Following a successful kick-off to his campaign on Monday in Chelsea’s popular Mystic Brewery, State Rep. Candidate Roy Avellaneda has taken his campaign to the streets of Chelsea and, more importantly, to the crucial voting blocks in Charlestown.
Now, Avellaneda is calling for a candidates forum, challenging candidates Chris Remmes and Dan Ryan – both of Charlestown – to join him in advocating for a public forum prior to the March 4 vote.
“I am for a full vetting of the candidates,” Avellaneda said. “I’m calling to the other two candidates to participate in some kind of forum to let the public know who we are. We need that in this race.”
In a district that has been dominated by Chelsea for decades, Charlestown has gained in importance this time out in District 2, and Avellaneda said he has acknowledged that in hitting not only the bus stops and doorsteps of Chelsea, but also those in Charlestown.
“We had a great stand out on Tuesday night at Charlestown High School meeting people as they came out to a meeting discussing the Wynn casino proposal,” he said. “We were the only campaign there, surprisingly, and I got to introduce myself to the Charlestown folks. They were all happy to meet me. They said they had heard about me, but this was an opportunity to see me in person. That was a good hit for me, and these are the things you have to do in a this kind of race.”
He said he believes that Charlestown residents won’t vote for the hometown candidate without doing some research.
In fact, he’s banking on it.
“To win”, Avellaneda said, “we need to get votes in Charlestown and I have been in Charlestown every day since we started – meeting voters at the door, in front of Whole Foods, at senior centers, in community meetings, and one-on-ones with community leaders. Charlestown voters are not going to vote for a candidate just because they’re from Charlestown. They’re better than that. They’re smarter than that. They’re going to look carefully at all three candidates.”
Beyond that, all three candidates have faced the challenge of participating in a short campaign that is at its zenith in the dead of winter. So, it hasn’t exactly been easy to find voters and get the word out in the traditional ways. All, however, have still taken to pounding the pavement and finding strategic times and places when people might be out or might be interested in small get-togethers.
“We’re doing the Lit’ drops, hitting the community events and doing the phone banking,” Avellaneda said. “That’s what this campaign is all about – that and many, many coffee hours. However, I’ve been out in a lot of very cold mornings. People see me and say I must be crazy to be out at bus stops and knocking on doors in the cold, but I just tell them it’s that important to me. That’s what a campaign in February is all about.”
Avellaneda said he was pleasantly surprised to see more than 100 people attend his kick-off on Monday despite a snow storm and gridlocked traffic. Several Chelsea City Councillors attended, including At-Large Chelsea Councillors Calvin Brown, Leo Robinson and Brian Hatleberg. Also attending were Chelsea City Councillor Giovanni Recupero, Chelsea Planning Board member Henry Wilson, and School Committeewoman Lisa Lineweaver.
Avellaneda said he was glad to also see his former boss, former State Sen. Jarrett Barrios, in attendance.
“I was very pleased to see my old boss and former State Sen. Jarrett Barrios, and we had some Chelsea City officials there – all the at-large councillors,” he said. “What was most important to me was having it at Mystic Brewery. That brewery was just a great example of some of the stuff I’ve always worked for – being an advocate of small businesses. I grew up in a small business and was happy to showcase Mystic Brewery with my kick-off. A lot of people didn’t even know about them until Monday.”
After being introduced by former Chelsea City Councilor Juan Vega, Avellaneda stood in front of a large “I’m with Roy” sign and said to supporters, “Our next state representative should have the kind of perspective and qualifications that can only come from extensive experience in the public sector and the private sector. I have that experience, those qualifications, and that perspective. I believe we need more of all of those things on Beacon Hill.” Avellaneda added, “So many times we have been told we cannot win, but we have fought hard, side by side, and beat the odds over and over again. It’s time to do it again. We cannot let the old guard powers that be decide who’s going to be our next State Representative. “