In the News

AT THE CENTER OF PEOPLE, PLANNING & POLITICS

 
 

The Boston Herald: Don’t let JPKIII overshadow other contenders. Published September 26, 2019.

“No one’s going to tell me that that voice doesn’t have a place in this race,” he said. “You’re never going to be able to convince me that that voice doesn’t have a place in this race and doesn’t have a place in the United States Senate, and it’s not there now.”

WBUR: Diverse Field Set For Final Boston City Council Elections. Published September 25.

In Roxbury, District 7 incumbent Kim Janey also had two challengers. Janey got 70% of the vote Tuesday, and will face Roy Owens Sr. on the final ballot.

EFQXoFsX4AEMIcC.jpeg



 

MassLive: Alex Morse, looking to unseat Rep. Richard Neal, releases tax returns for the last 8 years. Published September 23.

WGBH: Why Is Voter Turnout In Local Elections So Low? Published September 16,2019

Political consultant Wilnelia Rivera told the Bay State Banner, “What we’re seeing is a shift in the power structure of the council.

Buzzfeed: He Became Mayor At Just 22. Now He’s Running To Take Down A 70-Year-Old House Democrat. Publish September 16, 2019.

Screen Shot 2019-09-25 at 9.37.41 PM.png

WBUR: Latino Candidates Seek To Further Diversify Boston's City Council. Published September 16,2019

“Political strategist and WBUR analyst Wilnelia Rivera ran Ayanna Pressley’s successful move from Boston councilor to U.S. congresswoman, and she's now in charge of St. Guillen’s council bid. According to Rivera, Pressley's primary election saw a 58% increase in turnout over the 2014 primary, and now Rivera wants to know whether the increase can be sustained.

Rivera says she doesn’t expect to see a much higher turnout than in previous non-mayoral elections; she’s expecting just 10% to 12% of registered Latino voters to vote.

So while the council could very likely become majority people of color in November, Rivera says that still isn’t reflected among voters.

“How do we create a multiracial party that's actually multiracial, because you need turnout to look that way," she said. "It's not about who's in the party; it's about who's voting."



The Boston Harald: Steve Pemberton draws contrasts with Ed Markey, Joseph. Published September 5, 2019.

“No one’s going to tell me that that voice doesn’t have a place in this race,” he said. “You’re never going to be able to convince me that that voice doesn’t have a place in this race and doesn’t have a place in the United States Senate, and it’s not there now.”

The Daily Free Press: A look into the top fundraisers in the race for city councilor at-large. September 5, 2019

Non-incumbent challenger Alejandra St. Guillen, who previously served as director of Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s Office of Immigrant Advancement, raised the fourth most money, coming in with a fundraising total of $110,493. 

Jessica Bahena, campaign manager for St. Guillen, said while St. Guillen did not have the same advantage as the other well-connected veteran politicians, her campaign has had success building a grassroots level network throughout the city.

“[St. Guillen] doesn’t have an amplified network of donors, as other candidates, but what has been helping us is that she has a lot of loyal grassroots donors,” Bahena said, “and those donors have been able to reach out to their network to host meet and greets, grassroots dollar events.


Bay State Banner: A sea change on the city council?. September 5, 2019

WBUR. Challenge To Neal Is The Latest Evidence Of A Political And Generational Split Among Dems. Published August 2, 2019.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, left, will challenge Rep. Richard Neal in the Democratic primary. (Courtesy Alex Morse for Congress; Niall Carson/PA via AP)

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, left, will challenge Rep. Richard Neal in the Democratic primary. (Courtesy Alex Morse for Congress; Niall Carson/PA via AP)

“We deserve leaders who understand the human toll of failed policies and the cost of willful indifference inflicted upon our working families and our most vulnerable citizens. I understand these threats because I have lived them, stared them down, and overcome them.” - Steve Pemberton, candidate for US Senate

“We deserve leaders who understand the human toll of failed policies and the cost of willful indifference inflicted upon our working families and our most vulnerable citizens. I understand these threats because I have lived them, stared them down, and overcome them.” - Steve Pemberton, candidate for US Senate

the hampshire gazette. Holyoke mayor to challenge Neal for congressional seat. published on july 22, 2019

“Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, front, speaks during a protest of president-elect Donald Trump's policies at Kennedy Park in Holyoke on November 19, 2016.” via Hampshire Gazette

“Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, front, speaks during a protest of president-elect Donald Trump's policies at Kennedy Park in Holyoke on November 19, 2016.” via Hampshire Gazette

exhale magazine. When Candidates Support Each Other, We All Win. Published on july 30, 2019.

