What increased AAPI representation in Mass. politics means to local city councilors
6/21/23 — GBH News
From city council seats to the mayor's office, Asian Americans are gaining influence and representation in Massachusetts politics across the board.
Nina Liang was born and raised in Quincy and now serves as Quincy’s first Chinese-American city councilor.
“When it came time for college, I wanted to hightail it out of there [Quincy]. I couldn't get away fast enough. And so, [I] went to school in New York," said Liang. After she graduated in 2010, she was unable to find a job and returned to Quincy to work at her family's business in restaurants. It was then she began cultivating a strong sense of community.
“The success of the business really was because of the community, right? They literally came in and became patrons and kept our lights on," she said. "And so I dove into the philanthropic arm of the family business and loved every piece of it.”
When Liang overheard talks of redevelopment happening in downtown Quincy without being included in the conversation, she became frustrated and could only imagine what others in her city felt. That was the pivotal moment when she decided to run for city council despite having zero political experience.
“I was very lucky to be surrounded by very, very brilliant people in this space who took a risk on me," she said. "And here I am eight years later.”
In 2021, Coco Alinsug, ran for a city council seat in Lynn and won. He was the first Filipino elected to a city council seat in New England.
“I was 25-years-old when I came to America,” said Alinsug. “But I remember the time when I left the Philippines, my dad was very teary-eyed because I come from a family of politicians [in the Philippines]. My dad was vice-mayor, grandma was a city councilor, great grandfather [was] city councilor... and all of my dad's children migrated to the U.S., so none of his children will basically continue that tradition.”
So when Alinsug ran and won the election in Lynn, the first thing he did was call his family.
“I said, 'listen, I continued the family tradition halfway around the world!'" he said. Alinsug moved to Lynn 20 years ago and became very active within the community, putting him on the path to where he is now.
"I was also the first out LGBT councilor here in Lynn, so it was a tough campaign," he said. "But I proved to a lot of people that everything's possible if you are just true and honest to yourself.”
Roughly 7.5% of the population in Massachusetts is Asian and roughly 3% of state elected officials are Asian. In Quincy, 30.8% of the population is Asian American.
As the first Chinese American city councilor in Quincy and beginning this career in 2015, Liang said she is aware of her influential position.
“You want to always be mindful to take every opportunity to give out what you learn, to encourage others to come up after you right? And let them know that they have every right to be here just as much as I do,” she said.
In Alinsug’s case, his identity as an immigrant is momentous in Lynn which is 41.8% Latino.
“[Being first] is a big responsibility, but it's an honor for me to be the first for a lot of reasons," he said. "I come from a city of immigrants. Majority of our population come from different countries. Our main public schools have probably 60 languages spoken. So for our residents to see somebody that looks like them or somebody that is an immigrant, it's just an amazing, amazing experience.”
On Boston Public Radio, Liang and Alinsug recognized the ongoing efforts that are needed to continue progress, as well as the significant achievements in AAPI political representation that have already been made.
“One of the really important stories I have is when a lady will say ‘I've lived here for 20 years, I'm so afraid to talk to politicians. But seeing you and walking around the streets, and talking to you felt so comfortable,’” Alinsug shared.
[See original article HERE]
Ward 3 Councilor Coco Alinsug Re-election Campaign Kickoff
6/23/23 — The Lynn Journal
LYNN — Jubilant supporters applauded and cheered during the evening at Coco Alinsug’s Ward 3 re-election kickoff campaign. Precinct Captain Bonnie Carr reviewed Coco’s many accomplishments during his first term in office as she stated, “Coco is a highly engaged Councilor. Ward 3 residents are very fortunate to have him. This evening I want to share Coco’s accomplishment that made our ward a better place to live.”
Bonnie explained to all in attendance Coco’s effort and hard work as a Councilor. She began by saying, “He secured improvement grants for Goldfish Pond and Kiley Park, oversaw road pavements, installed street ‘guardrails, and lamp post updates. He kept his constituents informed and involved with an online newsletter, conducted monthly meetings, created multiple task forces, appointed precinct captains, and created a ‘youth internship program.”
As Ward Councilor, Coco never missed a Council meeting. He was thoroughly involved in city events, attended 42 Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies, and organized neighborhood events such as the Easter Egg Hunt that children enjoyed. He supported local businesses to apply for grants, partake in various board meetings and city projects; he was recently appointed to the Lynn Visionary steering committee.
Coco is an outgoing and active Ward Councilor. He listens, learns, and respects different opinions. Coco works to resolve issues. His main objective is to bring Ward 3 upward to be a better place as well as the City of Lynn. His kickoff re-election campaign was a tribute to him with so many people attending and thanking him for his caring attitude as Ward 3 Councilor.
Coco Takes Aim at 2023
1/3/23 — itemlive.com
LYNN — Tuesday, Jan. 3, marked the end of Ward 3 City Councilor Coco Alinsug’s first year in office. In an interview with The Item, Alinsug reflected on a year of work in city government and his goals for 2023.
At almost any public event in Lynn — from the city’s gay pride festival to Lynn Police’s bike safety obstacle course — Alinsug can be seen chatting with the public, shaking hands and taking selfies.
Community engagement has been one of Alinsug’s leading principals in his first year in city council. Alinsug said that his Ward 3 team — a volunteer force of precinct captains, youth interns and Ward 3 residents — helps him identify the neighborhood’s needs.
“I am very proud and honored of my Ward 3 team. We have precinct captains, and I campaigned to have an internship program,” Alinsug said. “It’s all about empowering people. I am a strong believer in teamwork, and I can better serve if I’m with a team or a group of people. Our city has a lot of talented individuals that would love to serve our city, so that’s my way of empowering the residents of Lynn and making them part of our decisions and implementations.”
Alinsug pointed to the Kiley Park restoration project as one of his proudest achievements in his first year as a first-term city councilor.
This year, Alinsug formed the Kiley Park Task Force, a neighborhood-led committee tasked with deciding how to spend the park’s portion of the city’s approximate $18 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for parks and playgrounds.
“I advocated really hard for Kiley Park to be one of the parks in the city to receive part of the $18 million dollars in funding,” Alinsug said. “I made sure that there was input from all the residents, and that’s why we created the Kiley Park Task Force.”
This Saturday, the Kiley Park Task Force will meet to discuss the possibility of building a dog park in Kiley Park, as suggested by task force members. Alinsug said that the park remains one of his top priorities going into the new year.
“Whether we like it or not, people are bringing their dogs there even though they’re not allowed. But there’s only one dog park in the whole city of Lynn. And it’s located in the Western part of the city,” Alinsug said. “It’s the big ticket item basically. I want people to really pay attention to the progress of Kiley Park because it’s a big investment from the city, it needs an overhaul, and it will be a park that will cater to everybody. When I say everybody, I mean everybody will enjoy that park.”
Alinsug’s goals for 2023 also include creating a cultural exchange program for students and young people in the neighborhood, involving frequent museum trips and cultural education programs.
“I want everybody in Ward 3 to know that their city councilor is working for not only the things that they could see like the roads and the trash problems and the tree and the wires, but also for their development as individuals,” Alinsug said.
Alinsug moved to Lynn from Los Angeles 20 years ago, after immigrating from the Philippines only five years prior. He said that shifting from one culture to another at a young age gave him an appreciation for youth development programs.
“I am somebody that is a product of a foreign exchange student program. I’m somebody that grew up in a different culture, so I’m always an advocate of youth development,” Alinsug said.
As Lynn’s first openly gay city councilor, Alinsug said that aside from receiving a couple of subtle homophobic remarks in the early days of his campaign, he was met primarily with support and appreciation from the community.
“The city is very accepting and very accommodating. And even some of our senior citizens will say, ‘Oh, councilor, how’s your husband doing? Oh, I love you guys,’” he said.
Alinsug added that the support he receives from the community likely comes from the fact that he remains dedicated to transparency and honesty.
“I am an open guy, and what you see is what you get. This is me — either you have your own beliefs or you don’t, but one thing I can tell you is, I’m very honest and I’m very straightforward. I’m always transparent,” Alinsug said.
Alinsug said that he intends to run for re-election and aims to continue following through on the promises he made to the constituents that elected him.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of being the Ward 3 city councilor. It’s an honor to be their counselor, and I really don’t want to fail them. I promised them a lot of things during the campaign, and I’m very proud to say that I am accomplishing those things with every minute of my time as councilor. I have a lot of exciting plans for the ward moving forward. We’re just at the tip of the iceberg,” Alinsug said.
[See original article HERE.]
There is an Art to this Clean-up in Lynn
3/18/22 — itemlive.com
LYNN — It took a community effort Friday afternoon to clean up Clark Park after its East Lynn Little League mural was vandalized in February.
Friday’s effort, which involved repainting the graffiti-covered mural and cleaning up the area, was made possible after a fundraising effort spearheaded by Ward 3 Councilor Coco Alinsug.
Community members raised $800 to restore the mural, which was repainted by three Raw Art Works (RAW) members, the organization’s art therapist, Bruce Orr, and two program alumni, Elijah Fernandes and John Plinkett. RAW is a youth-arts organization based in Lynn.
The restoration took two hours to complete.
Alinsug said the painters only needed $400 to complete the project, but after he posted about the vandalism online, several Ward 3 residents immediately donated for the mural’s refurbishment.
“There were 26 contributions ranging from $10 to $100,” Alinsug said. “We had to pause donations because there were so many coming in at a fast rate.”
Alinsug said he doesn’t know exactly when the vandalism took place. Police are investigating the incident, he said.
However, he said it’s been discovered that the vandalism took place at night. Because of this, Alinsug said he wants to install lights to ensure these types of crimes aren’t able to go unnoticed in the dark.
Alinsug said his request for funding directed towards lights and park security on Clark Street is part of an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) wishlist that he drafted in January.
“These are the things I think need funding,” Alinsug said. “We want to make sure that our parks are safe. If we love our parks, then we need to take care of them.”
Alinsug is also seeking funding for park staffing and clean-up initiatives.
“Once we put in the lights, then we will look for ways to prevent the trash from being scattered at the park,” he said.
Alinsug said he and Ward 3 Citizens Advisory Board representative Sandy Anshewitz found the mural and park signs covered in graffiti during an outdoor meeting last month.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) covered up the graffiti this week and Anshewitz contacted Orr at RAW to help restore the mural.
Orr, 50, said he was the lead director during the mural’s creation in 2016. Orr and eight then-teenagers who participated in the Good2Go public art program, were able to turn a piece of architecture that was consistently covered by graffiti into a piece of art that highlighted the baseball field and the people who use the park.
“All of the teens have grown older and have moved on to college, but their names are still on the mural,” Orr said. “This was part of their high-school experience, not just to get paid to make art, but participate in something bigger than them.”
Fernandes, 21, said the Good2Go program helped him find his passion for art in high school. As part of the program, he and his peers helped to create pieces of art and murals across the city as acts of civic engagement.
“I started the program when I was 14,” he said. “I was very arts-oriented when I was younger, and my mom thought it would be a good idea to sign me up for Good2Go and it’s been my passion ever since.”
Lynn council, mayor show support for Ukraine
3/9/22 — itemlive.com
LYNN — The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to issue a resolution supporting independence in Ukraine and calling upon the federal government to increase humanitarian support to millions of refugees affected by the Russian Federation’s invasion of the country.
Ward 3 Councilor Coco Alinsug, who proposed the resolution, said that Lynn is home to many Ukrainian families and individuals. He said the council should do what he described as the morally right thing, which is to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
“This also affects us in so many ways, Mr. President,” Alinsug said, addressing Council President Jay Walsh. “As a city of immigrants, we need to show our residents that we care about what’s happening around the world and we care about the welfare of everybody’s loved ones.”
Alinsug’s resolution was met with applause from members of the audience and his fellow councilors.
Walsh said he agreed with Alinsug’s resolution. He said the city must do whatever it can to show that it stands with Ukrainians, both in and out of the city.
