82-Year-Old Transgender Conservative Althea Garrison To Run For Boston City Council Again This Year

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2023/06/06/82-year-old-transgender-conservative-althea-garrison-to-run-for-boston-city-council-again-this-year/

Is Althea Garrison running for city council this year?

Of course. 

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

Garrison, 82, is a male who identifies as a woman — and a conservative. A registered Democrat, Garrison is pro-life, supports the police, and backed former President Donald Trump. Garrison was the first publicly known openly transgender member of a state legislature in American history. But Garrison has consistently declined to speak publicly about it.

Often referred to as a perennial candidate, Garrison has frequently run for various offices since the 1960s. Garrison has run in the past as a Democrat, a Republican, and an independent. Garrison’s lone outright victory came in 1992.

That year, 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 — which is why Roman was the Democratic nominee.

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

Garrison served as a Boston city councilor in 2019 despite not winning an election for the position.  Garrison finished 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 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 came in eighth place out of eight candidates in the 2021 Boston City Council at-large race. Garrison received 24,194 votes (7.0 percent).

Garrison will need at least 1,500 valid signatures by Tuesday, June 27 to get on the September primary ballot.

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


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