“Boston City Council candidates Alejandra St. Guillen, Kim Janey and Michelle Wu share a campaign office in Roxbury’s Dudley Square neighborhood.” - Karen Morales

“Boston City Council candidates Alejandra St. Guillen, Kim Janey and Michelle Wu share a campaign office in Roxbury’s Dudley Square neighborhood.” - Karen Morales

Rufus Faulk speaks as the Boston City Council reviews ways to prevent season violence in Boston on June 25, 2019 in Boston, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald). “We know violence happens all year, but there is an uptick during the summer,” City Councilor Kim Janey said at a hearing at City Hall. “We just saw this past weekend a spike in violence.”

Rufus Faulk speaks as the Boston City Council reviews ways to prevent season violence in Boston on June 25, 2019 in Boston, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald). “We know violence happens all year, but there is an uptick during the summer,” City Councilor Kim Janey said at a hearing at City Hall. “We just saw this past weekend a spike in violence.”

BAY STATE BANNER. An issue-oriented council race. Rent control, ICE, school budget: Voters seek answers from candidates. PUBLISHED ON JUNE 18, 2019.

“When at-large City Councilor Michelle Wu teamed up with District 7 Councilor Kim Janey and at-large candidate Alejandra St. Guillen to open a joint campaign office in Dudley Square Saturday, it was the first time in 10 years a slate of candidates has worked together in a local Boston election.“A campaign office should be about building a movement, about bringing people in, about collaborating, about staying true to the vision,” Wu said, “so that after Election Day, you’re going to have a team ready to go, ready to make it happen.” Yawu Miller, Bay State reporter

“When at-large City Councilor Michelle Wu teamed up with District 7 Councilor Kim Janey and at-large candidate Alejandra St. Guillen to open a joint campaign office in Dudley Square Saturday, it was the first time in 10 years a slate of candidates has worked together in a local Boston election.“A campaign office should be about building a movement, about bringing people in, about collaborating, about staying true to the vision,” Wu said, “so that after Election Day, you’re going to have a team ready to go, ready to make it happen.” Yawu Miller, Bay State reporter

SAMPAN. Symphony Plaza elder housing to stay affordable. PUBLIshed on june 14, 2019.

Boston City Councilor for District 7 Kim Janey said, “We’ve got to make sure working families, seniors and people with disabilities have a place to stay. We need to make sure residents can stay.” Symphony Plaza is comprised of Symphony Tower East and Tower West on Massachusetts Avenue, with 403 units across from Boston’s Symphony Hall. Acquired by Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) in 2001, the property was refinanced with public and private funders to preserve the towers as affordable housing long-term.

Boston City Councilor for District 7 Kim Janey said, “We’ve got to make sure working families, seniors and people with disabilities have a place to stay. We need to make sure residents can stay.” Symphony Plaza is comprised of Symphony Tower East and Tower West on Massachusetts Avenue, with 403 units across from Boston’s Symphony Hall. Acquired by Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) in 2001, the property was refinanced with public and private funders to preserve the towers as affordable housing long-term.

DOrchester reporter. Pot shop proposals popping up across Dot, Mattapan. published on june 13, 2019.

“I think we are close in terms of agreement around equity and agreement around other items in the ordinance, but I think we need more discussion and so I certainly support it staying in committee and welcome any additional feedback and input as this process moves forward,” City Councilor Kim Janey said.

DORCHESTER REPORTER. City Council field still fluid pending verified signature. published on june 6, 2019.

