You Can Build Character And Affordable Housing

children of the tenements Want to run for public office? Plan your childhood carefully. It must involve struggle and hunger and only one personal possession, bootstraps. Beating the odds and fighting your way out of a middle class suburb just won’t cut it — wrong story. I’ve already complained in this space about the search for the ‘right’ narrative that seems to preoccupy reporters and commentators these days — being raised in moderately comfortable circumstances by educated parents just isn’t extreme enough. And apparently in the democratic scrum for the First Congressional District seat* we have ourselves a winner. In discussing Anthony Gemma’s newly announced candidacy, Ian Donnis of WRNI perpetuates this routine, if not actually endorsing its validity.

For starters, he’s got an appealing personal story: one of nine children who grew up in a tenement and went on to help run a successful family business before launching another enterprise and leading a philanthropic foundation.

I hate to call out Donnis of all people (he is always worth reading and knows this state inside out) particularly since I first noticed this at some of the early Segal events from other reporters. But why exactly is having eight siblings appealing, or illuminating? Also, a scrappy rise out of poverty may say great things about one’s character, but not necessarily. Thing is, you can’t help it if you weren’t born in a tenement. It should be way down the list of things we ask of candidates.

*Dose honcho David Segal is also running in the CD1 democratic primary, along with David Cicilline and William Lynch.

1 thought on “You Can Build Character And Affordable Housing”

    I went to school with his sister at Nelson Street (R. F. Kennedy) and lived four streets away from them in Elmhurst. We were middle class, maybe upper middle class, so many of our class mates had beach houses.
    I guess he moved to Elmhurst when he was much older.

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