By Maddie Kilgannon
When Liz Breadon left her home in County Fermanagh in the 1990s to come to the states, she never expected the move to be permanent. But the community she poured her efforts into made Allston-Brighton a home.
Now, she’s hoping to represent her neighborhood on the Boston City Council. In April, District 9 Councillor Mark Ciommo announced that he would not seek re-election, leaving the council seat he has held open for the first time since 2007. A first-time candidate, Breadon says she is running to combat the rising cost of housing and to ensure access to resources for immigrants in neighborhood she settled in back in 1997.
“I just thought why not? I have to step up and see if we can change the direction of this situation,” she said in an interview.
Breadon is one of seven candidates on the September 24 primary ballot. The other candidates are: Craig R. Cashman, Lee Nave Jr., Amanda Gail Smart, Daniel J. Daly, Jonathan Lamar Allen, and David Bowser. The top two vote-getters from the primary will move on to the general election in November.
Much of Breadon’s candidacy and priorities are driven by her experience has an immigrant. She came to Boston on sabbatical as part of her work as a physical therapist, and originally lived in Roslindale, but then joined her now-partner in Brighton.
“I grew up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and coming to the United States, the idealism and the aspirations of equality and equal treatment under the law and all those important principles of the country are very refreshing and important things to defend and ensure that we don’t lose those rights,” said Breadon.
Breadon describes herself as a grassroots activist, and made a name for herself fighting to keep the Faneuil branch of the Boston Public Library open and building the Presentation School Foundation Community Center in Oak Square.
Allston-Brighton was once rich in socio-economic and racial diversity, but now, Breadon says the neighborhood has become far too expensive for many families looking to plant roots in Boston.
A development boom in the neighborhood has priced out many people who called Allston-Brighton home, which is why Breadon said she is refusing any campaign contributions from developers.
“My support is coming from the local people and I’m not taking money from developers, I just feel that people recognize who I am and that what they see is what they get,” she said.
After navigating a long and complicated immigration process, Breadon became a naturalized citizen in 2008.
“I don't think most Americans understand just how complicated it is why long it takes and how expensive it is to become a citizen,” she said.
Breadon believes her first-hand experience of going through the immigration process would be an asset to her constituents.
“The immigrant community brings a lot of the table, and they are very civically engaged and working hard to make things better,” Breadon said. “I think we can all work together regardless of whether we’re born and raised in the neighborhood or if we’re an immigrant.”
Brendon said her commitment to economic justice comes from being an Irish-American.
“I believe in treating people fairly who come here and want to work hard and contribute to society here, and we should welcome them and help them become part of our neighborhood and our society here,” she said.
By Maddie Kilgannon