John R. Connolly was first elected to an At-Large (Citywide) seat on the Boston City Council in November 2007 and he is currently serving his second term.
As your City Councilor, John works every day to make Boston a livable, affordable, and safe city for all Bostonians. John believes Boston’s future hinges on a commitment to improving our schools and to making Boston the greenest city in the world.
John is proud to serve as Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Education and Vice Chair of the Committee on Environment and Health. A former middle school teacher, John has always been a strong voice for improving Boston Public Schools. In particular, John is focused on closing the achievement gap, providing universal afterschool programs for every student, fostering parental involvement, and increasing community-based learning models which link schools with community centers, libraries, and health centers to create a healthy and supportive learning environment for every child.
In September 2010, John held a first-of-its-kind eight hour City Council Education hearing where more than 70 parents, students, and other interested parties testified about their priorities for the next contract between the Boston Public Schools and the Boston Teachers Union. In October 2008, John was the lead sponsor of parental accountability truancy legislation aimed at helping chronically absent students who stand the highest likelihood to drop out and ultimately face incarceration, addiction, and limited job opportunities. The Boston Globe praised John’s proposal noting that he was addressing a problem whose consequences are “too dire to ignore.” John frequently visits schools around the City and hosts students at City Hall.
As Vice-Chair of the Committee on Environment and Health, John has been a leading voice on the Council for environmental justice and working to make Boston the greenest and healthiest city in the world. During his first term, John chaired the committee and led hearings aimed at raising awareness of the potential environmental and health risks posed by Bisphenol A, a chemical used to make baby bottles and other hard plastics. John also filed legislation on issues such as local strategies to combat climate change, the safe usage and disposal of energy-efficient CFL light bulbs, building a bike-share program in Boston, and the needs and challenges facing autistic children and their families in Boston. John was also proud to serve on Boston's Climate Action Leadership Committee, a task force that was charged with setting goals for community-wide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The task force report was sent to the Mayor on Earth Day 2010 and the City of Boston has already begun implementing the committee's recommendations.
In January 2009, John was appointed Chair of the Special Committee on a Livable Boston, a committee with a mission to examine the impact of the recession on Bostonians and how the City can foster long-term investment by current and future residents. The Special Committee held hearings in neighborhoods around Boston, hearing from residents about what makes their neighborhoods livable, affordable and safe.
John is married to Meg Kassakian Connolly. John and Meg have two children, Clare born in April 2008, and Teddy, born in September 2009. A lifelong Bostonian, John grew up in Roslindale, and he and Meg are raising their family in West Roxbury. Meg is a former social worker and current doctoral student studying counseling psychology at Boston College. Meg has worked with Boston Public High School students as part of Boston College’s Tools for Tomorrow program that helps students stay on a path toward college.
After graduating college, John taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade at-risk Latino youth at the Nativity Mission School in New York City from 1995-1997. John also ran Nativity Mission’s summer academic program. In 1998, John returned to Boston and taught sixth grade at the Boston Renaissance Charter School where John had the honor of teaching students and working with parents from every neighborhood in Boston.
An attorney since 2001, John has made pro-bono work a cornerstone of his legal practice, providing free services to numerous community-based organizations including Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD); The Teachers’ Loft, a resource center for public schools teachers; Humanitarian International Mission, a Boston based non-profit aimed at promoting oral health in the Latino community; and the PrideLights Foundation, a South End-based gay rights organization that is now part of the AIDS Action Committee.
John currently serves on the board of directors for Meridian Academy, a parent-founded alternative middle school in Roslindale; the Board of Visitors for College Bound Dorchester; and is a Member of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program-DMH Team-Integrated Care Project Community Advisory Group.
John received his A.B. from Harvard University and his J.D. from Boston College Law School. John is also a graduate of The Roxbury Latin School.