Felix D. Arroyo explains register run

Felix D. Arroyo, a popular former Boston city councilor who retired to Uruguay a few years ago, recently explained to the Gazette his surprise return to run for Suffolk County register of probate and family court.

He said he always kept a home in Roslindale, and was “energized” by working last fall on the unsuccessful mayoral campaign of his son, Jamaica Plain resident Felix G. Arroyo, who is now the City of Boston’s chief of Health and Human Services. He also worked on Mayor Martin Walsh’s winning campaign.

“It’s great to be back,” the elder Arroyo told the Gazette. “Retirement is not for me. I am ready for action.”

Felix D. Arroyo formerly lived in JP and was a popular figure in local liberal politics, starting with his service on the Boston School Committee in the 1980s. In 2003, he became the first Latino Boston city councilor, serving until 2008. His most recent job was managing a large state Department of Transitional Assistance office in Roxbury’s Dudley Square area.

In his time in Boston government, the elder Arroyo also saw the ugly side of politics. He was among the targets of two separate, dubious surveillance incidents in 2007, as the Gazette previously revealed. He was a speaker at an anti-war event at a Jamaica Plain church that Boston Police Department spies labeled “criminal” and “extremist” in a secret file. And the FBI secretly recorded him in his City Hall office during a corruption investigation that sent local City Council Chuck Turner and state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson to prison. In neither case was he accused of any crime.

Walsh’s election and other major changes in local government lured him back into Boston politics, he said.

“It’s definitely a new environment,” Arroyo said. “It’s a new time for the city, hopefully one in which we can create and do new things.”

The register of probate is an elected administrator of the system that handles such family matters as divorce, adoption and wills.

Saying the register deals with people in their “more traumatic times,” Arroyo said, “People deserve to be treated with respect and justice. They want an effective and honest person.”

The incumbent, Patricia Campatelli, is under fire for a variety of allegations, including that she punched one of her employees.

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