Long-time community advocate and leader, Kristen Mobilia of the Fenway, is taking a bold step into local politics and running against the popular City Councilor Josh Zakim for District 8.
“It wasn’t something I planned on doing and it wasn’t part of my master plan,” said Mobilia.
But, the results of the recent national election combined with wanting to take her volunteering to a full-time basis compelled Mobilia to take the leap and run for District 8.
“I was thinking why am I not doing this full-time, I am, but not really fully.”
Mobilia has been a member for over 15 years of the historic Fenway Garden Society, where she has lead the stewardship of seven-acres of historic parkland, including 500 garden plots.
Her time there also included six years of being a board member of which three of those years she served as president.
At the Fenway Victory Gardens, she orchestrates seasonal meetings for memberships of 500 gardeners, resolves gardener issues, facilitates positive relationships between members of the non-profit and manages situations like safety and security with drug related problems to scheduling trash pick-ups.
“There are a lot of city issues that emerge within that area,” said Mobilia. “With 500 or so gardeners – there’s a lot going on. Even beyond that, there are a lot of different public park challenges and socioeconomic angles as well. People give what they can…but it is important that everyone has access.”
With managing a mini city already, Mobilia believes she can bring that same experience to a slightly larger area.
When Mobilia started to look around at her neighborhood it became clear that there isn’t a clear connection between what is happening on the grounds of the neighborhoods and the City government.
Mobilia hopes to tackle issues such as getting rid of a neglected bike or fixing up forgotten streets, which she said may seem mundane but can have a real impact on people’s day-to-day quality of life.
“It’s about getting back to the basics,” said Mobilia. “There are various issues in the district that I found getting signatures, which I think every candidate should have to do and not every candidate does – go on the street and try to flag people down – it’s hard but once you get those people they do engage and you have these conservations.”
Mobilia said after you have these talks you find out what is going on and often times it’s about trash and rodent problems.
“It is really important to the daily regular life,” said Mobilia. “That is just as heavy
as a burden as other things that may seem heavier or high priority.”
She pointed to the Back Bay’s Alley Rally where residents get together to clean up the often-ignored alleyways in the neighborhood.
Mobilia said it is the perfect example of where you don’t even need the government’s help, plus it is a great way to meet your neighbors.
“I come from a background where you roll up your sleeves – I’m literally digging holes with other gardeners and you get muddy,” said Mobilia. “But it is just the basics of helping and giving someone a hand. How do we do that more?”
She continued, “It is the little things that make a difference.”
Mobilia has over 20 years of executive experience in both Finance and Human Resources and currently is the VP of Finance and Administration at VideoLink, LLC a Newton based company that creates videos for corporate clients.
She earned a BA in Economic and Business from Colby College and an MBA from Northeastern University.
Last election’s District 8 race, that includes the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Kenmore Square, Mission Hill, Audubon Circle and the West End, was uncontested.
Mobilia believes that residents deserve a choice and should become part of the conversation on what they would like to see get done in their neighborhoods.
And now she said, “it’s all about knocking on the doors.”
Mobilia has received enough signatures to be on the ballot for the November 7th election. You can see Kristen and her team as she walks or rides her bike through the neighborhoods each week.
“I think we need to get back to basics. We have to build up and engage neighborhoods across the district and there are fantastic people who are very, very engaged but the pool is small,” said Mobilia. “But we need to make sure those folks have more support and that we give folks who want to engage more guidance.”
There will not be a preliminary election on September 26 for the District 8 Boston City Council seat. The upcoming election will take place on November 7.