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Hyde Park Bulletin: "Consalvo ready to 'hit the ground running'"

MAY 7. 2020

Mary Ellen Gambon

Hyde Park resident Rob Consalvoʼs life has been steeped in public service. He has worked in all three levels of government after graduating from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio with a degree in Political Science.

As he pursues the State Representative seat for the 14th Suffolk District held by his former boss, Rep. Angelo Scaccia, he said his experience over nearly three decades has prepared him to immediately tackle the needs of Hyde Park, Readville, Roslindale and the sliver of West Roxbury the district encompasses.

“I am very excited to be a candidate,” Consalvo said. “I was able to very creatively and very safely get 250 signatures in less than two weeks.”

Although he has been active in politics his entire adult life, Consalvo never has referred to himself as a politician.“I have always considered myself as a public servant,” he explained. “Public service is the most important profession you can have. I am dedicated to every corner of the district.”

He added that he had al- ready called 1,000 people, and planned to be on the phone for six hours that day.

“Because of COVID-19, I have had to change my campaign strategy,” he said. “I donʼt think Iʼll ever be able to go out and shake hands again. Iʼll just have to change to elbow bumps.

“But more importantly, in these phone calls, I want to see how people are doing and wish them well,” Consalvo continued. “I am hearing from neighbors about what they want to see in the district.”

In the post-COVID-19 world, Consalvo said he has learned one thing from the residents he has polled – experience counts. He believes that is a factor that will vault him over any challenger.

“I really strongly believe that I can get the job done beginning on Day One,” he said. “I have a proven track record where I have made a difference on all levels of government. In this race, I bring a wealth of experience as well as passion.”

Consalvo began his career working for U. S. Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy, first as an intern and later as a staff assistant and press assistant in both the Washington, DC and Boston offices. He then served as a Legislative Aide to Scaccia in the 1990s.

In 2002, Consalvo won a special election to become the District 5 City Councilor, where he represented Hyde Park, Readville, Mattapan and Roslindale until 2013. He then became Deputy Director of the Cityʼs Boston Home Center, where he was instrumental in helping seniors keep their homes and prevent foreclosures. From 2014 to 2017, Consalvo has worked for the Boston Public Schools as a Senior Adviser to the Superintendent. From 2017 to the present, he has served as the Chief of Staff in the Office of the BPS Superintendent, where he oversees School Committee relations and intergovernmental relations, among other roles. In his private life, he coaches little league baseball and basketball.

Consalvo said he feels his strengths are his political acumen and his life-long knowledge of the district. He has authored legislation and chaired the City Councilʼs Ways and Means Committee, which oversees the budget.

“I can work with a very close level of familiarity with officials across sections of government and across communities,” he said. “I can hit the ground running. I know every street, block by block.”

Consalvo promises to be widely accessible to the public. He plans to have a district office, as he did when he was a councilor. He also will have social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook and an emailed newsletter.

“What makes the 14th Suffolk District special is its diversity, and we should celebrate that diversity,” he said. “I wanted to get into this race, even though I love my current job, because I saw an opportunity to make this district work for all of its residents.”

He added that, as a Boston City Councilor, District 5 was a super-majority district of color, and has become even more so. In his other jobs, Consalvo has worked to improve access to opportunities for seniors and people with disabilities for housing opportunities as well as improve the educational advancement of Bostonʼs public school students.

“I really understand the breadth and depth of the issues facing the district,” Consalvo said. “I have lived in Hyde Park all my life. All three of my children attend the Boston Public Schools. I donʼt just talk the talk. I walk the walk.” One of his major goals is to create a master plan for development, similar to South Boston and East Boston.

“People are building out here because they have discovered what we already know,” he said. “There are some wonderful and beautiful places in our district.”

Similarly, Consalvo wants to work with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to create a master plan to protect Hyde Parkʼs open space.

Other key issues Consalvo will address in the coming weeks include housing; re- sources for seniors; education; transportation; economic opportunities; and the opioid crisis.

“I intend to be a problem solver,” he said. “I will have a laser-like focus on the issues.”

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