims to do with Ward 4. She was given an opportunity to answer the same questions that McClain was sent but chose not to do so.
*NOTE: In addition to the endorsement interview and research collected about Lev McClain, the publisher of The Rainbow Times, who also was a candidate in the election and got to know the other candidates, offered his personal endorsement of McClain’s campaign as well, calling it “honorable, professional and clean.” In the spirit of transparency, the publisher did not weigh in on the publication’s independent endorsement process.
Salem – Ward 5
Jeff Cohen, City Council
Again this year, The Rainbow Times is proud to throw its full endorsement to Jeff Cohen for Ward 5. Cohen has been involved in city initiatives for a number of years serving as Salem’s No Place for Hate Chair and Co-chair and as a Board of Directors for Project Out, Inc. As Vice-Chair of the Sustainability, Energy and Resiliency Committee, Cohen was responsible in large part for drafting the Green Building Ordinance as a measure to help avert the climate crisis. He holds a plethora of environmental knowledge that is of the highest integrity. He is proactive and inclusive with all that he does and sticks to his word. Community members often seek Cohen’s input on city measures, concerns or questions pertaining to municipal functions or actions as he is immersed in Salem government. He embodies a wealth of knowledge and has extensive experience in advocating for environmental justice, social justice and accessibility issues.
A homeowner in Ward 5 and long-time resident, Cohen plays a critical role in ensuring neighbors and city residents are kept abreast of key information pertaining to city issues. Cohen is a true progressive that has always invested his time, energy, and efforts to improve the lives of those that surround him. He is compassionate, empathetic, and a social justice warrior who will go to bat with anyone that needs him to do so.
Cohen’s logic is sound and he acts with determined conviction. He is open about where he stands pertaining human rights issues and has been a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups in Salem. The residents of Ward 5 will do well with Cohen as their Councillor and the city would undeniably be fortunate to have him in the Ward 5 seat.
*NOTE: The other candidate running for Ward 5, Steve Kapantis, did not submit his answers on time, although he expressed interest in doing so several times, unfortunately after the deadline had already passed. He was one of two candidates contacted that tried to get them in and for that we are grateful. It shows that he cared enough to get back to this publication and that is worth mentioning.
Salem – Ward 6
Meg Riccardi, City Council (Incumbent)
The current incumbent, Councillor Meg Riccardi has demonstrated what exceptional leadership should look like on the Council. She has been unwavering in her support and knowledge of marginalized communities’ issues and, when in doubt, she informs herself from experts in the area. Every vote she has made on the Council has been well-thought-out and comes from a fact-based driven perspective. Serving as a member of Salem’s Race Equity Task Force, SRETF, Riccardi was fully supportive of inclusive measures proposed by members of marginalized communities themselves, especially the Latinx and LGBTQ+ leaders she worked with directly.
In addition, she has proven to be knowledgeable on issues of injustice and has spoken in council meetings on the importance of inclusion. She was the only Councilor that voiced concern about the timing of an award presented to the SPD, put forth by Councillor Flynn the day after Breonna Taylor’s grand jury decision, which was extremely painful to the BIPOC community. In positions of power, it is crucial to be able to act with critical thinking skills, to be able to recognize and empathize with other people’s struggles and to be conscientious of what messages are being sent to marginalized communities from elected officials. While Councillor Riccardi fully supported the effort to recognize SPD’s work, she knew it was not the right moment to do so as millions of people across the country, and here at home, were rising up in mass protest against systemic abuse and police brutality. We couldn’t agree more with her assessment.
Councillor Riccardi is a person of her word, someone residents can trust and who moves and votes to uphold policies that support inclusionary practices in city ordinances, resolutions, and daily concerns like housing, the environment, development, and infrastructure. Based on her statements, interviews with The Rainbow Times, city council votes, and community involvement, Councillor Riccardi has more than earned another term to serve the residents of Ward 6 well. We are thrilled to throw our full support and endorsement behind her again this election cycle.
Salem – Ward 7
Andy Varela, City Council
Andy Varela is running for the second time in Ward 7 to replace the seat left vacant by Councillor Steve Dibble who chose to throw his hat into the Mayoral race instead. In stark contrast with the current councillor, Varela would be a refreshing change to the often contentious seat.
