Transgender Conservative Althea Garrison Will Run For Boston City Council At-Large Again This Year

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The answer is yes.

Althea Garrison, a former state representative and former member of the Boston City Council, plans to run for city councilor at-large once again this year. Garrison filed a statement of candidacy to run, a spokesman for the City of Boston told NewBostonPost in an email message this week.

Garrison, 80, was born biologically male but identifies as a woman — and a conservative. An unenrolled, Garrison is pro-life, supports the police, and backed former President Donald Trump. Garrison was the publicly known openly transgender member of a state legislature in American history. But Garrison has consistently declined to speak publicly about it.

Often called a perennial candidate, Garrison has frequently run for various offices since the 1960s These runs have come as a member of both the Democratic and Republican Parties as well as independent bids. Garrison’s lone outright victory came in 1992. 

Running as a Republican for state representative in the Fifth Suffolk District, Garrison defeated Democrat Irene Roman in the general election; Garrison received 54.9 percent of the vote and Roman got 45.0 percent. Garrison challenged some of the signatures incumbent Democrat Nelson Merced used to get on the Democratic primary ballot and got him knocked off the ballot that year as a result — hence why Roman was the Democratic nominee.

Outed by The Boston Herald as a transgender woman shortly after winning the election in 1992, Garrison lost the 1994 re-election bid. Garrison received 45.1 percent of the vote while Charlotte Golar Richie got 54.9 percent of the vote.

Garrison also served as a Boston city councilor in 2019 despite not winning an election for the position.  Garrison came in a distant fifth place out of eight candidates in the 2017 Boston city council at-large race, receiving 18,253 votes. The fourth-place finisher, councilor Annissa Essaibi George, got 45,564 votes. 

However, Garrison eventually got in thanks to Ayanna Pressley (D-Dorchester). 

After Pressley defeated former U.S. Representative Michael Capuano (D-Somerville) in the 2018 Democratic primary in the state’s Seventh Congressional District and cruised to an unopposed victory in the November general election, Pressley resigned from the city council. The rules said that the person with the next highest vote total in the race would fill the term. In this case, it was Garrison, who despite having ideological differences with Pressley, campaigned for her, as WBUR reported

Garrison unsuccessfully sought re-election for city council in 2019 but placed seventh among eight candidates. Garrison received 16,189 votes while the fourth-place finisher, councilor Julia Mejia, got 22,492 votes. The top four won seats on the council.

Garrison’s most recent run for office came last year. Garrison unsuccessfully ran for Suffolk County register of probate. Incumbent Democrat Felix Arroyo received 76.8 percent of the vote while Garrison got 11.2 percent of it and fellow unenrolled candidate Melissa Tyler got 11.5 percent.

Garrison will need at least 1,500 valid signatures by June 22 to get on the September primary ballot.

Garrison could not be reached for comment on Monday or Tuesday.


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