Maria Dolorico, the Boston mom behind the candidates

Hoping for a Mayor by the name of Tito Jackson

Maria Dolorico, Maria Dee as she is known on facebook, became a social media friend of mine during the Tito Jackson Boston mayoral campaign. Dolorico is a fierce supporter of public education in the bay state and a Boston Public Schools watchdog, she’s also a valuable supporter to have in a campaign. Tito didn’t win but the next campaign Dolorico supported defeated a long time incumbent.

My chat with Dolorico discussing the recent runs, the future, and why it’s important to volunteer for local campaigns.

Why did you decide to get involved in local campaigns?

“The first campaign I got involved with was Question 2 in 2016, which was concerned with lifting the cap on charter schools. My involvement was teeny. I spent a few afternoons phone banking, did a lot of posting on social media in order to communicate with people directly, and on election day I staffed a polling station. Until then, I had always been satisfied to read some editorials and chat with friends about election issues -- but at some point I understood that No On 2 was threatened  and that *my* vote wasn’t enough; I needed to actively convince people to vote no.”

You volunteered for Tito Jackson for Mayor and then won supporting Jon Santiago for State Rep?

“Yes, Tito Jackson’s mayoral campaign and Jon Santiago’s campaign for State Rep. On Tito’s campaign I was the volunteer who pretty much never went home, the one willing to do just about anything from phone banking to social media to cleaning the bathroom in the campaign office. In between, I tried to be a presence at as many of Tito’s public appearances as possible, spoke to the media as I could, and supported the campaign leaders as much as they needed.

On Jon’s campaign I worked on communications (messaging, social media, email, press releases), scheduling, and fundraising. I staffed Jon for his events and public appearances, supporting him directly as he needed.”

What do you think about the debate over having an elected Boston School Committee?   

“I am fully in support of an elected school committee, whether it is hybrid or entirely elected. As a BPS parent, I have felt an increasing sense of despair regarding BPS as a system. While I do believe that children are receiving excellent educations from devoted educators at individual schools, the central administration continues to frustrate parents and teachers with byzantine processes, unilateral decisions, and feigned empathy. They are unobstructed by the school committee at the behest of the Mayor.”

Your post on facebook, "I did not get accepted into the Emerge MA class of 2019. Thanks for all the encouragement! I am proud to have applied and to have submitted strong recommendations from Former City Councilor Tito Jackson and Jon Santiago, Rep-elect of the 9th Suffolk MA district.

Onward to what’s next in Boston and state politics!"

Are you planning on running for office if so what offices are you considering? How did it feel to get recommended by Tito and Santiago?

“That I could reach out to both Tito and Jon, confident that they would give me glowing recommendations, is a source of pride and accomplishment for me. They are both leaders whose deep commitments to social justice have honed and cultivated my own, and I will keep working towards those goals. I do not have an active plan to run for office at this moment; however I would run for school committee were it to change its structure. I would consider running for 9th Suffolk State Rep in the future or D7 City Council. I feel like one office really has the power to effect change via policy and legislation, and the other depends on genuine and deep advocacy for direct constituent needs and services.”

This last election cycle locally was sort of surprising the incumbents that lost, what campaigns were you most proud of?

“All of them! I’ve become a bit cynical since Trump took office and Tito lost;  that surge feeling you get in your chest when you listen to your candidate speak so powerfully unfortunately no longer translates to a win. But I supported, in one way or another, Rachael Rollins, Ayanna Pressley, Nika Elugardo, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (NY Rep) and Debbie Murcasel Powell (Florida Rep) -- all women of color and/or immigrants who align human rights, dignity, and justice with policy. I also supported Gina Ortiz Jones, a fellow Filipina American who ran for US Rep in TX. I guess it wasn’t her time, but it will be one day.”

You had supported Tito Jackson for Mayor against the incumbent Martin Walsh, why did you choose Tito? And how do you feel the Mayor is doing on schools, public safety, housing and transportation? Do you expect to see a challenger to him in the next election? And if so, any candidates you think may be gearing up for it? Or any you would like to see challenge him?

“I was most moved by Tito during No On 2. I crossed my fingers that he would run for mayor. I would love to see someone challenge Mayor Walsh in the next election cycle, someone who believes in the Boston I want to see that is not only prosperous but just. I was hoping Ayanna Pressley would run, but she certainly has found her role; I will always hope for a mayor by the name of Tito Jackson.”

You also are a consultant and coach? Tell us about that.

“In my day job, I am in private practice as a perinatal mental health counselor and life coach. I support emotional wellness for fertility, pregnancy, postpartum, and parenthood, primarily through talk therapy, goal setting, and intentional behavioral change.”

Anything else you want to make the world aware of?

“Please do more than vote! Get involved in a candidate or an issue campaign, and give to it in a way that costs you something -- your time, your sweat, or a financial amount that you will truly feel. Democracy is precious and depends on invested people who continually want more -- and not just more for themselves, but more for the most voiceless. What privilege would you sacrifice in order to lift someone else up?”