“I don’t think anyone misses going home and turning on the television to see what’s going on in Ukraine,” Walsh said. “It’s horrible.”
Walsh pointed to a blue-and-yellow ribbon he was wearing on his jacket to show support for Ukraine on Tuesday. He said the ribbon was made by Calvin Anderson, a resident and member of the Lynn Historical Commission.
Anderson said he wanted to show support for Ukraine; he has been making and giving away ribbons for free.
“There is a high demand right now,” Anderson said. “Recently, I gave some away to people in Florida.”
Ward 4 Councilor Richard Colucci also wore a Ukrainian flag pin during Tuesday’s meeting. Council Vice President Buzzy Barton said the situation in Ukraine is horrible, but he and the city will do whatever they can to help.
The city also showed its support for Ukraine on Tuesday by holding a flag-raising ceremony for the country at City Hall. Later that day, Mayor Jared Nicholson released a statement saying that he and the rest of the city stands in solidarity with Ukrainians both in Lynn and abroad.
“We will keep you in our thoughts as we live through this unprecedented and horrific misuse of power and violation of human rights,” Nicholson said. “We condemn this invasion by the Russian government and will continue to elevate what’s happening so that this great suffering is not forgotten.”
Ward 3 Councilor Coco Alinsug Debuts Exciting Monthly Newsletter
2/24/22 — Lynn Journal
Coco Alinsug is a community leader, the Ward 3 city councilor – and now the creator of the new Coco Alinsug Ward 3 newsletter.
Alinsug’s monthly newsletter debuted this week and it’s become an instant hit, drawing more than 500 subscribers, and growing. It’s a newsy, informative, and uplifting edition that shines the spotlight on issues in Ward 3 and features stories about Ward 3 residents.
In the first edition, Alinsug writes about Precinct Captains, Sue Walker, John Hogan, Lisa Prak, Sandra Corneau, and Bonnie Carr, and Ward 3 Youth Intern Abigail Rosario. Also featured in the newsletter is Ward 3 representative on the Citizens Advisory Board, Sandy Anshewitz.
There are plenty of photos and important information such as how to report a pothole in the ward.
Alinsug said he is one of two Lynn city councilors who publish newsletters. “The first one was done by Rick Starbard of Ward 2,” he said.
The Ward 3 councillor explained his reasons for launching the newsletter. “When I was running for office, the clamor of the people was that they want to be updated on things happening in the ward in a newsletter,” he said. “Some residents don’t have Facebook and wanted a newsletter available through email.”
Alinsug said that the newsletter is also available to residents outside of Ward 3. “Anyone in the city of Lynn who wants to know more about Ward 3 can receive the newsletter.”
The councilor has already begun plans for the next edition of the newsletter that will be emailed to subscribers during the last week of March.
“There’s a new Jamaican restaurant coming to Ward 3 and the owner expressed her support for my advocacy and my work in the community through the newsletter,” said Alinsug. “I’m excited to welcome this business to Ward 3, and in the future, I’ll be featuring other restaurants and other businesses.”
Known for his many community service and grassroots projects, Alinsug is proud of his newsletter and grateful for the incredible response from his constituents.
“The newsletter is going to be engaging,” said Alinsug. “My community and grassroots experiences are working now in my role as a city councillor, and I’m happy to provide an information source for residents of Ward 3 and city wide.”
Councilor Lends Ears so Neighbors Can Be Heard
1/23/22 — itemlive.com
LYNN — Ward 3 City Councilor Coco Alinsug has appointed five precinct captains to assist him with conversations and decisions about the ward.
Alinsug met with these captains last week and plans to continue meeting once a month to hear from them about neighbors’ concerns, requests, and what they are hoping to see happen in Ward 3.
“When I decided to run, my goal was really to empower my neighbors and my ward,” Alinsug said. “I promised everybody that I will be a city councilor with a team. I’m not a one-man ward councilor.”
Alinsug said that, when there is a major vote on something in the council that concerns the ward, he and the precinct captains will vote as a team and whatever the result of that vote is will be his vote in the council.
“They give me input and ideas and we will work on that,” Alinsug said. “We’re all transparent and they will be my voice to the council. If they are aware of an issue in their precinct, they will report to me and I’ll bring that message to the City Council.”
Alinsug said he wanted to try this new approach because the majority of people who know him in his ward are those who live in his precinct, Precinct 4.
“A lot of people don’t know me in Precinct 1 and 2, but they know John Hogan in that area, and they know Sue Walker,” Alinsug said. “The idea is for the people to know that there is somebody that they can put a face to who they can reach out to directly.”
Walker, a lifelong Lynn resident who has owned a home in Ward 3 for 20 years, is the Ward 3 – Precinct 1 captain.
She raised five children in Lynn, two graduating from Lynn Classical High School, one from Lynn English High School, one from St. Mary’s, and her last child is now attending Lynn Vocational Technical Institute (LVTI).
Walker is a graduate of Classical and Salem State University who now works at the Lynn Museum as a historical and genealogical researcher
“She loves the history and culture of Lynn,” Alinsug said.
Hogan, who has worked and coached at LVTI for 31 years, is the Ward 3 – Precinct 2 captain.
“John loves being within a 10-minute walk to the beach and many parks close by,” Alinsug said. “He also loves living around people in his ward who are hard-working with a lot of the same values and love for the city.”
Lisa Prak is the Ward 3 Precinct – 3 Captain and has lived in Ward 3 for 31 years.
Prak is an account manager in the commercial-printing trade; she is fluent in Khmer and speaks English as her second language.
“What I love most about Lynn is the energy and diversity our community brings,” she said. “Lynn is built by hard-working families and I’m truly honored to be part of the Ward 3 team.”
Sandra Dee Corneau is one of the captains of Ward 3 – Precinct 4, focusing on the Goldfish Pond area.
Corneau moved to Lynn about 10 years ago, after growing up in Somerville, but loved visiting her aunt and uncle in Lynn as a child, which is why she purchased a house there.
“She takes pride in providing the best services and cares for her community,” Alinsug said. “In addition to her primary responsibilities, she has received a proclamation from the City of Cambridge for going above and beyond the call of duty.”
Bonnie Carr is the other captain for Ward 3 – Precinct 4, focusing on the Diamond District.
Carr serves as the director of workforce development for Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School.
Carr has experience in program development, community partnership cultivation, and grant writing and also has a master’s degree in educational leadership.
“A new era has arrived and the city is on a positive trajectory of inclusivity and opportunity that all of its residents deserve,” Carr said. “I am so excited to be a part of Team Coco for Ward 3 and will work hard as a versatile team member”.
Alinsug also appointed Sandy Anshewitz as the Ward 3 representative for the Citizen Advisory Board (CAB) — which disseminates information and holds public meetings and hearings about the community development program, community needs, and proposals to meet those needs — and Abigail Rosario as a Ward 3 youth intern.
“These are all Lynn residents who love our city and want to do anything and everything for the city without compensation,” Alinsug said. “It’s possible to serve the city in a different capacity. You don’t have to run for public office and get reelected. You can help your city councilor.”
Alinsug said he is excited to continue working with the precinct captains, who he described as being his other set of eyes.
Coco Alinsug Makes History as 1st Filipino Councilor in New England
1/16/22 — msn.com
Community leader Constantino “Coco” Alinsug has made history by becoming the first Filipino to be elected to a city council seat in New England.
The Philippine Consulate General in New York reported that Alinsug was named to the post in the City Council of Lynn, Massachusetts, USA, after winning the elections held in November.
Alinsug was sworn in on January 3, 2022. He represents Ward 3 in the city of Lynn which is located 15 minutes north of Boston.
Aside from being the first city councilor of Filipino descent in New England, Alinsug is also the first openly gay political candidate to make it to the city council.
Originally from Cebu City in the Philippines, Alinsug immigrated to the United States in 1996. Alinsug is a community leader and volunteer worker in Lynn who devotes himself to causes such as social justice, HIV/AIDS prevention, LGBT youth, and culture and the arts.
Alinsug serves in various groups, boards, and community organizations and is an organizer of various events for the Filipino and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) communities in Massachusetts.
He has received recognition locally and internationally for his work, having been named one of Cebu’s Outstanding Youth Leaders and winning awards such as the HVTN’s Octavio Valente, Jr. Volunteer Service Award, among others.
Coco Alinsug is also among the founding leaders of the National Youth Commission of the Philippines. Alinsug comes from a long line of Filipino public servants and his great-great-grandfather, grandmother, and father served as councilors of the municipality of Consolacion in Cebu.
Filipino American community leader Melissa Ramoso also recently made history as the first Filipino female mayor of California’s City of Artesia, one of Los Angeles County’s Gateway Cities.
Last year, Stephanie Valenzuela was elected City Councilor of Montreal in Québec province, the first Filipino Canadian to win the government post.
SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Constantino “Coco” Alinsug for making history as the first Filipino to be elected to a city council seat in New England.
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Former Youth Leader Is First Filipino To Win City Council Bid in New England
1/5/22 — Philippine Consulate General
A former youth leader in the Philippines has earned for himself the distinction of being the first Filipino to be elected to a city council seat in New England, the Philippine Consulate General in New York reported.
Constantino “Coco” Alinsug, 50, was sworn in on Monday after winning his bid for a seat in the City Council of Lynn, Massachusetts, in elections held in November. He represents Ward 3 in the city, located 15 minute north of Boston.
Alinsug, who is a community worker and LGBT rights advocate, is also the first openly gay political candidate to make it to the city council. He previously served as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth.
“Your feat is worthy of commendation as you are one of a few Filipinos who have been successful in their political aspirations here in the United States,” Consul General Elmer G. Cato said in a letter of congratulations sent to Alinsug on Wednesday.
“We are confident that you will do exceptionally well in the Council,” the Consul General added. “May your election serve as an inspiration for other kababayan.”
Alinsug follows the footsteps of other family members from the Philippines who entered politics. His great-great grandfather, grandmother, and father served as councilors of the municipality of Consolacion in Cebu.
Alinsug was also among the founding leaders of the National Youth Commission of the Philippines and had served in the staff of former President Fidel Ramos and his nephew, Ranjit Shahani. He migrated to the United States two decades ago and settled in New England.
In Lynn Inauguration, Mayor Nicholson Brings With Him a Fresh Perspective
1/3/22 — The Lynn Daily Item
LYNN — Surrounded by members of the City Council, School Committee, state officials, friends, family and residents, Jared Nicholson took the oath as the city’s 59th mayor on Monday night.
Addressing the crowd in both English and Spanish, Nicholson affirmed his goals for Lynn, saying, “We’re committed to working together to build an administration that leads for all of us.”
The audience in the City Hall Auditorium applauded as Nicholson was escorted by Police Chief Christopher P. Reddy, Fire Chief Stephen Archer, incoming Chief of Staff Jonathan Thibault, the Nicholson transition team, his wife, Katherine Rushfirth, and son, Henry. Attendees abided by the city’s indoor-mask mandate at the event.
Nicholson, who succeeded outgoing Mayor Thomas M. McGee, thanked him for his tenure and the School Committee and City Council members sworn in before him. Nicholson, who served for six years on the School Committee before he was elected as mayor, vowed to make Lynn a city for all, and promised more opportunities and equity under his administration.
“Even in Lynn, that path to opportunity has gotten narrower. If it closes off here, where can it possibly exist? But, if it stays open for those of us who face the stiffest challenges, it will be that much smoother for every one of us,” he said.
These opportunities that Nicholson mentioned in his speech include affordable housing, education reform, job creation and community building — all topics he focused on during his mayoral campaign against City Council President Darren Cyr, who represented Ward 3.
“Where the price of housing doesn’t practically bar huge portions of the population from living there; where there are genuine pathways to good jobs; where the schools are not just technically open to all but practically ready to educate children no matter where they start from; where people feel at peace in their community because it’s safe and because they feel accepted and embraced,” said Nicholson.