Kim Janey, who is sharing office space with Councillor Wu and council hopeful St. Guillen, faces two qualified challengers. Perennial candidate Roy Wise and attorney Valeria Hope Rust submitted enough certified signatures to make the District 7 ballot for Janey’s seat.

— Jennifer Smith, News Editor
City Councilor Kim Janey says city officials need to be proactive in making sure Boston’s renowned artistic institutions are diverse and welcoming. On Wednesday, Janey called for a hearing to talk over tackling those issues with the city’s esteemed museums, saying that despite their commitments and efforts, many struggle to be inclusive. “Too many of these institutions’ visitors of color are often viewed with suspicion, treated with contempt, or even taunted with racial slurs,” Janey said. Additional article link from  Boston Herald.

City Councilor Kim Janey says city officials need to be proactive in making sure Boston’s renowned artistic institutions are diverse and welcoming. On Wednesday, Janey called for a hearing to talk over tackling those issues with the city’s esteemed museums, saying that despite their commitments and efforts, many struggle to be inclusive. “Too many of these institutions’ visitors of color are often viewed with suspicion, treated with contempt, or even taunted with racial slurs,” Janey said. Additional article link from Boston Herald.

“I believe the intersectionality of all my identities as a gay woman, a Latina, the daughter of an immigrant, a homicide survivor, a new mom, etc. have had a tremendous impact on my life and my passions,” said St. Guillen, Boston City Councilor At-Large candidate, to The Rainbow Times. “My passion is driven by my deeply held belief that all people have the right and should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Everyone deserves to live with dignity and respect and that is played out across various spectrums—in our schools, in the community, in our local government.”
— Alejandra St. Guillen, Candidate for Boston City Council
“Steve Pemberton has traveled a remarkable and unlikely path, from unwanted foster child cast aside by multiple families to the C-suite of major corporations. Along the way he wrote a moving memoir — “A Chance in the World” — that became a feature film in 2017. Now he is on the verge of attempting another major leap: to the US Senate. Pemberton, 51, is laying the groundwork for a challenge to Senator Edward Markey. He has formed an exploratory committee and enlisted the services of A-list political consultants Doug Rubin and Wilnelia Rivera, and is likely to enter the Democratic field later this month, joining Boston labor lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan in challenging Markey.” - Adrian Walker, Boston Globe Reporter

“Steve Pemberton has traveled a remarkable and unlikely path, from unwanted foster child cast aside by multiple families to the C-suite of major corporations. Along the way he wrote a moving memoir — “A Chance in the World” — that became a feature film in 2017. Now he is on the verge of attempting another major leap: to the US Senate. Pemberton, 51, is laying the groundwork for a challenge to Senator Edward Markey. He has formed an exploratory committee and enlisted the services of A-list political consultants Doug Rubin and Wilnelia Rivera, and is likely to enter the Democratic field later this month, joining Boston labor lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan in challenging Markey.” - Adrian Walker, Boston Globe Reporter

It's not unusual for political candidates to pick running mates that campaign for office on the same ticket, like presidents and vice presidents. But a group of candidates all vying for seats on the Boston City Council are forming a different kind of coalition, with three candidates - two incumbents and a hopeful - all sharing office space and resources.

BOSTON GLOBE. Women of color team up for Boston City Council run. Published on june 2, 2019.

“There’s so much said about having more women in politics and what that means,” said St. Guillen. “This is how it looks different. We can come together and support one another and have a space that’s open to the community.”By that, she means the trio hope to make the campaign office a community hub and tap into the kind of grass-roots energy that helped to vault another woman of color, Ayanna Pressley, from City Council to Congress last fall.
— Stephanie Ebbert, Boston Globe reporter
These major demographic changes don’t guarantee a political representation shift, noted Wilnelia Rivera, who was Pressley’s chief campaign strategist last year. Outreach to these populations is critical, she said, a key factor in Pressley’s win.
— Wilnelia Rivera, President of Rivera Consulting Inc.

Bay state banner. Fierce competition for votes, money in 2019 council race. PUBLISHEd ON april 29, 2019.

