July 30 was City Councilor John Tobin’s last day as a member of the Boston City Council. While I am a new member of the Boston City Council, I have lived in the district Tobin represented from the beginning of his time in office. Tobin had the challenge of replacing Maura Hennigan, who I feel served the residents of District 6 very well prior to leaving her post to run for an at large seat on the Boston City Council. Tobin met that challenge and many others head on.
During my eight months in office as an at-large councilor, Tobin became a fast friend and valued colleague. On more than one occasion, I reached out to him for advice or to gain his support on an issue affecting his district. He was always available to me, a freshman on the Council, and I will always be grateful for that. While he has been my district councilor, it was in the last eight months that he became my friend.
There were times where we were on the same page and times when we were not. However, he never took disagreement personally. I found him always to be available to listen and to explain his position regardless of where you stood on the issue. He was a city councilor of integrity that was moved by his values and, because of that, he earned my respect and the respect of his constituents.
I want to shed a light on some of the policy work that he was responsible for by focusing on just a couple of the issues he moved.
The first and, in my view, most significant, is the Safe Haven law he authored which is now state law. The Safe Haven law allows parents who, for whatever reason, cannot care for their baby to drop them off at designated places that will provide a safe and healthy environment for the baby and put that child on track for adoption. There is no telling how many lives this law saved.
Tobin also wrote and passed legislation that made it illegal to text and drive, which has also become state law. It goes without saying the peril we are all in when a driver decides to text rather than watch the road. Because of Tobin, law enforcement now has the tools to stop this practice. Tobin also is a strong supporter of the arts and was always committed to ensuring that everyone in Boston is exposed to the arts from a young age. For years, he served as the Council’s chairman of the Committee on Arts and Humanities, and the city is better for it.
I am asking everyone to join me in thanking Councilor Tobin for his service. I also ask that that people who live in District 6 vote in the upcoming special election to fill the now vacant position. As everyone can see from Councilor Tobin’s work, not only does the next District 6 City Councilor have big shoes to fill, but that person will also help determine the future of our city. We should all be active in deciding who serves us, the residents of District 6, in that role.
City Councilor Felix Arroyo