For Nicholson, this speech was not one establishing victory — rather a speech to highlight the goals he has for the city. He said Lynn can be an example for others across the commonwealth and the country to push beyond economic and racial barriers.
“And, as we do that, to tell that story, to remind the commonwealth and the country that the promise of a place that’s for all of us is meaningless without the ability to deliver. And that the ability to deliver on that promise should be the example we all aspire to in 2022. The modern version of the city on a hill, where barriers to opportunity are overcome in practice, not just on paper,” Nicholson said.
The inauguration displayed the diversity and history of Lynn. Flags from different countries were adorned across the stage as performers danced in different cultural styles.
Politicians from the North Shore were in attendance, including former Lynn mayors, McGee, Judith Flanagan Kennedy and Al DiVirgilio, state Reps. Daniel Cahill and Peter Capano of Lynn, Rep. Paul F. Tucker of Salem and Congressman Seth Moulton, whose district includes Lynn.
Moulton spoke to Nicholson, the City Council and School Committee, saying that he was proud of the incoming administration and members. He praised incoming Ward 3 City Councilor Constantino “Coco” Alinsug, and said he made history as the first Filipino-American elected, not only to City Council, but to public office in New England.
Moulton said he expects a lot from Nicholson, and said that his administration could be the one to bring the Blue Line to Lynn and create more affordable housing. To the City Council, Moulton said simply, “Be a true partner to the mayor.”
Additionally, Nicholson was not the only change in leadership that night, as the City Council elected Jay Walsh of Ward 7 to succeed Cyr as the City Council president.
As mayor, Nicholson will act as the chair of the Lynn School Committee, a body familiar to him as he served as a member from 2015 until his inauguration. The new School Committee members sworn in Monday night were Lennin “Lenny” Pena, Eric C. Dugan, and Tiffany Magnolia.
Whether he is acting as the chair of the School Committee, working alongside the state legislature or meeting with constituents, Nicholson said he does not see his job as a one-man operation, but rather a job that involves the whole city.
“So many have worked so hard to put us in this position where we have what we need to kindle the glow of our example of a city that’s true for all of us,” he said.
Alinsug Becomes First Filipino-American City Councilor in New England
1/2/22 — The Lynn Daily Item
LYNN ― The new Ward 3 Councilor Constantino “Coco” Alinsug will become the first Filipino-American city councilor in New England and the first out gay councilor in the city after the inauguration on Monday.
Alinsug, 50, will be wearing a national Philippine costume ― a formal long-sleeved shirt called a barong ― to the inauguration, which his mother, Maria Esther Alinsug, has brought especially for the occasion from the Philippines. The garment is black and embroidered by hand, said Alinsug, and since the Philippines was once a colony of Spain, it will look familiar to a lot of people of South American heritage.
“I am purposefully wearing it to show the people of Lynn ― because Lynn is a multicultural city ― that a city councilor from Guatemala could be on the horizon or a city councilor from Ukraine,” said Alinsug. “The reason for me wearing it is to give honor to my heritage, but at the same time to give a message to the youth and the residents of Lynn that anybody, whatever they aspire for, they are welcome to be an official of the city of Lynn. This is our city and we need to help each other.”
Despite a long trip and COVID-19 restrictions, Alinsug’s mother travelled from the Philippines to attend the inauguration.
“I would consider myself as the proudest mom”, said Esther Alinsug. “This is a big honor for us, for the family.”
She said she was sad that her husband, Ember Alinsug, was not able to make the trip to the U.S. He was supposed to follow her a few days later, but the country was hit by Super Typhoon Rai (Odette) on Dec. 16, severely damaging their house and property in Consolacion, Cebu.
Alinsug is expecting some of his siblings, aunts and uncles, family friends and people from the Filipino community whom he doesn’t even know personally to come from New England, New Jersey, New York, California and Texas to attend the inauguration at the City Hall Auditorium. Unfortunately, he had to cancel a reception planned for after the inauguration because of the most recent COVID-19 surge.
Coco Alinsug grew up in a family of public servants. His family members have been involved in politics in Consolacion for over 100 years, starting with his great-great grandfather Gregorio, who was elected a city councilor in 1920. His grandmother Felisa, elected in 1950, was the first female city councilor in Consolacion, while Alinsug’s father served as a city councilor and a vice mayor for 25 years.
The tradition stopped with Alinsug’s father, as neither of his four children chose to run for public office until the last year, when Coco announced his candidacy for Ward 3 councilor. Although his parents believed in him ― and even printed “Vote Coco” T-shirts ― they were concerned that he would have difficulty navigating the American political process and gaining enough support from voters, Alinsug said.
Alinsug believes that voters chose him because they were ready for something new and different, as Lynn’s demographics have changed with more immigrants coming in from different countries.
“They can associate themselves with me and my story relates to their stories,” said Alinsug. “My story of coming to America is not a walk in the park. I had a lot of struggles in life.”
Putting himself out there as a politician opened him for more criticism and judgement from people, especially those who are homophobic, said Alinsug.
“That is a part of the challenge of my service. Service is service, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like if you have the heart to serve. That is my ultimate goal as the Ward 3 councilor,” Alinsug said.
He moved to the U.S. almost 20 years ago with $200 in his pocket.
“I was determined to move here because I really wanted to live my life as an open LGBT (person). I was determined to marry the love of my life,” said Alinsug. “Because of that determination, I am living my life and my American dream and that’s why it is the payback time.”
Since the November election, Alinsug has been spending a lot of time preparing for the job. He has attended a lot of City Council meetings, met one-on-one with all department heads and received a lot of calls and messages from the residents of Ward 3 concerned about various issues, from parking to cleanliness. Alinsug said he will act on all of these requests as soon as he is formally admitted to office.
He also went on a ride around the ward with outgoing Councilor Darren Cyr. Cyr showed him the areas that have some problems or need attention and also drove him to King's Beach and Swampscott to familiarise Alinsug more with the sewage pollution problem at that site.
“I know I can call him any time,” said Alinsug.
Issues around King’s Beach and renovation of the Kiley Park will be some of his main priorities, Alinsug said.
Before Monday, he chose, however, to be cautious of catching COVID-19 and spend a few days at home with his mother and his husband Peter Cipriano, watching movies.
Alinsug, Barton Win Big in Lynn Council Race
11/3/21 — The Lynn Daily Item
LYNN ― Coco Alinsug, an immigrant from the Philippines whose family’s commitment to public service in his native land goes back generations, will be the new city councilor in Ward 3.
Alinsug, running against George Meimeteas, won by more than 600 votes (1,300 to 684) to fill the seat vacated by Darren Cyr, who ran and lost for mayor.
Richard C. Colucci won a narrow victory in Ward 4 over Natasha Megie-Maddrey, 637-573.
In the other contested ward race, Richard Starbard won easily over challenger Elizabeth Figueroa, 1,179-616.
In the at-large race, all four incumbents won, with Buzzy Barton leading the way with 5,789 votes, followed closely by Brian LaPierre’s 5,726.
Hong Net was third at 5,703, followed by Brian Field at 5,261.
Nicole McClain (3,950), Jose Encarnacion (3,343), and Marven Hyppolite (2,842) were the challengers.
“I feel relieved,” said Alinsug, who is the first Filipino-American candidate in Lynn history and the first openly-gay ward councilor. “I’m glad to have had a brilliant team behind me. Proud of my husband (Peter Cipriano) who was my campaign treasurer. He was more active than I was, I think.
“I have a very clear plan for Ward 3,” he said. “It has to do with the pollution and the smell from King’s Beach.
“But more than that,” he added, “I need to be visible in my ward. Right now, I want to relax and gather my thoughts. And then, to talk to the people in my ward, listen to them, and thank them.”
Ward 3 is predominantly in East Lynn, with parts bordering the beach.
Barton said he is glad the campaign is over, especially since he faced some family issues that prevented him from campaigning more than he did.
“But when you think about it, I’ve been campaigning for a while now,” he said. “People know what I’m about. They know me.”
Councilors in Ward 1 (Wayne Lozzi), 5 (Diana Chakoutis), 6 (Fred Hogan) and 7 (Jay Walsh) ran unopposed.
A total of 12,543 voters went to the polls, 22.86 percent of the registered electorate.
Read the article on ItemlLive.com here: https://www.itemlive.com/2021/11/02/alinsug-barton-win-big-in-lynn-council-race/?fbclid=IwAR243iVUh_gtHM7HMphuFb8UiShaysTcJ5gPFvw12MAQFiZsqMTW0XVJKxs
Victory Fund Endorses Coco
10/28/21 — Endorsement Alert!
Washington, D.C.-based Victory Fund has endorsed Coco in the upcoming election. Victory Fund endorses candidates for local, state and federal elective office who identify as LGBTQ and support full equality for the community, support efforts to safeguard privacy and reproductive freedom and demonstrate community support and a viable plan to win.
Thank you, Victory Fund! #Lynnrepresents
See the page about Coco on the Victory Fund site here:
Lynn United for Change Endorses Coco
10/23/21 — Endorsement Alert!
We know the city council will also play an important role in upcoming decisions on housing and other issues.
We endorse Nicole McClain, Marven Hyppolite, José M. Encarnacion, and Hong Net for Councilor-At-Large; Elizabeth Figueroa for Ward 2 Councilor; Coco Alinsug for Ward 3 Councilor; and Natasha Megie-Maddrey for Ward 4 Councilor.
We support these city council candidates for their strong commitments to housing justice, immigrant rights, racial justice, and worker rights. And we appreciate their readiness to listen, engage, and respond to concerns.
We believe real progress comes from the grassroots. That’s why our main focus is organizing people to come together, speak up, and push for change. But we know the actions of federal, state, and local government make a huge impact in our community, and we urge everyone to get involved in electing these progressive candidates.
See the full post from Lynn United For Change here:
Rainbow Times Releases Key Endorsement for Coco
10/23/21 — Endorsement Alert!
Lynn City Council – Ward 3
Constantino “Coco” Alinsug
Currently leading the race for Lynn’s Ward 3 Council seat, Coco Alinsug has been a lifelong LGBTQ+ champion hero, locally, and abroad in his native Philippines. Also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Coco has dedicated his life to social justice, representing some of the most marginalized communities around the globe. The Rainbow Times has witnessed Coco’s dedication, resiliency, drive, motivation and boundless energy for more than a decade’s worth of directly collaborating with him on various causes and initiatives. As we’ve also witnessed from the first-time candidate this election cycle, the way he has run his campaign is equally as impressive as his resume.
Coco has spent a lifetime also devoting himself to HIV/AIDS prevention, LGBTQ+ youth and the arts and has received countless awards and recognition honoring him for his relentless work to truth and justice, breaking down barriers one person at a time, including being recognized by The Rainbow Times a number of years ago for his honorable work and commitment to the betterment of the LGBTQ+ community. He is a hero to many, especially those often left without a voice and that are persecuted and stigmatized in society.
Most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, Coco traveled nationally and internationally, educating others about LGBTQ+ health and vaccine research. He is also hailed as one of the original members of the “Protocol Team” that reviewed the study design of the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine. Additionally, he Though impressive, these factoids just touch the tip of the iceberg.
Coco spent over a decade building and spearheading the Salem-based North Shore Alliance of LGBTQ+ Youth (nAGLY) as the organization’s Executive Director and has been, in large part, responsible for the tremendous growth of the organization in its earlier days.
Over the past several years in his position as a Commissioner for the Masachusetts LGBTQ+ Youth Commission, which establishes effective policies, programs, and resources for LGBTQ youth throughout the Commonwealth, and as Outreach Manager for Fenway Health, Coco has helped to safe lives, quite literally. He also serves on multiple boards of directors, groups, and community organizations ranging from culture to the arts to community television.