“We are in a city that is booming,” said St. Guillen. “Boston is seeing economic growth like at no other time. But in many ways, it’s a tale of two cities. One that is benefitting from it and another that is not benefitting from it, but being hurt by it.” St. Guillen’s themes of fighting gentrification and supporting strong protections for immigrants may well resonate with Boston residents who are being slammed by high rents and hemmed in by luxury developments beyond the reach of most current city residents. But in a crowded field of candidates vying for voters’ attention, St. Guillen will likely need more than a good message to stand out. She’ll need money.

“We are in a city that is booming,” said St. Guillen. “Boston is seeing economic growth like at no other time. But in many ways, it’s a tale of two cities. One that is benefitting from it and another that is not benefitting from it, but being hurt by it.” St. Guillen’s themes of fighting gentrification and supporting strong protections for immigrants may well resonate with Boston residents who are being slammed by high rents and hemmed in by luxury developments beyond the reach of most current city residents. But in a crowded field of candidates vying for voters’ attention, St. Guillen will likely need more than a good message to stand out. She’ll need money.

Tufts Magazine. How Wilnelia Rivera is rewriting the political rules and fighting to make sure underrepresented groups are heard.

Rivera said that on the day of the primary, her team knew they’d won at 3:30 p.m., because the turnout numbers in key districts were so much higher than they’d ever been. “Those are our voters,” she remembers thinking. Later tallies showed that the number of Latino voters went up by 72 percent. A little more than 49 percent of the people who came out to the polls had never voted in a primary. Some reports, Pressley said, now indicate that the campaign helped grow the electorate by 54 percent. “I was crying outside the room and feeling my heart beating out of my chest,” Rivera said of election night, her eyes welling up again at the memory.
— Wilnelia Rivera, President of Rivera Consulting, Inc.

aMPLIFY Latinx and encuentro diasporo afro. Afro-Latino 365 celebrating black history month. Feature on wilnelia rivera.

“As Langston Hughes one said, I too, am American, and as such we are a vital element of this democratic experiment. To increase our collective power, organizing votes is not enough and participating in political life is not either, we need to organize money and talent. Until we figure this out, we will always lack the political power to live a better quality of life where we live, work, and play.” Red the full  interview here .

“As Langston Hughes one said, I too, am American, and as such we are a vital element of this democratic experiment. To increase our collective power, organizing votes is not enough and participating in political life is not either, we need to organize money and talent. Until we figure this out, we will always lack the political power to live a better quality of life where we live, work, and play.” Red the full interview here.

THE boston banner. Vacancies spur city council candidates. Published online april 10, 2019.

...noted that many of the challengers have no ties to, and no allegiance to the mayor, a break with the traditional arrangement during the 20-year administration of the late Thomas Menino, who was rarely challenged by the body.

“What we’re seeing is a shift in the power structure of the council,” she said. “It’s clear that the power the mayor has had historically over the council is no longer there.”
— Wilnelia Rivera, President of Rivera Consulting Inc.

NATIONAL JOURNAL. “Lynch Looks to Avoid Being Next Primary Casualty.” Published on april 10, 2019.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, a former ironworker with a wicked strong Boston accent, feels like a throwback to a different era of Democratic politics.

It’s especially apparent in the 116th Congress, with big-city, machine-backed politicians Bob Brady, Joseph Crowley, and Michael Capuano having departed Capitol Hill last year and Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois facing another formidable primary challenge from the left.

That makes the Massachusetts incumbent, now serving his ninth full term, an attractive target for a primary challenger, especially since the 8th District is solidly Democratic. But it would still be a big lift for a progressive in a blue-collar seat that Democratic consultant Mary Anne Marsh called “tailor-made” for Lynch.

One of three Democrats still in the House who opposed the Affordable Care Act, Lynch had a reputation as a social conservative early in his tenure. But analyses of his voting record by the Almanac of American Politics show a distinct leftward shift in recent years on social issues, as he has come to support LGBT rights and upholding Roe v. Wade.

