By Mario Teran
I have known Felix G. Arroyo since he was an organizer for the SEIU. I first met him in 2009 when he came to a class at the Commonwealth Seminar, a program co-founded by Joel Barrera from the MAPC and former Senator Jarrett Barros.
During the class, he spoke about his experience as an organizer for SEIU Local 615, which represents janitors and security guards. Felix talked about how individually, one person can be perceived to have little power, but by bringing people together, you can create a powerful voice. This idea proved to be true as Felix and SEIU 615 worked for and were able to win health insurance for their workers.
I asked him about using that concept to help advocate for the rights of all Latinos, and he agreed, that by coming together, Latinos have a stronger voice in the political process. The drive and passion for the community that characterizes Felix are still with him today as he embarks on his run for Mayor of Boston.
As a stronger supporter for his two campaigns for City Council At-Large, I have watched him mature as a politician over that time span. Extremely strategic and with a complete understanding of the political process, Felix is able to navigate whatever current political climate exist and maximize the opportunities to ensure that the best interests of his constituents are represented.
He advocated strongly against the closing of Boston Public Library. He organized residents of Ward 19 (Jamaica Plain and Roslindale) and urged them to show up for redistricting meetings so that their political boundaries would be kept intact.
He also proposed legislation that the City of Boston invest only in banks that invest in Boston to promote economic development, job creation, and home ownership in the city.
When the State of Arizona started rolling out its anti-immigrant Laws, Felix was a strong supporter of having the City of Boston stop doing business with the State of Arizona.
Last September, I had the honor of being a delegate to the 2012 Democratic Convention. One of the great things of being a delegate to the DNC is that you get a chance to sit down and engage with politicians in a more laid back setting and get to know them personally.
During one afternoon, Felix and I shared ideas about what it takes to create community change, the kind of support politicians need from the community, and his personal stories of how he advocated on behalf of immigrant families as an organizer at SEIU to elected officials such as Governor Deval Patrick and President Barack Obama.
The main take away from this experience is that Felix has tremendous vision of great sincerity, and that his positions are the same when the cameras and lights are off.
People should know that there is more to Felix than being the first Latino Mayor; that Felix is a “son” of Boston and therefore, wants to give back to the city that he very much loves.