Coco is a leader that throws his heart into all he does. He is not about smoke and mirrors but leads by his own example with conviction, passion, empathy and brilliance. In the years of endorsing candidates for office, our team has never witnessed a Lynn candidate that has thrown themselves into a race with as much vigor, sheer grit and fortitude as Coco. This speaks volumes to the type of person he is and the kind of determined leader he will be as a City Councillor. Coco knows from his personal experience as a gay man, a member of the BIPOC community and through his unmatched social justice-related and management experience what it takes to persevere and truly serve others.
He has been able to garner palpable energy, support and excitement across the board about his campaign from those who believe in his abilities as much as his person. We join them. It is rare for a candidate to be equally strong as a well-rounded progressive candidate as they are a personal human rights warrior. Yet, Coco checks all the right boxes while coloring outside the lines. If elected, Coco will be the first Fillipino-American and openly gay man elected to Lynn City Council. The Rainbow Times is excited to throw our ardent endorsement behind Coco Alinsug for Ward 3.
To read the press release and the names of other candidates endorsed, click HERE.
Lynn Candidate Profile:
Who Is Coco Alinsug?
10/20/21 — The Lynn Item
LYNN ― Candidate for Ward 3 Councilor Coco Alinsug moved to Lynn from the Philippines 19 years ago and one of the first things he did was volunteer as a caretaker for Goldfish Pond.
His first apartment in Lynn faced the pond ― which he said was very calming and relaxing ― and he would wake up in the morning, have his coffee, and stare at his neighbors: the turtles, ducks, and geese.
"It is one of Lynn’s hidden gems," Alinsug said. "Even though I don’t live as close to the pond now, I kept my membership with the association, continued my service with the
neighborhood, and currently serve on the board of the Goldfish Pond Association."
Nearly 20 years later, Alinsug is following in the footsteps of his family members, who have been involved in politics in Consolacion, Cebu in the Philippines over the past 100 years.
His father, Ember Alinsug, is a vice mayor; his grandmother, Felisa, was the first woman in Consolacion to be elected city councilor, in 1950; and her father ― Alinsug's great-grandfather ― was also a councilor. Alinsug’s great-great grandfather, Gregorio, was the first councilor in his family, elected in 1920.
Alinsug has a long history of working in the communities he lives in, starting when he was 14 and growing up in the Philippines. He said he rallied his neighbors to build a youth center, since the government could not afford to build one itself.
When he was 18, Alinsug was the youngest staff member to the president of the Philippines at the time. At 22, he was the youngest delegate sent to represent the Philippines at the United Nations, marking his first exposure to the United States.
Alinsug said that experience made him fall in love with America, and so, at age 23, he moved to the United States with no plan and only $200 in his pocket.
Since Alinsug's move to Lynn, he has attended various events at the local mosque, churches and synagogues, and has become a fixture at local neighborhood activities.
"It is very interesting to see people from all cultures talking in different languages, as if I'm attending a UN convention," Alinsug said. "It's cool to taste and try different kinds of food, experience different traditions and customs. I just love the diversity of this ward and this city in general."
As a first-time candidate, Alinsug said he promises to always listen to the concerns of Ward 3 residents and to work tirelessly to resolve issues and update constituents on actions taken by the city.
"I will be honest with the residents at all times; I am a team player and a consensus-builder," Alinsug said.
Spending the past seven months of his campaign walking every street in Ward 3 and speaking with hundreds of people, Alinsug said he has learned that the concerns of the residents include isolated flooding problems in some areas of the ward, trees covering stop signs and other signs, potholes, trash, and the need to rehabilitate Kiley Park.
The largest issue he has come across is the smell and pollution problems at Kings Beach.
As a City Council member, Alinsug wants to be a part of the task force created to resolve the issue with King's Beach, and plans to collaborate with leaders in Lynn, Swampscott, and the state in order to do so.
"The ultimate goal is to find a permanent solution to this problem," he said.
Alinsug said he plans on providing regular updates about the city to constituents through newsletters and social-media outlets; conducting semi-annual ward meetings in rotating precincts to discuss concerns, and updating constituents about current city projects; appointing precinct captains to monitor and respond rapidly to the specific needs of each precinct; and hiring a volunteer intern to interact with City Hall as a liaison officer for Ward 3.
Alinsug said he also plans to implement safety improvements to the ward in the form of better lighting, clearing blocked traffic signage, and working toward improved street maintenance.
In regards to city initiatives, Alinsug plans to work with the objective of not raising property taxes in the near future; work with city and state officials to help create more affordable housing for seniors, veterans, middle- and lower-income residents, and municipal employees; explore the use of additional grant writers to find new revenue sources for the city; and empower youth, senior citizens, and others to help each of them achieve his/her fullest potential, regardless of age or ability.
Alinsug is the first Filipino-American candidate in Lynn history, and if elected, will be the first openly-gay candidate for ward councilor in the city and the the first Filipino-American city councilor in New England.
See the article here:
Support For Coco's Campaign All the Way From The Philippines!
10/17/21 — Consolacion, Cebu, Philippines
Family and friends of Coco Alinsug living in the Philippines created an elaborate photoshoot in his childhood home of Consolacion, Cebu, Philippines to support his campaign.
See more photos HERE.
The Rainbow Times Endorses Coco
10/15/21 — Endorsement Alert!
Wards 2, 3 and 4 Candidates Clash in Lynn Forum
10/13/21 — ItemLive.com
LYNN ― The candidates for the city’s contested ward councilor seats all said they were concerned about making sure that constituents’ voices are heard and that they know how to reach their councilors whenever they need to at a forum hosted by Lynn Community Television on Wednesday night.
The forum was only open to ward candidates in contested races. In Ward 2, incumbent Richard Starbard faces a challenge from Elizabeth Figueroa. Ward 3 features two new candidates — Coco Alinsug and George Meimeteas — who are vying to fill the seat left vacant when City Council President Darren Cyr opted to run for mayor. In Ward 4, Natasha Megie-Maddrey is seeking to unseat longtime Councilor Richard Colucci.
Of these candidates, only Meimeteas was not present for the forum.
Candidates were asked questions ranging from what they would do for their ward with a $1 million grant to what they would do to help fix the water-quality issue at King’s Beach. Through all the answers, one thing was clear: The candidates want open communication with their potential constituents as much as possible.
Figueroa said that she wanted to see more official documents translated into different languages.
“We need to translate documentations and letters based on the populations we serve,” Figueroa said. “We need to build a bridge so we can advocate for our communities.”
Starbard said that being accessible to constituents is only half the battle. He said that it is just as important for councilors to communicate what is happening in the wards.
“When we did Marshall (Middle School), we ran a campaign,” Starbard said. “Because we were open and transparent, 80 percent voted in favor of it.”
Alinsug said that he wanted to help residents not only realize how they can get in contact with city officials but also organize how city officials can communicate with each other.
“We need to sit down and have a retreat where the mayor, School Committee, and City Council decide our priorities,” Alinsug said in response to a question about what he feels should be done about the current condition of schools in Lynn.
Megie-Maddrey advocated for meetings to be held across Ward 4 so that the citizens could freely voice their opinions directly to her.
“We don’t currently have ward meetings; I’d like to start with them at least one a month,” Megie-Maddrey said. “We need to be more responsive to our community.”
Colucci said that he wants to hear from people about what they want him to do. Colucci went as far as to provide his own phone number in his closing remarks.
“I won’t let you down,” Colucci said. “Call me if you need me.”
Starbard and Alinsug weighed in on how they would improve conditions at King’s Beach, which has been found to have the lowest water-quality purity in Massachusetts.
“We need to watch what goes down into storm drains because that’s what comes out at the end of the outfall pipe,” said Starbard.
Alinsug said that he would support the efforts that have already started to make improvements at the beach.
“We should not reinvent the wheel,” said Alinsug. “A task force is already provided.”
Figueroa, Colucci and Megie-Maddrey all pitched some ideas for how a $1 million grant could be best spent in the respective wards they’re seeking to represent.
“Our parks are in pieces,” Figueroa said. “I would invest that $1 million and utilize it for the parks and a family entertainment center.”
Colucci said he would utilize much of the funding to provide opportunities for the city’s youth.
“I’d like half for the youth program and youth jobs in the city,” Colucci said. “I have so many kids looking for summer jobs.”
Megie-Maddrey is in favor of the city reopening a senior center, which Lynn currently lacks after the last one closed in 2019.
“I would love to put some of the money to a senior center,” said Megie-Maddrey. “Our elders are being ignored. They should not be having to fight for a senior center.”
The city election is Nov. 2.
Listen to Coco's closing statement HERE.
Ballot Positions Set for Lynn Election
9/29/21 — ItemLive.com
LYNN — With 24 candidates left in the race for the City Council and School Committee seats and two candidates vying to be city’s next mayor, the election office has determined each candidate’s position on the ballot in November.
These positions are determined through a lottery process that pulls out numbered balls for each position.
School Committee member Jared Nicholson will be listed first for mayor, followed by City Council President Darren Cyr.
Incumbent Buzzy Barton will be listed first on the ballot for councilor-at-large, followed by Brian LaPierre, Jose Encarnacion, Brian Field, Marven Hyppolite, Hong Net, and Nicole McClain.
Incumbent Richard Starbard will be listed first for Ward 2, followed by Elizabeth Figueroa.
For Ward 3, the ballot will see Coco Alinsug, followed by George Meimeteas.
Incumbent Richard Colucci will be listed first for Ward 4, followed by Natasha Megie-Maddrey.
Current Ward 1 Councilor Wayne Lozzi, Ward 5 Councilor Dianna Chakoutis, Ward 6 Councilor Fred Hogan, and Ward 7 Councilor John “Jay” Walsh are all running unopposed.
Current member Brian Castellanos will lead off the ballot for School Committee candidates, followed by Donna Coppola, Lorraine Gately, Tiffany Jean Magnolia, Eric Dugan, PoSan Ung, Daniel Richard, Sandra Lopez, and Lenny Peña.
The final election is on Nov. 2, and the last day to register for this election is Wednesday, Oct. 13 until 8 p.m.
The last day to request an application for a mail-in or absentee ballot is Wednesday, Oct. 27 by 5 p.m.
For any questions regarding the election, visit the election office’s website at www.lynnma.gov/departments/clerk_elections or call the City Clerk and Elections Chief Janet Rowe at 781-598-4000.
Historical Reenactment Will Bring General Lafayette to Goldfish Pond in Lynn
9/27/21 — ItemLive.com
LYNN ― The Goldfish Pond Association is celebrating its 41st anniversary with a parade from City Hall to Goldfish Pond on Saturday, retracing the route that the Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer, rode during his visit to Lynn in the 1800s.
The parade will include a horse and carriage and a period actor playing Gen. Lafayette, followed by a parade of cars driven by members of the Goldfish Pond Association.
In 1824, Lafayette was invited to the U.S. to tour the former colonies, as he was famed for fighting alongside Gen. George Washington in the American Revolution and was a key factor in winning the battle of Yorktown in 1781.
During his visit, he passed by Ingalls Farm, which is now Goldfish Pond.
His visit to Lynn influenced the names of surrounding areas including Lafayette Park and Fayette Street, which was the first named street in the city.
The Association’s President Trish Greene said they wanted to do something different to celebrate the anniversary of the nonprofit organization.
“It is a rare event to see a horse and carriage in the city of Lynn and the Goldfish Pond Association had fun planning this historical reenactment,” Greene said. “We are fortunate to have this funded by the Lynn Cultural Council and we hope that Lynn residents will come out and see the parade and enjoy some anniversary cake.”
The parade will begin at City Hall and proceed down Market Street to Broad Street, then turn onto Lewis Street to Lafayette Park, ending at the pond.
Member of the Goldfish Pond Association and candidate for Ward 3 City Councilor Coco Alinsug said the significance of this parade is to bring a dose of nostalgia and to celebrate Lynn’s past.
“That is the reason why we specifically invited students of nearby Brickett School for them to witness the reenactment and to experience this wonderful piece of history that happened here in Lynn,” Alinsug said.
Goldfish Pond was formerly known as Ingalls Farm, in honor of the first European settler of Lynn, Edmund Ingalls, who arrived with his family in 1630 and built a house near the pond.