“He sticks out like a sore thumb,” said Sean McElwee, cofounder of the progressive group Data for Progress and a leader in the effort to move the Democratic Party left.

Lynch already has two challengers: video-game developer Brianna Wu, who garnered roughly one quarter of the vote against Lynch last year after a campaign she admits she ran poorly, and physician Mohammad Dar, who launched his first bid for office last month.

Wu said in an interview that she plans to emphasize health care and education on the campaign trail. She also said she was prepared to run again in 2020 even before losing last year and has “learned the lessons” of her first race, planning a traditional campaign structure instead of the handful of paid staffers she had last time.

She is already instituting changes. After not doing call time and raising just $113,000 last cycle, Wu said she was fundraising in California last week.

Dar told National Journal that voters are looking for someone who will fight for progressive policies, particularly on health care and the environment, unlike Lynch. He could draw a contrast between his support of Medicare-for-all and the incumbent’s opposition to it. “These moments call us to incredibly bold action,” he said.

Capuano lost decisively to now-Rep. Ayanna Pressley in the neighboring 7th District last year, but not all districts are created equal. The 8th District has gentrified more slowly than the neighboring, minority-white 7th, and it contains significantly less of Boston’s residential areas than the 7th.

“This is not Cambridge or Somerville,” said one Massachusetts Democrat supportive of Lynch.

Wilnelia Rivera, who was Pressley’s general strategist, cautioned that the Pressley playbook may not be replicable given the demographics and Lynch’s popularity locally.

“Because Lynch hasn’t been challenged in a long time, it’s open season. But whoever runs will have to raise a lot of money,” said Rivera, who advised challengers to “approach it at a block-to-block level” as opposed to the Pressley campaign’s digital-heavy strategy that mostly forsook traditional TV advertising.

The better model for progressives may be 1,000 miles away in Chicagoland, where Lipinski faces a likely rematch with progressive Marie Newman in a similarly suburban, blue-collar, historically Democratic district.

“Lynch is basically out of step with what it means to be a Democrat today,” McElwee said. “But the difference with Capuano and Crowley was that they were out of step with what it means to be a progressive.”

While some incumbents may appear rusty or unprepared if they haven’t had a recent challenge, Lynch allies say he shouldn’t be underestimated on the stump.

“Stephen Lynch has always defied political gravity,” said Marsh, who noted the congressman defeated former state Senate President William Bulger’s son in his first state Senate race and beat progressive favorite and fellow state Sen. Cheryl Jacques in his first election to the House, a 2001 special.

But for Democratic voters in the district, which has diversified from being largely white working-class when Lynch was first elected, his common touch may matter more than national trends affecting the party.

Multiple sources said the congressman is well-known for his constituent-services operation and has made it a point to be visible in the district, and the former Ironworkers Local 7 president has deep support from organized labor.

Despite that, Wu singled out working-class, racially diverse Brockton, the second-largest town in the district, as a place where her message may resonate. She said Lynch has “ignored” parts of the district outside of his South Boston base.

Unlike Pressley, who was an at-large member of the Boston City Council, it is highly unlikely any sitting or former officeholders will take on Lynch.

“What Ayanna did in breaking the incumbency rule in Massachusetts is definitely not the tradition, and even more so in that district,” Rivera said. “It’s much more parochial.”

Scott Ferson, a spokesman for Lynch’s campaign, said that while the congressman isn’t taking anything for granted he is more focused on presenting his own case than going after Wu or Dar.

“You have to concentrate on what you can do and not try to control other candidates,” Ferson said. “It’s their job to make that sale.”

GINA CHristo joins SUE O’connell of the take on necn to talk joe biden and why his time is Up. AIRED on April 5, 2019.

Click to watch and listen ad our Senior Consultant, Gina Christo, as she breaks down why it is time for former VP Former Vice President Joe Biden to end his presidential run. She is joined by Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennoch and host Sue O’Connell to discuss.

Click to watch and listen ad our Senior Consultant, Gina Christo, as she breaks down why it is time for former VP Former Vice President Joe Biden to end his presidential run. She is joined by Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennoch and host Sue O’Connell to discuss.

