Candidate Statement: If not me, who? If not now, when?

In early February, when I was contemplating a run to be your state representative, Allstate Insurance ran an ad that asked the following question: “Years from now, how will we look back on today, as the Great Recession or the Recession that made us Great?” The ad talked about reassessing our values and what we think are important in these challenging times.

I sat one evening and watched the commercial over and over again. I felt challenged and asked myself two important questions, “If not me, then who?” and “If not now, then when?”

I grew up in Boston, where I graduated from both Thompson Middle School and Hyde Park High School. My first job was at Brigham’s in Mattapan Square (like so many others) and my wife Sheree spent ten of her twenty-two years in education at the Lee School on Talbot Avenue. This community has truly shaped who we are today.

I want to serve this community because what happens to your family is important to me. When a neighbor loses her job, I am concerned. When I attend a funeral I see lives changed forever. I pray for my neighbors and challenge myself daily to live up to the Scripture that I should treat others in the manner in which I would like to be treated.

Solving the concerns of our community will require us to make critical decisions on jobs, crime, transportation, and education that will affect this district for years to come. I am ready to make a commitment to helping make those decisions with the community.

As your representative, I will stand for programs such as StreetSafe. I will stand for new, clean public spaces that give whole families and communities a place to interact peacefully, such as Mattapan’s new public library, which serves as the community’s “living room.” I will also support faith-based programs such as an event that I attended at Jubilee last week with hundreds of teens and young adults on a Friday evening.

I will fight in the State House for new infrastructure and transportation projects. I will support affordable housing and Individual Development Accounts, which match the savings of low-income families. I will support expanding financial literacy programs, which help people find their way through troubled economic times and plan for the future.

I refuse to allow crime to plague Roslindale, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, and Dorchester. It’s bad for business, detrimental to communities, and a menace to our kids’ futures. But reducing crime isn’t just a matter of having more cops on the streets; it’s about building strong communities to create environments where crime can’t proliferate.

Unlike some politicians on Beacon Hill today, I will not forget where I come from. I am committed to being engaged with our community and working in partnership with my neighbors and fellow citizens. Seeing me in neighborhood meetings will be the norm and not the exception.

Ultimately, this election is about trust. You and I may not agree on every single issue, but I can promise that you will always be able to trust me. I will listen to you. I will stay plugged into our community. I am proud of my record of service and leadership, and I humbly ask for your support as I work to continue serving the community I love.

Russell Holmes is a candidate for state representative for the Sixth Suffolk District.