By Melissa Moore-Randall
Valentino Capobianco hopes his lifelong commitment to civic engagement will give him the boost needed to be elected to the 19th Suffolk District Representative seat of former Speaker Robert DeLeo.
A Winthrop resident and member of the Winthrop School Committee, Capobianco sees both his Winthrop roots as making him the man he is today and the influence of his parents and grandfather. “My experiences growing up in Winthrop definitely made me the man I am today. My mother, a registered nurse who specializes in substance abuse treatment, instilled in me compassion for people going through a difficult time in their lives and a willingness to lend a hand and help them get back on their feet. My father, a state employee, taught me the importance of active civic engagement in my community. Growing up, I’m pretty sure I volunteered on every campaign possible in Winthrop. Some of my earliest memories are holding signs early in the morning, talking to voters, and making sure people got to the polls and cast their ballot. These lessons are definitely what led me to work in State Government and run for positions on the Winthrop School Committee and Democratic State Committee – both of which I still hold to this day. My Grandfather, “Noni”, was without question the biggest influence in my life aside from my parents. He was an immigrant to this country, a victim of child labor, and somebody who didn’t have the opportunity to get an education. Through his dogged persistence and perseverance through the worst kinds of adversity, he was able to build a successful small business and a better life for his family that followed. Noni’s most valuable lesson wasn’t about hard work though, it was about standing up for what’s right and always fighting for the underdog.”
Capobiano is currently campaigning full time for Speaker DeLeo’s seat which was vacated last month. However, his work as a Winthrop School Committee member, Legislative Aide and Chief of Staff to Senator Feeney have led him to understand the importance of serving his constituents. “I’m very proud of my work with Senator Feeney. I went from a friend and volunteer on his first campaign all the way to becoming his Chief of Staff. I worked on everything from helping constituents file unemployment claims to working directly with labor unions. I fundamentally believe that the most important duty of a State Representative is to serve their constituents. To me, that means that whenever a constituent calls it’s my job to take the call, listen to the concern, and then do everything I can to resolve the issue. It is my promise to you that I will be an open, honest, and accessible State Representative just as I was a Legislative Aide, School Committee Member, and Chief of Staff. I ran for Winthrop School Committee to give back to the community. I am a proud product of Winthrop Public Schools, and I wanted to make sure that kids have access to a world-class public education. I am proud of the work that we have been able to do during my time on the School Committee – everything from raising teacher salaries while avoiding layoffs to our efforts to combat bullying to funding the extracurricular activities that are definitive experiences for so many students.”
Capobianco’s decision to run for Speaker DeLeo’s seat was based on what he sees as high stakes for the Revere and Winthrop communities. “I decided to run for Speaker DeLeo’s seat because the stakes couldn’t be higher for our communities. We have seen an all out assault on our values over the past four years, and the COVID outbreak has put many working families and small businesses on the brink of collapse. We must work to keep workers and small businesses on their feet as we ride out this pandemic, we need to ensure that every student in our public schools gets an exceptional education that prepares them for the 21st century, and we have to make sure that every person has access to quality, affordable healthcare. Not only will I focus on these issues every day on the campaign trail, but I will bring a track record of success and be ready to lead on day one should I have the honor of serving as your next State Representative.”
He sees his active involvement in the community for the past decade as why he is the best successor for DeLeo’s seat. “I have been actively involved in our community for the past decade, and believe that I can make progress on some of the biggest challenges that we face. I bring a track record of results to the table, as well as a thorough understanding of the importance of being accessible to constituents and responsive to the issues they bring up.”
When reflecting on DeLeo’s tenure over the past 30 years, Capobianco noted his work as a Legislative Aide in DeLeo’s Office early in his career. “I had the pleasure of serving as a Legislative Aide in Speaker DeLeo’s Office early in my career, and gained an appreciation for how accessible and responsive he was to constituents. He never forgot where he came from or the people he represented. I think that is the most important thing for any elected official.”
Capobianco views working families, education, and health care as the major issues he will address if elected. “The top issues impacting Revere and Winthrop are protecting working families and small businesses during the pandemic, providing every student with a world class public education, and ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare. In Winthrop and Revere, our water rates have been too high for too long. I will work with the MWRA to pursue an audit to ensure that each community is paying its fair share. MASSPORT is a significant driver to Massachusetts’ economic viability – but residents of Winthrop and Revere suffer because we live near the airport. We deserve additional mitigation money. Residents of Winthrop and Revere need resources to replace our windows. I was a part of the Winthrop Airports Hazards committee, and I have the experience and know-how to hold MASSPORT accountable.”
He also pointed to an emphasis on expansion of renewable energy as a priority if elected. “Speaker DeLeo has served this community well and has passed legislation that will improve the Commonwealth for generations to come. He was able to bring economic development to the area that I would like to continue. One of the greatest opportunities for expansion that we have is by bringing clean, reliable, and renewable energy to our community. For example, I would support S. 2995, the Roadmap for Climate Policy bill, that Governor Baker vetoed. I would like to see the legislature take action on some measures that didn’t make it out of committee. I will advocate for new opportunities to bring clean, reliable, and renewable energy to our community. This will help create well-paying, union-based local jobs, in an effort to promote green infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions.”
The primary for DeLeo’s seat is slated for March 2 with a special election set for March 30th. For more information about Capobiano’s campaign you may visit his website www.tino4rep.com or on Facebook at Tine4rep.