Hotel workers endorse in District 3, as a former mayor wades into District 5

Campaigns are continuing to tout endorsements, with the Sept. 12 preliminary a week away. The hotel and food workers union UNITE HERE Local 26 became the latest union to endorse John FitzGerald in the District 3 City Council race, his campaign said Tuesday.

"I am honored to have the endorsement of Local 26 and ready to work in partnership with them to build Boston's working class," FitzGerald said in a statement. "If elected, I would be proud to stand alongside and fight for them and for the working men and women of our city every day on the Boston City Council."

FitzGerald, an official with the Boston Planning and Development Agency, has won the lion’s share of union endorsements in the seven-way race to replace Frank Baker, who isn’t running for a second two-year term. Baker is backing FitzGerald as his successor for District 3 (Dorchester and the South End).

In July, Marty Walsh, the former Biden labor secretary and ex-mayor of Boston who lives in Lower Mills, endorsed FitzGerald, who has spent 17 years inside City Hall.

On Tuesday, Walsh waded into another City Council preliminary and backed Jose Ruiz, a former Boston Police officer running in District 5 (Hyde Park, Mattapan and Roslindale).

Ruiz, who worked for Walsh in City Hall, is one of three challengers hoping to knock off incumbent Councillor Ricardo Arroyo.

“I have known Jose for years and have witnessed firsthand his tireless commitment to making a positive impact in his community and our city,” Walsh, who left the Biden administration to head up the NHL players union in March, said in a statement. ”He is a compassionate and dedicated public servant who I know will work tirelessly on behalf of all residents in District 5.”

The other District 5 challengers are Roslindale’s Enrique Pepen, a former aide to Mayor Wu, and Mattapan resident Jean-Claude Sanon, who has previously run for the seat.

Wu endorsed Pepen in August and hit the campaign trail with him, knocking on doors in Hyde Park and in her home neighborhood of Roslindale.

Pepen also recently picked up the support of UNITE HERE Local 26, among other unions such as IBEW Local 103 and AFSCME Council 93.

Arroyo was first elected to the District 5 seat in 2019 but has faced a spate of scandals. He was hit with a $3,000 ethics fine for acting as a lawyer for his brother amid a City Hall suit, and he encouraged former US Attorney Rachael Rollins to interfere in the 2022 election to replace her as Suffolk DA, before Arroyo lost to Kevin Hayden.

On Tuesday evening, Right to the City Vote, a coalition of progressive community groups, said they’ve endorsed Arroyo. “He has advocated for policies that promote access to good jobs with living wages, recognizing the need to address economic disparities in Boston,” they said in a release, which did not mention the scandals.

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