As a local farmer, a parent and business owner, Varella understands the importance of nourishing the community at every level. He has placed an emphasis on the preservation and enhancement of the arts, is dedicated to ensure equity and social justice for residents, and is innovative in his approach toward housing and ideas to support families. Additionally, he stands strongly with resiliency efforts as the city continues to look toward a greener future while still developing viable solutions in favor of affordability to help combat the housing crisis, a critical need for Salem residents. Likewise, he has publicly stated his commitment to ages across the spectrum and understands the need to rise to the occasion to meet the challenges faced by young families and seniors alike.
Most importantly, Ward 7 needs a Councillor with a grounded, problem-solving approach and an ability to work in tandem with others from various backgrounds, being guided by a sense of duty and responsibility to serve some of the most vulnerable residents in the city and create an inclusive ward. Division should not be the name of the game in the people’s seat and Ward 7 deserves to have a Councillor committed to representing the needs of the majority of residents from informed perspectives and producing fact-driven inclusive results. Andy Varela is that person for Ward 7 and The Rainbow Times is proud to offer our full endorsement of his candidacy.
Lynn City Council – Ward 3
Constantino “Coco” Alinsug
Currently leading the race for Lynn’s Ward 3 Council seat, Coco Alinsug has been a lifelong LGBTQ+ champion hero, locally, and abroad in his native Philippines. Also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Coco has dedicated his life to social justice, representing some of the most marginalized communities around the globe. The Rainbow Times has witnessed Coco’s dedication, resiliency, drive, motivation and boundless energy for more than a decade’s worth of directly collaborating with him on various causes and initiatives. As we’ve also witnessed from the first-time candidate this election cycle, the way he has run his campaign is equally as impressive as his resume.
Coco has spent a lifetime also devoting himself to HIV/AIDS prevention, LGBTQ+ youth and the arts and has received countless awards and recognition honoring him for his relentless work to truth and justice, breaking down barriers one person at a time, including being recognized by The Rainbow Times a number of years ago for his honorable work and commitment to the betterment of the LGBTQ+ community. He is a hero to many, especially those often left without a voice and that are persecuted and stigmatized in society.
Most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, Coco traveled nationally and internationally, educating others about LGBTQ+ health and vaccine research. He is also hailed as one of the original members of the “Protocol Team” that reviewed the study design of the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine. Additionally, he Though impressive, these factoids just touch the tip of the iceberg.
Coco spent over a decade building and spearheading the Salem-based North Shore Alliance of LGBTQ+ Youth (nAGLY) as the organization’s Executive Director and has been, in large part, responsible for the tremendous growth of the organization in its earlier days. Over the past several years in his position as a Commissioner for the Masachusetts LGBTQ+ Youth Commission, which establishes effective policies, programs, and resources for LGBTQ youth throughout the Commonwealth, and as Outreach Manager for Fenway Health, Coco has helped to safe lives, quite literally. He also serves on multiple boards of directors, groups, and community organizations ranging from culture to the arts to community television.
Coco is a leader that throws his heart into all he does. He is not about smoke and mirrors but leads by his own example with conviction, passion, empathy and brilliance. In the years of endorsing candidates for office, our team has never witnessed a Lynn candidate that has thrown themselves into a race with as much vigor, sheer grit and fortitude as Coco. This speaks volumes to the type of person he is and the kind of determined leader he will be as a City Councillor. Coco knows from his personal experience as a gay man, a member of the BIPOC community and through his unmatched social justice-related and management expereience what it takes to persevere and truly serve others.
He has been able to garner palpable energy, support and excitement across the board about his campaign from those who believe in his abilities as much as his person. We join them. It is rare for a candidate to be equally strong as a well-rounded progressive candidate as they are a personal human rights warrior. Yet, Coco checks all the right boxes while coloring outside the lines. If elected, Coco will be the first Fillipino-American and openly gay man elected to Lynn City Council. The Rainbow Times is excited to throw our ardent endorsement behind Coco Alinsug for Ward 3.
Final Thoughts this Season
Although representation of all marginalized groups is critical to local government, equally important are the fundamental beliefs and practices of individual vantage points which will ultimately influence decision making and the votes cast on behalf of constituents. Where candidates stand on issues overall will continue to either advance or halt the progress of what others are able to achieve in city government and for the residents that are affected by it. We are confident in The Rainbow Times’ process and to our endorsements above. We fervently stand by them. Vote on November 2.
***Note: The Boston Mayoral Endorsement will be released soon.***