3 candidates looking at seat
State Rep. Willie Mae Allen, whose Sixth Suffolk District includes Woodbourne and part of Forest Hills, reportedly will not run for re-election this fall.
Three potential Democratic candidates reportedly are exploring a run. They include Karen Payne of Roslindale, the longtime Ward 19 Democratic Committee co-chair and NAACP Boston president; Darrin Howell of Mattapan, a widely known aide to City Councilor Chuck Turner; and Kathy Gabriel of Dorchester, who ran unsuccessfully against Allen in 2008.
Allen did not return a Gazette phone call for this article. She reportedly told the Dorchester Reporter about her decision not to run again. Jamaica Plain state Rep. Liz Malia confirmed the report.
“Willie Mae’s decided to retire,” Malia told the Gazette. “She announced it in a legislative caucus [earlier this month].”
None of the potential candidates returned Gazette phone calls. But Malia also confirmed the candidacy of Payne—who also has served as Malia’s campaign treasurer and manager for years.
“Karen’s definitely thrown her hat in the ring,” Malia said. “I think she’ll be a fantastic addition [to the State House].” Another political source told the Gazette that Payne has begun reaching out to potential supporters.
Payne has had a prominent role in local politics through the Ward 19 Democratic Committee, which covers parts of JP and Roslindale and hosts influential candidate forums.
Malia and JP’s other state representative, Jeffrey Sánchez, are running for re-election this year, they told the Gazette.
“I still have not lost the love for the work and the people,” said Malia, a JP resident who represents the 11th Suffolk District. She said she wants to continue her work on mental health and substance abuse issues in particular.
“I’m happy with what I’ve been able to do,” said Sánchez, a JP resident who represents the 15th Suffolk District. He discussed progress on a variety of major development and improvement projects, from Jackson Square to the Arborway.
No challengers for Malia or Sánchez have come forward.