In this Oct. 17, 2012, file photo, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., speaks in Rockford, Ill. (Scott Morgan/Rockford Register Star via AP, File)
.... the DCCC did not welcome the insurgent campaign operatives anyway, so the new rule is making official what they already suspected.
— Wilnelia Rivera, President of Rivera Consulting Inc. and chief architect of Ayanna Pressley historic run for MA-07

WILNELIA RIVERA joins host jim braude of wgbh’s greater boston. aired on APril 2, 2019.

The friction between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and some of the more outspoken freshman members of her caucus has sharpened in the wake of new rules published by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The party has declared that it will not work with consultants or other political vendors who help those challenging incumbents in next year's elections.

THE TUFTS DAILY NEWSPAPER. ALUMNI Q&A: WILNELIA RIVERA. PUBLISHED ONLINE MarCh 25, 2019.

“I always called it my political home (Neighbor to Neighbor MA) because it’s where I really learned the nuance behind doing this work. You can learn the training, you can go to school, you can do the entry-level work, but it’s not really until you understand the nuance that you can really get good at understanding what it takes for systems and people and opportunity to come together to really make an impact. I was at Neighbor to Neighbor for six years before I went on to the governor’s office and from there launched my career into being a consultant.”
— Wilnelia Rivera, Founder of Rivera Consulting Inc.

Boston globe. St. Guillen’s passion for politics began in tragedy. published march 19,2019.

As someone who grew up in working-class Mission Hill and was identified as a star student early on, issues of equity resonate with St. Guillen. She knows that her path to Boston Latin and on to an elite college could easily have been different.” “It’s not that I was given anything that I didn’t earn, but at the same time, there’s a level of luck that comes along with that path, and I could’ve just as easily gone down another path,” she said. “And so that’s why the issues of education in our schools are hugely important to me, and the fact that not all students are receiving access to equitable quality education across the board is a huge concern for me.”

As someone who grew up in working-class Mission Hill and was identified as a star student early on, issues of equity resonate with St. Guillen. She knows that her path to Boston Latin and on to an elite college could easily have been different.” “It’s not that I was given anything that I didn’t earn, but at the same time, there’s a level of luck that comes along with that path, and I could’ve just as easily gone down another path,” she said. “And so that’s why the issues of education in our schools are hugely important to me, and the fact that not all students are receiving access to equitable quality education across the board is a huge concern for me.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren in Memphis this month. Her rivals on either ideological flank will raise substantially more money in the first quarter than she does, and her policy focus has not yet translated to higher standing in the polls . Credit: Andrea Morales, The New York Times

Senator Elizabeth Warren in Memphis this month. Her rivals on either ideological flank will raise substantially more money in the first quarter than she does, and her policy focus has not yet translated to higher standing in the polls . Credit: Andrea Morales, The New York Times

Wilnelia Rivera, a Boston political strategist who helped orchestrate Representative Ayanna Pressley’s primary victory in 2018, said that while a grass-roots strategy was often derided, she believed Ms. Warren could alter the way presidential campaigns are run if she becomes the nominee.

“They’re up to something,” Ms. Rivera said of Ms. Warren’s campaign. “What that is? I have no idea. But we’re paying a lot of attention. Because she’s doing something that’s innovative.”

Local business coalition looks to benefit Boston without big name corporations. Wilnelia Rivera JOINS PANEL to talk amazon 2.0

Amazon panel .jpg

"... [residents] of] Queens

opposed construction of Amazon HQ2 because they feared they would be excluded from the economic growth the corporation would bring."

Wilnelia Rivera, Founder and Principal Rivera Consulting, Inc.

Wilnelia Rivera joins jim Braude of wgbh’s greater boston to talk about the recent state of the union. PaNel for wgbh news. aired february 5, 2019.

President Trump's aides have promised a State Of The Union speech emphasizing cooperation, but reports indicate that Trump will use the address to once again call for a wall along the southern border. This raises the question: If the American people already know the story the President will tell before he tells it, why even have the State Of The Union speech?