It was originally a swampy, lowland area before the city transformed it into the park and pond that it is today, which is maintained by the association.
This celebration of the association’s work and dedication to the pond was originally supposed to take place last year for the 40th anniversary, but was postponed because of the pandemic.
For more information, visit goldfishpond.org.
Coco Endorsed by Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts!
9/27/21 — ENDORSEMENT ALERT!
We're very honored to have received the endorsement of Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts for City Councilor of Ward 3 - Lynn. N2N is an organization of working class, multi-racial, and multi-ethnic people working together to build political and economic power to improve the quality of lives in our communities.
N2N members lead through education & training, issue & electoral organizing, policy advocacy, alliance building, community-controlled economic development, and holding decision-makers accountable. N2N has 15,000 community members statewide.
Coco Endorsed by North Shore Labor Council of Massachusetts!
9/23/21 — ENDORSEMENT ALERT!
I am so honored to have received The North Shore Labor Council of Massachusetts endorsement. I am proud to stand with the Labor Council, and with unions, and with all those who continue to work hard in and for our communities. Thank you to the Labor Council for this honor and for your confidence in me, and to continue to work hard for our community, and for the betterment of our great city and wonderful residents.
"...I am pleased to inform you that the members of North Shore Labor Council have voted to endorse your candidacy. We were impressed with your dedication, knowledge, and compassion for working people in the North Shore.
...We look forward to working with you in the future.
Katie Cohen, Executive Director"
Alinsug Pulls Ahead in Lynn Ward 3 Council Race
9/14/21 — ItemLive.com
LYNN ― Coco Alinsug pulled ahead handily in the race for Ward 3 councilor in Tuesday’s preliminary election, the only open seat on the council.
Alinsug received 872 votes, almost double his opponent, George Meimeteas, who received 475. Both candidates will advance to the Nov. 2 election.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Alinsug said outside of Thurgood Marshall Middle School on Tuesday afternoon, adding that his team of volunteers had been out all day in shifts to support him. “I’m very tired, but it’s all worth it.”
Meimeteas, who is currently finishing an MBA, joked that he had to return home to write a paper when he left the polls. He said that he had received lots of positivity and thumbs-ups over the course of the day.
“I’m glad everyone came out and voted,” he said. “I wish all the candidates good luck. In the end, we all win.”
No candidates were eliminated from the City Council or School Committee races before November.
The four incumbent at-large councilors were the top scorers in that race, with Brian LaPierre topping the list with 3,893 votes. Next came Hong Net (3,814), Buzzy Barton (3,584) and Brian Field (3,264).
Candidate Nicole McClain received 2,655 votes; Jose Encarnacion received 1,939; and Marven Rhode Hyppolite received 1,545 in the at-large race.
In Ward 2, incumbent Rick Starbard scored higher than challenger Elizabeth Figueroa, with 736 and 387 votes, respectively; in Ward 4, incumbent Richard Colucci also scored higher than his opponent, Natasha Megie-Maddrey, with a smaller margin of 410 to 313 votes.
Incumbents in the race for the six-seat School Committee also held onto their spots, with Donna Coppola coming in first with 3,958 votes, followed by Lorraine Gately (3,726) and Brian Castellanos (3,215). They were followed by newcomers Tiffany Magnolia (2,810), Lenny Peña (2,492) and Sandra Lopez (2,492).
Candidate Daniel Richard received 2,095 votes; Eric Dugan received 2,360; and Posan Ung received 1,706 for School Committee.
SEE THE ARTICLE HERE
Quentin Palfrey Tweets About Coco
9/13/21 — Twitter
Former President Obama and President Biden White House official and former candidate for Massachusetts Lt. Governor Quentin Palfrey tweeted about our campaign!
"My friend Coco Alinsung has been a committed and energetic Democratic activist and community leader, and he will be a terrific city councilor in Lynn Ward 3."
SEE THE TWEET HERE
Lynn Candidates Share Their Most Pressing Issues in Forum
9/10/21 — ITEMLIVE.COM
LYNN — In the final forum before the Tuesday preliminary election, candidates in all races shared what they believed to be the most pressing issues facing the city.
The candidate forum, held at the Community Minority Cultural Center Friday night, hosted candidates for mayor, City Council and School Committee.
The three mayoral candidates had overlapping ideas, but different plans of how best to address them. City Council President Darren Cyr said the most pressing issues in Lynn were its need for new school buildings and more housing. He said that the city should build new “cluster schools” for its younger students, combining more students into one school to replace its current aging buildings.
“We have 28 schools. It doesn’t make sense for us to be maintaining all those schools,” Cyr said. “It’s 28 boilers, 28 roofs. It’s unbelievable the condition and the environment that our kids are going to school, our teachers are teaching in.”
He said the best way to solve the problem of housing is to create more jobs and more development to break the cycle of poverty.
School Committee member Jared Nicholson also named the city’s schools as a major issue, saying that they were overcrowded and had unsuitable conditions. He also listed housing as a priority, but unlike Cyr, favored the recently-passed Housing Lynn plan to create more affordable housing.
Nicholson said that the city’s infrastructure was a huge problem, and noted that the city will soon be potentially receiving millions of dollars from the state and federal government as part of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the city needs to be ready to “put (its) best foot forward” and use that money wisely.
“We need to do it in a way that’s inclusive, that gets input from people, from the community, to let them know that these opportunities are coming and to hear from them what their needs are,” he said. “This is something the city needs to do better by making it easier to get involved.”
School Committee member Michael Satterwhite said that his top four priorities are “affordability, accessibility, activities and public safety.” He said that his own lived experiences have shown him the difficulty of being unable to afford housing and other necessities.
“We’re talking about affordability. I’m not just talking about Section 8 and vouchers. I’m talking about the ability to be able to afford to live here,” he said. “If you lived here and experienced it, you would know, and it’s important for the next mayor of this city to have that experience.
Candidates for City Council also voiced their opinions. Ward 4 candidate Natasha Megie-Maddrey and Councilor Richard Colucci, as well as at-large candidates Jose Encarnacion and Marven Hyppolite, all agreed that affordable housing was the biggest issue facing the city.
Current at-Large Councilors Brian LaPierre, Brian Field and Hong Net listed infrastructure and capital improvements as their highest priority.
Ward 3 candidate Coco Alinsug said the biggest issue in his ward was the pollution on King’s Beach, saying that the city needs to work with state, federal and neighborhood-level officials and community members to fix the problem.
At-Large candidate Nicole McClain also said that affordable housing was a big issue in Lynn, but said that her biggest priority was improving communication and transparency in the city government.
School Committee candidates also had their say on the biggest issues in the public school district. Current member Brian Castellanos and candidate Lennin Peña said they were most concerned about social-emotional learning; Eric Dugan named school buildings; Tiffany Magnolia said her biggest concern was representation in district staff; and Daniel Richard said he was most concerned with helping students and families with individualized education programs (IEPs).
Not at the forum were at-Large Councilor Buzzy Barton; Ward 2 Councilor Rick Starbard and challenger Elizabeth Figueroa; Ward 3 candidate George Meimeteas; School Committee members Donna Coppola and Lorraine Gately; and School Committee candidates Sandra Lopez and Posan Ung.
The preliminary election will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 14. All City Council and School Committee candidates will advance to the November election, but one mayoral candidate will be eliminated.
SEE THE ARTICLE HERE
Coco Endorsed by Bay State Stonewall Democrats!
9/4/21 — ENDORSEMENT ALERT!
I am proud to announce that I have received the endorsement of the Bay State Stonewall Democrats, one of the few organizations that stands and fight for equal rights and opportunities for LGBTQ+ people. I am committed to continuing to work with the organization to help make our communities more inclusive, equitable, and welcoming so that all people are treated fairly, with dignity, and respect. Proud to be in good company here.
Coco Endorsed by VoteProChoice!
9/4/21 — ENDORSEMENT ALERT!
We are excited to receive an endorsement from VOTEPROCHOICE. VoteProChoice works to empower voters to identify pro-choice candidates in every election, everywhere. I'm so proud and honored to be endorsed by them just as I believe in equitable housing, equal access to economic opportunities, and the right of all people to have a seat at the table, I believe in equitable health care.
SEE MORE HERE
Coco Honored at 10th Celebrate Literacy Day Awards in Lynn
9/2/21 — Itemlive.com
LYNN — Several community members were honored for their work promoting literacy and education Wednesday night at the 10th annual Celebrate Literacy Day awards ceremony at Lynn Museum.
Local nonprofit Girls Inc. received the Excellence in Literacy Leadership Award for an organization; the individual awards were given to Coco Alinsug, candidate for Ward 3 city councilor, chair of Lynn Cultural Council and commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth; and Nicole McClain, candidate for at-large city councilor and founder and president of North Shore Juneteenth Association. Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts Executive Director Doneeca Thurston received the Untold Stories Award.
“They educate our community,” said Celebrate Literacy Day Founder and Chair Saritin Rizzuto of the honorees. “They make resources available and (accessible). They advocate for them and demand their rights be met.”
Donna Crotty, director of development and communications at Girls Inc., said while accepting the award that literacy is at the core of the organization’s program. She noted that children who do not meet reading-skill benchmarks by third grade are at an increased risk of not graduating high school.
“The ability to understand subject matter and communicate effectively is essential to a student’s academic performance. It boosts their self-esteem and encourages the girls to aspire in their learning,” Crotty said. “Being literate in our ever-changing world is probably one of the best means to combat generational poverty.”
Alinsug said that growing up in the Philippines, he was always trying to learn, and related a memory in which as an 11-year-old child his family once found him playing teacher to a group of 10 children his age.
He said that when he came to the United States at age 23, he faced a lot of challenges, and now hopes to help others who are in similar situations.
“Even now as a proud homeowner in Lynn, I see my experience in that of others and remain dedicated to doing all that I can to lessen disadvantage,” Alinsug said.
McClain, who is a children’s librarian at Lynn Public Library, was honored in part for her creation of the #LynnReads social media challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, which encouraged families in lockdown to post videos of themselves reading stories.
“Educating children and being a part of our community and helping children learn and grow is really close to my heart,” McClain said.
Thurston received her award for the “Untold Stories” exhibit at the museum, which shows the history of Black people in Lynn.
“It’s a project that started many, many years ago, working with members of Lynn’s Black community as we recognized, as a colonial institution, what we have on view doesn’t speak to a lot of folks,” Thurston said. “As director, I’m really taking up this charge of celebrating stories of everyone in our community, because while we have different journeys, we do have common bonds that have brought us here to Lynn, and that is something that should be celebrated today and every day.”
The keynote speaker at the event was state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, herself a former teacher at Lynn’s Breed Middle School. Chang-Diaz told attendees about her father, Franklin, a NASA astronaut who first came to the United States from Costa Rica as a teen and had to learn English.
Chang-Diaz explained that her father was helped along the way by a librarian who gave him a job and encouraged him to read stories to young Puerto Rican children, translating the English books into Spanish and helping him develop his own literacy skills along the way.
“It shouldn’t be a lucky accident when a kid finds a librarian or a mentor like my dad did,” she said. “For too many kids, these kinds of supports are few and far between, and that makes my dad’s story sound like a winning lottery ticket. It shouldn’t be that way. It doesn’t have to be that way. We have got to make sure that every single one of our kids has the same access and the same opportunities before them.”
SEE THE ARTICLE HERE
Lynn's Goldfish Pond Flea Market to Return in September
8/26/21 — Itemlive.com
LYNN — The Goldfish Pond Association plans to host its annual Fun and Flea Day fundraiser where it brings between 50 and 60 vendors to the pond to sell a variety of goods.
This neighborhood flea market has been running for about 30 years, but took a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which followed water-quality issues in 2019.
This year, vendors can pay $35 to rent a table to set up around the pond from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sept. 11, and $45 if they register on the morning of the event.
As the event will be held on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there will be a ceremony held at the 9/11 memorial on the island in the pond at the start of the day .
