It’s time to give Louijeune her due

Louijeune w editorial REP 2-24.png

The newly seated Boston City Council made a unanimous decision last week to elect Ruthzee Louijeune to lead the body as its president for the next two years. The at-large councillor topped the ticket in November’s balloting, and just hours later, she announced that she had the requisite votes in place to replace Councillor Ed Flynn as president.

It was a savvy move and it paid off when she won the gavel on Jan. 1 to applause from a gallery packed with her supporters. Louijeune didn’t just win the most votes citywide on Nov. 7. She backed the right candidates in the election, made smart alliances with existing colleagues, lined up her votes, and locked them in publicly. She deftly and quickly filled the void, shutting down the dithering that critics often point to as a negative trait of city government. That skillset bodes well for keeping councillors focused on the stack of pressing matters that we elected them to attend to.

But, of course, that won’t stop the grievance caucus on the council – and their mouthpieces at the Herald – from stomping their sour grapes into whine. Instead of giving Louijeune her flowers, the next-day story in the Braintree-based tabloid led with Councillors Flynn and Erin Murphy griping because another colleague, Julia Mejia, had rebuffed their eleventh-hour attempt to nominate her to challenge Louijeune.

Mejia, who had no shot at winning, wisely declined, sparing herself and the council a fruitless “debate” ahead of a lopsided win for Louijeune.

The attempt to sow division —and the tabloid spin— was another pathetic play from a lobby on the right that seems increasingly desperate and unmoored. It’s the same “woe is me” nonsense that fueled the faux outrage directed mainly at Mayor Wu over a holiday party invite flap a few weeks before.

Why not take a moment to appreciate the achievement of one of our own, a homegrown talent who excelled in our public schools and has gone on to distinguish herself and her parents by breaking barriers heretofore unbroken in this city?

Louijeune’s elevation to council president last week marked a notable moment for Haitian Americans, one of the city’s largest immigrant groups and one that has contributed mightily to Boston’s continued growth and economic success. It was particularly poignant for many Haitians and their allies that Louijeune’s election coincided with Haitian Independence Day, a holiday that marks the creation of the world’s first Black republic after a successful revolution against French colonizers and slavers.

If none of that moves you— if you’re so burdened by bitterness as to be indifferent to the sentiment of a historic turn— then perhaps just admire the skill and strategy that for so long was the exclusive province of Bostonian men with lineage in Galway or the Amalfi Coast. To the victor goes to the spoils— and in Boston City Hall last week, the best person won.

Subscribe to the Dorchester Reporter