Meet Boston mayoral candidate Dan Conley

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August 16, 2013, 6:31 pm
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(NECN: Alison King) - Dan Conley lives in West Roxbury, but as he campaigns for Mayor, he's trying to reach every Boston neighborhood - and that includes East Boston, one of the only neighborhoods without a homegrown candidate - an opportunity not lost on Conley.

Conley held a news conference at East Boston's Lo Presti Park to highlight what he would do to improve the neighborhood.

Conley says as mayor, he would move the Tunnel toll plazas onto Logan airport property so that East Boston, a largely poor, immigrant community, isn't a $3.50 ride away.

As Suffolk County District Attorney, Conley is often described as the "law and order candidate," but it's not the reason why he says he chose the profession.

"I really felt that I was drawn to the law by a desire to speak to people who were, you know, less fortunate than me," he says.

Growing up in working class Hyde Park, Conley says his family didn't know any lawyers. His father worked for the phone company, his mother raised the seven children.

Dan, the oldest, shared a bedroom with his three brothers.

"We didn't all have a dresser. We had a drawer in a dresser," he joked.

After graduating from Catholic Memorial High School, Stonehill College, then Suffolk University Law School, it wasn't long before he landed a job with the Suffolk County District Attorney's office.

"Almost immediately, I realized I fell in love with the work," he says.

It was about this time that Conley discovered another passion: Politics.

His mentor? A City Council candidate named Tom Menino - Conley helped to run Menino's first city council race.

"I really said to myself probably at that point, some day this might be something that I'd be interested in doing," Conley says.

The chance came in 1993, when Conley won Mayor Menino's open council seat.

Conley describes one of his proudest moments on the council: Casting the deciding vote in 1996 that gave employment and health care benefits to domestic partners - at the time a very controversial issue.

"This was a matter of basic fairness, basic equity, a matter of civil rights," he says.

In 2002, Conley was elected Suffolk County D-A - a job he's held ever since.

Asked to list highlights of his tenure, Conley doesn't mention the high profile murder or gang violence cases. He talks about his work on a domestic violence,  children's advocacy and violence prevention in the schools.

Tags: Boston, Alison King, Dan Conley, suffolk county district attorney, Boston mayoral race
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