After years spent advocating for articles at Town Meeting and serving on town committees, Tommy Vitolo has set his sights on Beacon Hill.
Following 18 years in the House, state Rep. Frank Smizik, D-Brookline, will not seek re-election when his term ends in January 2019.
On Dec. 26, Vitolo announced his candidacy for Smizik’s seat.
“I’ve been Frank’s treasurer for a number of years and I’ve gotten to know him and learn about the position a little bit,” said Vitolo. “And learn about the importance of a strong voice for Brookline and for progressive views.”
Advocating for progressive bills that address issues of equality and civil rights will be the cornerstone of Vitolo’s campaign. He plans to pick up Smizik’s legacy as a champion for the environment, education and housing, and carry it forward.
“I’m passionate about these issues, expanding opportunity, helping folks and being effective about pushing things forward at the state level,” said Vitolo.
Having grown up in a middle class family in Connecticut, Vitolo’s passion for social justice stems from personal experience. When he was in the seventh grade, his family lost their home to bankruptcy.
“I very much know the real challenges families face,” he said.
Outside of his job working on energy, economic, and environmental topics for a research and consulting firm, Vitolo’s work on Brookline issues has ranged from tobacco control and safe schools, to clean energy and transportation.
He points to his years serving in Brookline government, serving on committees and as a Precinct 6 Town Meeting member, as laying a groundwork of necessary experience.
A Brookline resident of 15 years, Vitolo’s work in town has focused on what he described as quality of life issues, like bringing the Complete Streets initiative to town. A state initiative, Complete Streets improves accessibility and safety of town streets and sidewalks for all modes of transportation.
It is a focus on issues like transportation that are essential for Brookline, Vitolo said.
“Housing, transportation and public education are key issues facing Brookline where the state is an important partner in finding solutions that are effective and fair,” he said.