Tables are available for anyone to rent, whether it be to sell crafts, get rid of items after spring cleaning or promote a business or politician.
About 30 years ago, Goldfish Pond Association President Trish Greene said she went to the market and the Lynn Historical Society rented a table to display antiques, such as old shoes and gloves, and had pamphlets to show what the organization is all about.
This prompted her to join the society as a recent college graduate, and she has been a member ever since.
“I would even encourage organizations like that to get a table to show what they’re all about,” Greene said. “You never know the type of crowd you’re going to get to your display, whether you’re selling something or just showing.”
This market doesn’t just exist to sell goods; it is also a way to bring the community together. Member of the Goldfish Pond Association Coco Alinsug, a candidate for Ward 3 councilor, said this is a community and neighborhood activity.
“People in the neighborhood look forward to this to volunteer and meet old neighbors,” Alinsug said.
Alinsug said many neighbors who have moved will come back to this market to show their kids where they grew up, where their old house was, and where they spent time.
“There’s a lot of history here in this small area,” Alinsug said. “I am a good example of somebody that is a new transplant to Lynn that assimilated between old neighbors and new neighbors.”
Alinsug said this event always brings kids to help set up the night before, and some of these “kids” are now grown up and have their own kids who, in turn, volunteer for the event.
Greene said this market is like a homecoming for people who have ties to the pond.
“Even current neighbors will come out of their houses and walk around the pond. It’s a good time to just get out,” Greene said.
There is no specific rule for how the vendors can set up. It is a first-come, first-served situation, and Alinsug said the most important part is to be respectful of other vendors and to have fun.
Usually this event would have a bouncy house for the kids, but because of COVID-19, there will be a couple of clowns instead.
There will also be a van from the Lynn Community Health Center offering COVID-19 vaccines.
At the start of this market, when there weren’t many flea markets around, Greene said an old-timer told them it used to bring around 140 vendors to the pond.
This year, Greene said, they think they may get a large crowd of vendors who haven’t been able to sell their goods since the pandemic began.
As the Goldfish Pond Association’s main fundraiser, this event brings in around $3,000 to $5,000, which is the budget for the year. The money goes toward the upkeep of the pond, including flowers, landscaping equipment, trash bags, clean up and more.
The association is advocating for people to practice safe COVID-19 protocols; masks will be provided at the pond.
Interested vendors can sign up at goldfishpond.org.
SEE THE ARTICLE HERE
Lynn City Council Candidate Q & A: Coco Alinsug (Ward 3)
8/26/21 — Thank you to Lynn's Cleo Hereford for featuring me and interviewing me on her blog!
In this year's Lynn municipal election, Ward 3 voters will have the choice between two candidates to represent them on the city council. With current Ward 3 City Councilor Darren Cyr running for mayor, that choice will be among newcomers seeking the city council seat. Coco Alinsug is one candidate running for Ward 3 City Councilor. Alinsug is originally from the Philippines, having moved to the United States in 1996. Currently, he works as an outreach and enrollment manager at Fenway Health, New England's leading primary health center for the lesbian and gay community.
I chatted with Alinsug to learn more about his vision for Lynn and candidacy for Lynn City Council.
Thanks for chatting with me, Coco! You are running for Ward 3 City Councilor; why did you make the decision to run for City Council this year?
Politics is in my blood, I grew up surrounded with politics and politicians. I still remember the words my dad said to me when I left the Philippines to come to America in 1996: “I was hoping you would follow in my footsteps and enter politics.” My dad, Ember Alinsug, is a former Councilor and Vice-Mayor of Consolacion, the biggest town in the province of Cebu, Philippines. I come from five generations of public servants. Not just my dad, but my grandparents, great grandparents, and great-great grandparents all held public office. In fact, my grandmother, Felisa, was the first woman Councilor of Consolacion in 1950. At that time, it was almost unheard of for a woman to be involved in politics.I am proud to now be able to tell my dad that his son is continuing the family legacy of service. I might not be in the Philippines now but I am continuing that legacy in a country halfway around the world, a country I now call home. My environment has changed but my heart and dedication to serve has not. I inherited this dedication from my dad, my grandmother, and my forefathers who paved the way for me to enter politics. Since I moved to Lynn I have worked and served this city in different capacities. I decided to run for City Councilor this year because I want to continue that and expand my service not only to my ward but for the whole city.
Tell us a little bit about how your campaign has been going thus far. How have you been connecting with Ward 3 voters?
Eighteen years ago, when I moved to Lynn, I moved to the Goldfish Pond area of Ward 3, I immediately volunteered my time with the neighborhood association, and I have been doing so even until now wherein I sit as a Board of Director of the Goldfish Pond Association. The reason why I’m sharing this story is because it became easy for me to connect with my neighbors and of the whole of the ward. Since I made the announcement to run in March, I have visited all the areas of Ward 3 at least twice already and am looking to do more. I am a firm believer that direct conversation with your constituents is where you get to have a feel of all the needs of the ward and its residents.
As you speak with Ward 3 residents, what have you found to be the most common concerns? Which of these issues would you prioritize if elected to the City Council?
I have a lot of beautiful and informative conversations with my neighbors and fellow Ward 3 residents, based on my conversations with them, I listed my visions and plans for the ward and the city based on the feedback I gathered from them, which includes the following:
BRING CITY HALL TO WARD 3 CONSTITUENTS:
Provide regular updates to constituents via newsletters and social media outlets
Conduct semi-annual ward meetings in rotating precincts to discuss concerns, and update constituents about current city projects
Appoint Precinct Captains to monitor and respond rapidly to the specific needs of each precinct
Hire a volunteer intern to interact with City Hall as our liaison officer for Ward 3
WARD 3 INITIATIVES:
Assess flooding problems in areas of Ward 3, and work toward a solution to water quality issues at King’s Beach
Improve safety: better lighting, clearing blocked traffic signage, working toward improved street maintenance
Promote neighborhood initiatives and share best practices with all areas of Ward 3
Work toward rehabilitation of Kiley Park, Clark Park, Goldfish Pond, and other areas
Promote and participate in regular Ward 3 cleanups
SUPPORT CITY INITIATIVES:
Work with the objective of not raising property taxes in the near future
Work with city and state officials to help create more affordable housing for seniors, veterans, lower-income residents, and municipal employees
Strongly support the Housing Lynn Plan
Explore the use of additional grant writers to find new revenue sources for the city
Empower youth, senior citizens, and others to help each of them achieve his/her fullest potential, regardless of age or ability
Major topics of discussion this year more broadly across the city center around housing, development and gentrification. On your website, you definitively state that you strongly support the Lynn Housing Plan. Why specifically do you support the Plan?
It’s long overdue; this issue hits close to home. When I moved to this country, I too had my own challenges in assimilating to my new society. I used to experience homelessness and know how it feels to sleep in your car for months because I have no place to go to. It’s hard and you lose your dignity. I will work my very best to make sure that everyone and no one is left behind, we need to have this issue as a priority.
Related, while there has been a lot of focus on development as an avenue toward creating a population that can support downtown businesses, there has been less focus on local job creation. What are your thoughts on improving employment opportunities for Lynn residents?
I am a listener and a team player. I need to bring everyone to the table to have a conversation on how to move our city forward and fix our problems as soon as possible, which includes unemployment. We need to bring businesses, community advocates, local officials to the table and create a master plan on how to address this.
Finally, as we move toward the primary and November general election, why should Ward 3 voters consider your candidacy for City Council? What makes you uniquely qualified to represent Ward 3?
If elected, I will be the first Filipino-American City Councilor in New England and the first out LGBT City Councilor. There’s a lot of pressure but pressure and challenges is what makes me effective as a leader. I am a proven and effective worker locally and internationally. I encourage you to check my website at www.cocoalinsug.com to learn more about me. For all Ward 3 residents, we will do this TOGETHER!!!
SEE THE BLOG POST HERE
Most Candidates A No-Show For City Council Debate in Lynn
8/11/21 — THE LYNN DAILY ITEM
LYNN — Six candidates from three contested ward City Council races were invited, but only two chose to participate in a forum held Wednesday night at the LynnArts Black Box Theater.
The Neighbor to Neighbor-hosted forum focused on candidates for Wards 2, 3 and 4 — as the current councilors for Wards 1, 5, 6 and 7 are running unopposed — with the two who participated, candidate for Ward 3 Coco Alinsug and Ward 4 candidate Natasha Megie-Maddrey, saying they were very disappointed that no one else showed up.
In Ward 2, current Councilor Rick Starbard faces a challenge from Elizabeth Figueroa; Alinsug is challenged by George Meimeteas in the Ward 3 seat that was left vacant when City Council President Darren Cyr opted to run for mayor; and Megie-Maddrey is seeking to unseat longtime Councilor Richard Colucci in Ward 4.
While Figueroa’s absence was explained prior to the start of the forum — she was planning to attend but had a last-minute emergency — no explanations were given for why the other invited candidates could not attend. One of the responses sent in by Figueora, regarding the city’s proposed housing production plan, was read during the forum.
Megie-Maddrey addressed Colucci’s absence in particular, saying that he has been in office for 30 years, but doesn’t have much to show for it.
“Why aren’t you here to defend your record? What are your plans? I want to know what he’s planning on doing,” Megie-Maddrey said. “He’s been in office for 30 years; what have you done and what are you going to do? People keep electing you and it just doesn’t make sense to me. How do you not take this seriously? Why is he not here? Be here, be present.”
For the two candidates that were present, Alinsug encouraged the audience to vote for them both because they will work together with other councilors to better the city and ensure that everyone’s questions are answered and voices are heard.
Both candidates agreed that City Hall doesn’t accurately represent the diversity of the city. To include all community members, Megie-Maddrey said she will organize Ward 4 meetings and monthly newsletters, with translational services available to support people from all backgrounds.
Alinsug echoed this, saying the city should embrace the countless languages that people speak and offer internships and opportunities to bilingual students in City Hall and around the community.
“I’m a team player and I want to listen to everyone,” Alinsug said. “As a ward councilor, it’ll be my obligation to talk to you and hear people.”
Both candidates expressed their support for the All-Lynn Emergency Response Team (ALERT), the newly-formed unarmed crisis response team, saying that they will continue to push for funding for this and will work to incorporate the organizations in the community to support this as well.
Alinsug, Megie-Maddrey and Figueroa said they support Housing Lynn: A Plan for Inclusive Growth, the city’s proposed housing production plan, with all three saying that the rents in the city are too high for residents to afford, which ultimately pushes longtime residents out.
Alinsug reflected on when lived in Los Angeles but couldn’t afford to pay the rent at his apartment, which left him homeless and sleeping out of his car. Since he has experienced this, he said he doesn’t want anyone to have to live like that and will work to prevent it.
Megie-Maddrey said her 22-year-old daughter has been looking for an apartment, but everything is too expensive so she still lives at home. To combat this issue, Megie-Maddrey said she will work to incorporate more programs for young adults to become homeowners to build generational wealth, as well as cracking down on landlords to make sure they are taking care of the buildings they own and ensuring the apartments are safe.
Figueroa said she supports anything that will ensure housing is safe and affordable for Lynn residents.
In regards to infrastructure, Alinsug and Megie-Maddrey agreed that the city needs to do better, in terms of maintaining the streets in all wards.
Megie-Maddrey said that since all residents are paying taxes, the services should be the same across the city and not diminished for the “poorer neighborhoods,” where there tend to be more potholes and streets in worse conditions.
Alinsug said he will make sure he is out in Ward 3 making calls to the Department of Public Works (DPW) when needed, and listening to infrastructure concerns, or any concerns at all, from residents.
The two agreed the city is making positive changes, which they said is reflected by the diversity of the candidates for City Council and School Committee; both said they would bring about positive change.
“We need new faces in the City Council to reflect the city we love,” Alinsug said.
