Author: Laura Plummer
Thirty-year-old Gerly Adrien clinched one of the five Councilor At-Large seats in last Tuesday’s election. In an unexpected twist, she took home more votes than the other four winners, incumbent Councilors John Hanlon, Michael Marchese, Wayne Matewsky and Peter Napolitano. Her win also knocked out incumbent Council President Richard Dell Isola, Jr. and Councilor Stephen Simonelli.
Adrien told the Independent she was both thankful for, and surprised by, the win – adding that topping the field was a sign of changing times in Everett.
“[The people] want someone different,” she said. “Most of the [councilors] have been there for five terms.”
Adrien credited a robust campaign strategy and dedicated community outreach for her unlikely ticket-topping victory.
“Knocking on doors was crucially important to me,” she said. “I kept showing up two or three times and telling [people] that I wanted to do this.
“These were not five-minute conversations,” she continued. “I constantly would have 30- to 40-minute conversations with them. They would tell me how long they’d lived in Everett and what they wanted to change.”
Adrien said that a common desire among the residents she spoke to was having a councilor who would listen to them. Specifically, she said residents were unsatisfied with the structure and organization of City Hall services, and felt that the City was entering into too many deals without their input.
On Election Day, when rain threatened her door-to-door recruitment efforts, Adrien and her supporters took to their phones to encourage residents to get out and vote.
Adrien was first inspired to run for elected office when she was 10 years old.
“I used to read the newspapers every week,” she said. “I’d always read about elected officials like Dave Ragucci, John Hanlon and Carlo DeMaria. One day I decided I would be one of them.”
Adrien previously ran for state representative in both 2016 and 2018, the latter of which she lost by only a handful of votes.
Adrien revealed that Councilor Michael Marchese was a motivating force behind her decision to run for City Council, which came as quite a surprise due to the fact that they ran against one another in the at-large race.
“He started messaging me in January and he messaged me all the way until June,” she said.
Adrien reported that she was also in frequent communication with Ward 6 Councilor Michael McLaughlin.
In the coming months, Adrien plans to shadow Councilor Marchese and Councilor Fred Capone to familiarize herself with the duties, responsibilities and meeting structure of City Council. She is also eager to hit the streets and begin knocking on doors again.
“I am going to be on the ground two or three times a week, speaking to the people and seeing what they want,” she said.
As a City Councilor, Adrien plans to hit the ground running. She wants to start implementing a number of goals that she hinged her campaign on. These include supporting local economic growth, updating City policies and plans, and improving public health and safety. Her vision also emphasizes youth development and the arts.
Adrien is looking forward to taking her place on what is perhaps the most diverse City Council in Everett history.
“It should be exciting and fun,” she said. “I’m really excited to be the first Haitian-American black woman on the Council.”