Wilnelia Rivera talks about her role in developing strategy for the successful challenge for Congress in the Mass. 7th District by Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. Interview for BNN News. Aired December 7, 2018.

FIRm FOUNDER talks about activating the massachusetts electorate. AiRED on OCTOBER 22, 2018.

The Institute and WBUR will gather local political organizers, data experts and advocacy organizations for a conversation about how we can activate and expand the Massachusetts electorate. The program will reflect on the results of September's primaries, discuss what we can learn from the methods and efforts that drove new communities of voters to the polls, and analyze how Massachusetts can make voting easier and more accessible.
 
 
 
 

Write here…


AP.png
 

WGBH.png
 
 

 

 
 
 

Political Newcomer From New York Has New England Ties  In a stunning victory, a 28-year-old Democrat from New York with ties to Boston, was able to beat 10-term incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley in Tuesday's primary.  (Published Wednesday, Jun 27, 2018 | Credit: Alison King)

Political Newcomer From New York Has New England Ties

In a stunning victory, a 28-year-old Democrat from New York with ties to Boston, was able to beat 10-term incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley in Tuesday's primary.

(Published Wednesday, Jun 27, 2018 | Credit: Alison King)

 
 

p.png

Political consultant trades on organizing experience

At the national level, the Democrats’ longstanding strategy of taking more moderate stances to reach out to the so-called swing voters has hampered the party’s efforts to engage younger, more progressive voters, Rivera said. Reaching those voters requires a break from the old playbook, with its emphasis on television advertisements and direct mailings.

“When you have a larger electorate of millennials and people of color, you have to spend money to reach them,” Rivera said. “If you’re a millennial, you may have lived in six different apartments in the last seven years. You’re not getting direct mail. But you may see a video on your friend’s news feed.”

Rivera says her firm remains well-positioned to help candidates reach those voters.

Ultimately, Rivera sees in the groundswell of younger, more liberal voters that swept Massachusetts and the nation promising signs for a re-invigorated Democratic Party.

“Black people, immigrant people and people of color need to come together, rebuild the party and rebuild the country,” she said. “We need to do it in collaboration with everyone else, but we need to be at the forefront.”

Ayanna pressley’s victory: A political earthquake that reflects a changed boston

The morning after her upset political victory, Ayanna Pressley ascended a stage in Dorchester a few blocks from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, greeting activists who had gathered to unify the party and to see a trailblazer — black, female, Bostonian — now poised to assume the old J.F.K. congressional seat.

“This is a tribal and parochial place,” Ms. Pressley, 44, said Wednesday, surrounded by Boston political leaders old and new as she ruminated on the hurdles that others said would prevent her from winning…The campaign did not have the money or the inclination to air traditional broadcast television ads, which would not have been able to successfully target people in the district. Instead, it ran one Spanish-speaking ad on Telemundo and used other local ethnic media to reach their audience.

“Our strategy was to expand the electorate and ignite the base,” said Wilnelia Rivera, a political strategist who has long worked with Ms. Pressley. “We trained new activists to engage in a new form of political campaign and to reach the pool of people who don’t normally vote.”

candidates of color break new ground in the contest for campaign cash

It has long been a fact of Boston politics that inner-city minority candidates, representing poorer, largely black and brown constituents, can’t raise large amounts of campaign money…Judging by campaign finance reports filed this week, however, that longstanding truism might no longer be true.

“This is more than just one cycle,” says Wilnelia Rivera, general consultant for Ayanna Pressley’s congressional campaign. “This is the cycle that we’re seeing at scale the lessons we’ve been learning for years.” Part of the change is coming from within the communities, as black and Hispanic residents are becoming more willing to contribute to political campaigns—and the candidates and campaign professionals are becoming more skilled at convincing them to do so.“Donors realize they’re giving money to the Democratic Party, and being told these candidates are not ‘viable,’” Rivera says. “They’re trying to figure out how to have a real progressive majority. This is really a debate of ideas about the direction of the party.”

pressley a one-of-a-kind public servant

While her opponent talked about the billions he brought back home, and his experience, she spoke of what she saw in front of her as she rode the Number One bus from Harvard Square to Dudley and saw life expectancy drop.