SEE THE ARTICLE HERE
Local Asian-Americans united against all hate crimes
7/29/21 — LYNN JOURNAL
Three prominent Asian-Americans stand against Asian hate crimes. Each of these men holds a significant role in society, especially in Lynn. State Representative Donald Wong, representing West Lynn, was the first to open the door for Asian-Americans to run for office in Lynn. Councilor-at-Large Hong Net followed Wong’s leadership as he won a seat on the city council.
Another Asian-American Coco Alinsug who has always stood for fairness and equity is s a candidate for Ward 3. These three individuals are bringing the banner of awareness for all Asian- Americans and for minorities to stop hate crimes against them and everyone else.
No one should be discriminated against as Representative Wong said, “There should not be any hate crimes anywhere. We bring today this message of awareness.”
Candidate for Ward 3 Coco Alinsug explains, “We need representation. If you live in a very diverse city like Lynn, everyone needs to be represented as much as possible and have an opportunity to progress.”
Coco continued to comment on the support he has received from Donald and Hong. “If it was not for them, I doubt I would run for political office. They encouraged me. Now I have the chance to give back to the city” said Coco.
All three, Wong, Net, and Alinsug, continue to work with many organizations and groups for a better city. They are open-minded, talented, and use good judgment. They are proud of their cultural roots and proud of being American citizens.
SEE THE STORY HERE
‘Black Lives Matter’ Mural Finally Comes to Life in Lynn
7/25/21 — THE LYNN DAILY ITEM
LYNN — A yearlong push for a Black Lives Matter mural in the city finally paid off this weekend with the long-awaited paint hitting the street between City Hall and Lynn District Court.
Recent Lynn English graduates Carlos Prudencio and Damianny Garrido spearheaded the campaign for a Black Lives Matter mural in the city through their grassroots organization, One Lynn, One Love.
The soon-to-be American University freshmen started their push for the mural after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and the nationwide demonstrations that followed after a video of the incident went viral.
For Garrido, who, with Prudencio, spent the past year jumping through hoops trying to get the City Council to approve the mural after the city’s law department initially advised against it, seeing it finally start to get painted late Saturday morning was an emotional experience.
“I literally cried not too long ago,” said Garrido. “It feels so relieving seeing everybody working together finally. It’s been a year…and holding all of that (emotion) in and being able to just release today, it was incredible.”
The sun was shining in downtown Lynn as local artists filled the street with color Saturday from morning to sundown. Music was playing and people had come from near and far to show their support. The festivities were somewhat dampened by rain on Sunday, but a celebration for the mural’s completion was still held that evening.
When all was said and done Sunday evening, a double mural on Essex Street was finally on display, with “Black Lives Matter” written in two directions. One piece of it was painted in front of the courthouse on Essex Street and continued to Johnson Street, with a reverse mural beginning in front of City Hall and continuing to the front of Lynn District Court.
Lynn joins more than 174 communities nationwide that have already created Black Lives Matter murals, including Somerville and Worcester. The City Council voted unanimously on April 27 to approve the project, which had the support of Mayor Thomas M. McGee and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton.
McGee, who voiced his support for the project early in the process, was planning to stop by midday Sunday to see how things were going, but heavy rain forecast for later in the day meant the artists and volunteers wrapped up the mural painting on Saturday.
McGee said the mural was extremely well done and the number of people who showed up to participate shows how the Lynn community comes together.
“Carlos and Damianny showed true leadership through this whole process,” McGee said.
In addition to initiating the vision for the mural, McGee praised Prudencio and Garrido for seeing the best in the community and wanting to bring people together.
“They really believed in this and the importance of it and what it means to our community,” McGee said. “There’s a lot of people who worked on this, but through the whole process Damianny and Carlos really showed what’s best in our community as young adults and leaders as high school students.”
McGee said he hopes the message of bringing people together resonates throughout the community and beyond.
Other vocal supporters of the project, Ward 6 Councilor Fred Hogan and Ward 3 Council candidate Coco Alinsug, also made appearances over the weekend. Garrido also pointed out local organizations, including Prevent the Cycle and Beyond Walls, thanking them for their support.
Alinsug, who came by Saturday, said it was great to see people from Lynn and neighboring communities come together for the installation.
“It’s nice to see mothers and dads bringing their children,” said Alinsug. “In fact, I spoke to a lot of them, and it’s actually the kids who are telling their parents to come because they want to volunteer. So for me, hearing that, it’s just a rewarding and an amazing experience to see people from all walks of life, from different classes of society, different ethnic backgrounds, coming together for one goal and one purpose: to promote unity among everybody.”
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
Lynn Residents Awarded For Work in Literacy
7/19/21 — THE LYNN DAILY ITEM
LYNN — City Council candidates Coco Alinsug and Nicole McClain, along with Lynn Museum Executive Director Doneeca Thurston, have been chosen by the Celebrate Literacy Day (CLD) group as this year’s recipients of their literary awards.
Alinsug — who is running for Ward 3 — and McClain — who is vying for an at-Large seat — have been chosen as the 2021 Excellence in Literacy Leadership Award (ELLA) winners, while Thurston will receive the first-ever Untold Stories award.
The three recipients were nominated for these awards and chosen by CLD committee members for their work in the community and dedication to literacy.
Since the committee received a large number of nominations this year, CLD’s Committee Chair Saritin Rizzuto said it was a very tough decision to choose the recipients; that’s why they created another award this year.
“There are so many people that do so much for the community, but we felt as if these three recipients had to be highlighted,” Rizzuto said.
The ELLA award, which began as an award solely for women, acknowledges the leadership of an individual in the community — with a focus on literacy — who goes above and beyond by giving back, and working with programs and residents to make a difference.
Rizzuto said the committee chose Alinsug because he is “such a giving individual, who seems like his goal in life is to help others and the community.”
Alinsug said he was very honored to be named as a recipient and highlighted the importance of literacy.
“Our economy is enhanced when learners have higher literacy levels and that is why I am so happy that this group continues to honor people and recognizes people that make a difference in our city to create awareness,” Alinsug said. “I have been an international scholar during my high school days and I am extra honored because this is my first Lynn award.”
Alinsug said he has received international, national and state awards for his work with community health, youth advocacy and vaccine research, but “never in Lynn, so this award is special because it came from my city.”
The committee chose McClain because of her work with North Shore Juneteenth and her longtime work in early childhood and dedication to promoting literacy.
Committee member Diana Moreno said they also chose McClain because “she doesn’t just serve Lynn, but also served for the United States in the Army.”
McClain said she was happy to be chosen for the award, saying that she has been following the group for years and has always wanted to be a recipient.
“I was really excited,” McClain said.
Having worked in the area of early childhood for years, McClain said she knows how important literacy is and loves how this group focuses on and spreads awareness of it throughout the community.
Rizzuto said the committee added the Untold Stories award this year specifically for Thurston; she received the honor for her dedication to telling the stories of the people from Lynn and for thinking outside the box, especially through the museum’s “Untold Stories: A History of Black People in Lynn” exhibition.
“It is such an incredible honor to be selected for the Untold Stories Award, and I really share this award with Lynn Museum/LynnArts and the entire team who worked on our “Untold Stories: A History of Black People in Lynn” exhibition,” Thurston said. “Highlighting voices in our community, the stories of our families and loved ones, folks long forgotten and those who have been able to be remembered, is so important. Literacy has the power to connect us, to educate us about the greater world around us, as well as what’s going on right here in our own community.”
Thurston said that by including and celebrating the voices and stories that have traditionally not been seen or heard, the value and impact of literacy is increased.
Each individual recipient will be honored at an event on Sept. 1 at the Lynn Museum, along with the CLD Organization of the Year, Girls Inc. The money raised at the event will benefit all of the award recipients.
Alinsug, McClain and Thurston will be awarded $500 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice, and Girls Inc. will receive the rest of the funds.
Due to COVID-19, tickets for the fall event will be limited to 75. Tickets and donations can be found online at www.celebrateliteracyday.org.
Fil-Am Constantine Alinsug vying for city council seat in Lynn, Massachusetts | Balitang America
7/16/21 — ABS-CBN News
Mass Alliance Endorses Coco!
7/13/21 — MASS ALLIANCE
We are so excited to announce Coco Alinsug as a member of our Rising Stars Program. Since moving to Lynn 18 years ago, Coco has always been engaged in the community through volunteer efforts. Whether inside a health van until 3am, providing HIV/STI tests and food to the homeless of Lynn, or working with LGBT youth on the North Shore, or organizing the Pride flag raising at Lynn City Hall every year, Coco believes that everyone in Lynn Ward 3 deserves to have their voice heard.
#coco #massalliance #risingstar #risingstars #mapoli #massachusetts #lynnma #lynnmassachusetts #lynn
SEE THE POST HERE
More Lynn Candidates Cite Racial Profiling During Campaigning
7/12/21 — THE LYNN DAILY ITEM
LYNN — Additional candidates vying for positons as elected officials in the city say they have experienced and witnessed racial profiling while campaining, following former mayoral candidate Keith Lee announcing his resignation from the race due to racial profiling.
City Council candidates Coco Alinsug, Marven Hyppolite, Natasha Megie-Maddrey and Hong Net shared their own experiences, which have ranged from constituents saying a candidate’s race would cost them their vote to having the police called on them while they were out campaigning, presumably because of their race.
Candidate for Ward 3 Councilor Alinsug said he experienced racial profiling for the first time in Lynn when he decided in early 2021 that he would run for a position as an elected official.
Alinsug was born in the Philippines but has lived in Lynn for more than 20 years. He said he still experiences people telling him he cannot run for office because he’s not “from here.”
Alinsug recalled an experience when a woman called and told him, “You immigrants are sucking the system,” “Immigrants can’t run for anything in my city,” during a 20-minute exchange where she also referred to him as a “lazy immigrant.”
Hearing these comments, Alinsug said he was shocked and confused and didn’t know what to do, but said he always tries to ignore “hateful” and “rude” comments as such.
“I couldn’t believe everything she was saying,” Alinsug said. “I’m a community person and I always love to interact with people, and I’ve never had people confront me like this.”
When this woman eventually stopped yelling at him, Alinsug said he was shaking, but composed himself enough to ask if she wanted to talk about Ward 3. When she did not have any questions or concerns about the ward Alinsug is running to represent, he said he politely told her he was going to hang up.
He said he took a couple of minutes after the phone call to meditate and reflect upon all the positivity surrounding his campaign, volunteers and community.
“I couldn’t believe there was an individual like her filled with so much hate,” Alinsug said. “Immigrants come to this country to escape something … and you move here to better your life and to reach for the American dream and in order to reach that, you have to go through a lot of obstacles.”
Alinsug said his life in America has taken a lot of hard work; he said there were times where he wanted to give up, but he has achieved his dream and has created a “beautiful” life in Lynn. He said he is running for city councilor to help others do the same.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
Coco Alinsug for Ward 3 Kick-Off
7/1/21 — THE LYNN JOURNAL
Introductions by friends set the tone for Coco Alinsug Ward 3 campaign kick-off. Rev. Donna Spencer Collins opened up the event by welcoming everyone for attending and listening to the testimonies about the candidate.
Donna began the event as she said, “I am going to sing one of Coco’s favorite songs – Where the Boys are”. It was a moment that brought everyone together cheering toward the end of the song. She expressed her thoughts about Coco by stating, “He is a people’s person; he has helped friends, neighbors, and the city without even asking. He is a very giving and caring individual.”Next to speak was Governor’s Council Eileen Duff who has deep roots in the City of Lynn since childhood. She expressed a thank you to everyone for coming out for her dear friend, Coco, as she expressed, “To have someone of his caliber, not just comes from a family of service, but his family served folks for their entire lives. Coco has dedicated his whole life to service. Coco is exactly who we need to step up right now. He has a great big heart, but he also has a great big mind too. He is a person of great deep intellect in thought and compassion. Coco does not make a major reaction, but he wants to listen to people and hear their concerns and views. He really and truly wants to represent the people and he loves Lynn.”
