JAMAICA PLAIN (CBS) – Alex Gray is not your average politician.
He does bring a political pedigree, having served in the administrations of former Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. And he has a platform and a fundraising effort.
But he's also blind – and running for an at-large seat on the Boston City Council.
"For people with disabilities, I think it's time," he told WBZ-TV in his first television interview of the campaign season.
Gray, who lives in Jamaica Plain with his wife, started going blind when he was 8 from a genetic condition and lost his sight by 11. He still managed to graduate from Boston College and then Suffolk Law before joining the Patrick administration, and now the Walsh administration.
And he is running on a record.
"Under Mayor Walsh, we helped to start Boston's first tuition-free community college plan, and under Governor Patrick, I helped to launch the Fairmount Line, so I know I could start on Day 1," Gray says.
But he knows his candidacy is about much more than policy objectives. If elected, Gray would become the first blind city councilor in Boston's history, and the only blind elected official in the state.
"I really want to be the person that brings disability to the table where decisions are made, and as somebody who's blind I think I can bring that lived experience," he said.
And his campaign has caught fire. He broke an early fundraising record for a candidate for the city council, raising $39,206 with 334 donations from this fall through Dec. 31, according to his campaign.
His top priorities if he wins the election in November will be helping the city recover from the pandemic and making Boston more accessible for people with disabilities. And while he says the pandemic has presented some challenges for a blind candidate (occasionally leaving his Zoom on "mute," for instance), he believes his disability has taught him a valuable skill for a politician: listening.
"I think it's made me a better person, a better friend, better family member, and so I think I can bring that expert ability to listen to the council as well."
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