Unfairness and inequality were two words that were huge in this race. People saw inequity played out before them. Kids in cages. A president who could care less about people and told you so.

To win this race, Ayanna needed to have votes from everyone across the board and that she got.

Millennials ran her campaign and started a movement for change that brought others into the fold — all working, all together for another word with meaning — change. Many seasoned leaders created a kitchen cabinet of community leaders,who helped gauge the pulse of the community. Technology combined with shoe leather and old-fashioned organizing won the day.

Tomorrow, the real work begins.

Urban Newcomers Respond To Candidates Who Make Them Feel Like Part Of A Movement

"Perhaps more importantly, even some Pressley supporters concede that her campaign has not yet developed the organizational reach she needs, to win over the millennial left while also firing up turnout in black communities. Her ability to transform the new attention into effective field deployment in the final two months before the primary will test her team, particularly campaign manager Sarah Groh and consultant Wilnelia Rivera.

And besides, it’s not as if 2018 has been a terror for Democratic incumbents. Crowley is the only one to be defeated this year, after more than 300 congressional district primaries.

Regardless, the Ocasio-Cortez victory has demonstrated that the new, young urban voter is a powerful and growing force. They will undoubtedly have a say in choosing Boston’s next district attorney. Up in Lawrence, Lowell, and Haverhill they may be decisive in the primary to replace Niki Tsongas in Congress. And their representatives, whoever they may be, will soon be making real waves in Washington."

POLITICAL NewCOMER FROM NEW YORK with ties has new england ties

Pressley, who has become friendly with Ocasio-Cortez prefers to think of this race as a movement where she is championing the values of the people in the district, one of the most diverse in the country.

Wilnelia Rivera, Senior Advisor to Ayanna Pressley campaign explains the resistance to change, “Our first reaction is that the message is working…even in the movement you’re going to have some folks who are not a 100% with you but at least we are going to create a space for us to be uncomfortable together."

To watch the full NECN interview, click here.

Michael Capuano and Ayanna Pressley: What’s the difference?

On abortion rights, she says, she would go further than Capuano by working to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of most abortions.

And she said she would be a more effective advocate for immigrants by pushing for in-state tuition rates for undocumented students at public colleges and universities.

To crystallize the point, Wilnelia Rivera, Pressley’s political consultant, said: “The overarching message is the difference between a reliable vote and a champion.”

Pressley launches bid for congressional seat

“The residents of this district deserve a choice,” Pressley told her supporters. “The people of the 7th Congressional District aren’t concerned about the political inconvenience of any one man or woman and neither am I. What concerns me is the daily uneasiness, stress and worry of many folks in this room and many more beyond — longtime district residents are up at night wondering if one day soon they’ll be pushed out of the neighborhoods they cherish.”- 

Veteran campaign strategist Wilnelia Rivera, who is serving as the Pressley campaign general manager, says her effort will focus on one-on-one contact with voters in the district.

“We’re excited to build a grassroots movement to talk to voters across this district,” she said.

AP.png
 

Pressley Challenge To Capuano Takes Heart From New York Upset

"The upset primary victory in New York of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress is raising the question of whether Ayanna Pressley can do the same thing in Boston. 

Pressley is challenging longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano.

Both challengers are women of color. Ocasio-Cortez is Latina. Pressley is African-American.

Both are pledging to eliminate U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency in charge of deporting people in the country unlawfully.

Both happen to be graduates of Boston University.

Pressley said on Radio Boston Wednesday that she's inspired by Ocasio-Cortez.

"She has been fearless and fierce in her convictions, and she has challenged and disrupted every conventional narrative about who has a right to run and who can win," said Pressley."

Join the conversation on twitter

Learn how to engage in powerful political giving that resources women and communities of color with Wilnelia Rivera

watch the Case for Boston on wgbh and read more here

Visit Current Projects for a sampling of Client projects