A longtime neighbor of Coco Alinsug, Margot Abels, was next introducing her thoughts about the next Ward 3 Councilor for Lynn. Margot spoke from her heart by saying, “It has been a long time since I had the opportunity, truly and wholeheartedly, to embrace a political candidate. When was it the last time a person was right; he is the kind of leader and a change maker that you would be proud to support. Someone’s work and spirit would lead you to a place of optimism and hope.” Margot continue to say, “This is the first time in a long time that I felt honored to endorse a candidate who is thoughtful and makes things happen.” Ward 3 candidate Coco said, “My favorite phrase is no man is an Island. I did not do this alone to make my announcement for Councilor. Many neighbors came forward volunteering to collect signatures; there were a lot of people helping me. I also carried a notebook with me whenever I interacted with people writing their concerns and suggestions. I cannot do this alone and I am so honored and proud of my team because this not a Coco campaign, but a Ward 3 campaign.
SEE THE ARTICLE HERE
Lynn’s Alinsug Kicks off City Council Campaign
6/25/21 — THE LYNN DAILY ITEM
LYNN — Coco Alinsug, the first Filipino-American and openly-gay candidate in Lynn history, kicked off his campaign for City Council Friday night at Christopher’s Cafe.
Alinsug — who is seeking to fill the Ward 3 seat that was left vacant when City Council President Darren Cyr opted to run for mayor — said he is committed to bringing all of the lessons he’s learned in his life, and the love he has for the people of Lynn, to improve the ward.
Alinsug has a long history of working in the communities he lives in, starting when he was 14 and growing up in the Philippines — he recalled a time when he rallied his neighbors to build a youth center since the government could not afford to build it itself.
When he was 18, Alinsug was the youngest staff member for the president of the Philippines at the time. At 22, he was the youngest delegate sent to represent the Philippines at the United Nations, marking his first exposure to the United States.
Alinsug said that experience made him fall in love with America, and so, at age 23, he moved to the United States with no plan and only $200 in his pocket.
“My only goal (when I moved here) was to live my life as a gay man, to marry and meet somebody, and to not hide any secrets at all,” Alinsug said. “I might have had a good future in the Philippines as a politician, but I would never live with or marry the person I love.”
Alinsug is the only LGBTQ+ candidate in the 2021 City Council race and currently dedicates time to planning and coordinating LGBTQ+ events, including the Pride month events occurring in the city over the past couple of weeks.
Alinsug has lived in Lynn for 18 years; upon his arrival, he immediately started volunteering at Goldfish Pond by cleaning, planting and decorating the area. He and his husband, Peter Cipriano, still do this work to engage the neighborhood and keep the pond clean.
Alinsug said that during his campaigning and door knocking, he had heard some disparaging remarks regarding his being an immigrant and not growing up in Lynn.
“Lynn is a place of diversity with people that come from different cultures and different backgrounds,” he said. “I might have not lived here my whole life, but this is my home now.”
If elected, Alinsug says he hopes to work to improve the neighborhoods in his ward
while engaging with residents to push for what is best for them.
This includes working with city and state officials to help create more affordable housing for seniors, veterans, lower-income residents and municipal employees; empowering the youth, senior citizens and others to help each of them achieve his or her fullest potential; and working toward the objective of not raising property taxes in the near future.
Alinsug said he will conduct semiannual ward meetings to discuss concerns and update constituents about current city projects, adding that he hopes to hire a volunteer intern to interact with City Hall as a liaison officer for Ward 3.
Regarding events in his ward, Alinsug said he plans to promote and participate in regular Ward 3 cleanups and provide regular updates to constituents through newsletters and social media outlets.
To improve the quality of the ward, Alinsug said he will work toward the rehabilitation of Kiley Playground, Clark Street Playground, Goldfish Pond and other areas in need.
In an effort to improve safety, Alinsug said he also has plans to incorporate better street lighting, clear blocked traffic signage, and improve street maintenance.
Longtime friend Eileen Duff, who serves on the Governor’s council, said Lynn has a big spot in her heart, but “Coco has a bigger one.”
“To have someone of his caliber, who comes not from just a family of service, he has dedicated his whole life to service and coming from contribution,” Duff said. “People like Coco are exactly who we need stepping up right now.”
Ward 3 resident Margot Abels said she is honored to endorse Alinsug and that it is the first time in a long time that she has felt entirely confident about a candidate.
“Coco is a mover and a shaker,” Abels said. “He embodies contradictions of the best kind. He is deeply thoughtful and he makes things happen. He listens and he problem solves. He is caring and he’s fierce. He takes charge and he delegates.”
Abels said Alinsug is the perfect person to lead Ward 3, adding it is “striking how much he loves this country, and his chosen city.”
Alinsug faces a challenge from George Meimeteas, who was defeated by Cyr in the Ward 3 race two years ago.
SEE ARTICLE HERE
Ward 3 Candidate Coco Alinsug Will Hold Campaign Kickoff June 25
6/17/21 — THE LYNN JOURNAL
Constantino “Coco” Alinsug, candidate for the Ward 3 seat on the Lynn City Council, will kick off his campaign at a fundraising event on June 25 at Christopher’s Café, 2 Lewis St. Alinsug has been a resident of Lynn for 18 years. He was born and raised in the Philippines and came to the United States 25 years ago. Alinsug’s father, Ember Alinsug, was a councilor and vice mayor in the Philippines, having served in the same political party as world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao, who is now a senator in the Philippines and a potential candidate for President.
Alinsug’s grandparents also served as city councillors in the Philippines. “When I left the Philippines, my dad was very sad because nobody would follow in his footsteps,” said Alinsug. “Now I can proudly say that I am following in their footsteps but it’s halfway around the world in my new home so they’re very happy that I made that decision. My parents [Ember and Esther Alinsug] are regular visitors to Lynn.” An Asian Studies major and an international scholar, Alinsug, 49, is fluent in six languages and conversational in two other languages.
READ MORE HERE!
Move Forward, Break Through Barriers, Appreciate Where You Came From with Coco Alinsug
5/28/21 — CREATIVE NORTH SHORE
Coco Alinsug (he/him) is a Lynn resident, Candidate for City Councilor, Ward 3 in Lynn – the first Filipino-American to run for City Councilor in New England, and a proud member of the North Shore LGBTQ+ community.
Abigail Rosario Appointed Youth Campaign Manager
ANNOUNCEMENT: The Coco Alinsug for Ward 3 City Councilor COMMITTEE is proud to announce that Abigail Rosario has been appointed as our Youth Campaign Manager. Abigail is 17 years old and is currently a Junior at PCSSII and has been a resident in Lynn’s Ward 3 for the last 10 years. Abigail has numerous experiences with campaigns such as the presidential election to the Georgia runoffs, as well as campaigning for various advocacies like climate justice and housing within Massachusetts. This is Abigail's first time ever having a major role in a local election, and she is excited to embark on this journey with us. "Coco is
exactly what the people of Lynn need right now, through this experience I hope I will be able to learn from Coco and the rest of my team, and be able to make Lynn a stronger community that we know it is," said Abigail. She will work closely with the team to drum roll the youth to take part not only with Coco's campaign but in Lynn's general election landscape, "We are the future of this city, and would like my fellow youth to really get involve in local politics and decisions" Abigail added. There will be more announcements of designated positions of this campaign, but for now, please help me welcome Abigail to our team!
Coco Profiled as One of Five prominent Asian Americans in the Boston area on their American identity
5/21/21 — NBC BOSTON CHANNEL 10
For AAPI Heritage Month, NBC10 Boston and NECN asked five prominent Asian Americans in the Boston area to reflect on stereotypes they’ve faced
About two-thirds of all Asians, or 64%, report being asked “where are you from” with the person assuming they were not from the U.S., according to a recent survey by AAPI Data and SurveyMonkey. For Coco Alinsug, an LGBT advocate and Fenway Health representative, it feels natural to tell people he’s from the Philippines because he was born there.
That was particularly true, he said, when he first moved to Los Angeles, which had the nation’s largest Flipino population in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.
“Maybe because I was born and raised in a different culture, that moving to another country, I thought you just had to tighten your belt and not complain,” Alinsug said. “I just assimilated. I just basically blended easily.”
NEW AMERICAN LEADERS ACTION FUND ENDORSES COCO
The New American Leaders Action Fund (NALAF) has included Coco in their 2021 endorsements! Coco was listed with nine change-making candidates from Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio who are public health advocates, LGBTQ leaders, immigrant justice activists, teachers, and public servants. NALAF chose them because they will stand up for their communities and ensure a more inclusive democracy.
Here's what they write about Coco:
Coco Alinsug for Ward 3 Lynn Councilor is a first generation Filipino American, New American Leaders alum, and social justice advocate who embodies a community- and immigrant-centered approach.
If Coco wins, he'll be the first Filipino American elected in Massachusetts and the first out LGBTQ Councilmember in Lynn!
ALEX VUSKOVIC JOINS THE COCO ALINSUG CAMPAIGN
ANNOUNCEMENT: The Coco Alinsug for Ward 3 City Councilor COMMITTEE is proud to announce that Alex Vuskovic is the General Consultant of our campaign. Alex's role includes the general campaign management strategy, fundraising, messaging, advising on organizing, help structure a team, roles, and positions, among others.
From several stints as an organizer to managing multi-million dollar campaigns, Alex Vuskovic has spent the last seven years working on some of the most competitive races all over the country.
Before going into consulting, Alex managed competitive races in North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and Massachusetts, overseeing everything from fundraising, coalition building, communications to budgeting, while also hiring and managing dozens of staff members.
Most recently in 2020, Alex managed Becky Grossman’s campaign for Congress in MA-04, a bruising nine-way Democratic primary in the Boston suburbs.
In 2018, Alex managed a top “Red-to-Blue” house race in Tampa Bay, which
garnered national attention for its outside spending and was called one of the “the most competitive [races] in the nation".
Prior to managing, Alex was the Regional Organizing Director in Mecklenburg County for the North Carolina Democratic Party. In that role, he oversaw a team of 15 organizers that flipped 28 precincts to Democrats in the Charlotte suburbs, playing a small part in electing Roy Cooper to Governor in one of the closest Governor’s races of 2016. In 2015, Alex was part of the campaign for dark horse presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, and in 2014 was a field organizer for the successful re-election of Congresswoman Annie Kuster in New Hampshire.
Now, Alex focuses his efforts on helping good candidates and causes get their campaigns doing. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, he currently resides in Massachusetts. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley (Go Bears!) in 2014 and has been on the road ever since.
There will be more announcements of designated positions of this campaign, but for now, please help me welcome Alex to our team!
NEW CANDIDATES EMERGE FOR LYNN CITY COUNCIL, SCHOOL COMMITTEE SEATS
3/29/21 — THE LYNN ITEM
New candidates for ward councilor positions included Coco Alinsug for Ward 3, a seat which is currently held by mayoral candidate and City Council President Cyr, and Natasha Megie-Maddrey for Ward 4, currently held by Richard Colucci, who is running for re-election. Megie-Maddrey also challenged Colucci for the seat two years ago, but lost.
Alinsug, born in the Philippines to a family of politicians, is a Ward 3 affirmative action officer and an elected Democratic State Committeeman representing Lynn and Essex County. Alinsug’s father, a former councilor and vice mayor of Consolacion, which is the biggest town in the province of Cebu, Philippines, told him that he hoped his son would follow in his political footsteps, Alinsug said.
“I am proud to now be able to tell my dad that his son is continuing the family legacy of service,” he said. “I might not be in the Philippines now, but I am continuing that legacy in a country halfway around the world — a country I now call home. My environment has changed, but my heart and dedication to serve has not. I inherited this dedication from my dad, my grandmother, and my forefathers who paved the way for me to enter politics.”
Alinsug is on the board of directors for the Goldfish Pond Association, a scholar to an Asian Scholarship Program, and an organizer of various events for the Filipino and AAPI communities in Massachusetts.