By Seth Daniel
When Gerly Adrien was growing up on Cedar Street in Everett, she often picked up the newspaper to learn about local Everett politics.
She followed the mayors, from David Ragucci to John Hanlon to Carlo DeMaria, and would work up detailed notes for her parents so they would know who to vote for.
Now, she’s in that newspaper and she’s betting that the voters in Everett are taking notes as well, and that those notes will equal a vote for her in the state representative race that is to be decided in the Sept. 8 Democratic Primary.
“I was born and raised in Everett and I love this city,” she said recently in an interview at Dempsey’s. “We lived on Ferry Street at first and when I was 4, my parents bought a home on Cedar Street. Our neighbors on Cedar Street were all about helping each other. Starting when I was 10, I read the newspapers in Everett and told my parents how I thought they should vote. I also told them one day soon I was going to be a politician and they would read about me in the papers.”
Adrien, 27, is now trying to make that happen in her first time running for office – challenging first-term incumbent Rep. Joe McGonagle.
“Right now in the race, I think people believe I can do the job, but it’s why me over Joe,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s not about friends or family members. It’s about what’s best for Everett. Everett is my hometown and it’s really changing and we need to fight for our City now. If we don’t, we’ll lose control of our city and we need someone who will fight for this city.”
To convince voters, Adrien said she has compiled an active group of volunteers from all walks of Everett life – from first generation immigrants to residents who have been in the same Everett home for 50 years. Running an active campaign, she has stationed herself in Everett Square just about every morning for the last two months at 6:30 a.m. Following that, she has set out to knock on doors and introduce herself to the city.
That, she said, has been a major strategy for the campaign.
“The biggest strategy I’ve implemented is that I’m going out and knocking on doors,” she said. “Every day I go out and connect with people who have lived here 50 or more years. My thought is if people know my story and my background, they will be able to trust me. I think I’m letting them know they can trust me. We knew my opponent wouldn’t take me seriously, so we got out and started working early.”
Adrien, the daughter of Haitian immigrants who came over in the 1980s, attended St. Anthony’s School in Somerville and graduated from St. Clement High School in Medford, where she was a star basketball player – having been taught to play the game by her popular uncle, Phito Aubourg. After going to Temple University to try out for a spot on the basketball team and to study law, she realized it wasn’t her calling.
In fact, she took a whole new tack and got into the world of numbers and finance – transferring to Bentley University in Waltham, where she graduated with a degree in accounting and business management.
Following graduation, she worked at JP Morgan, going between Boston and New York City and working on a plan for risk management.
“All I was doing was helping JP Morgan make more money,” said Adrien.
After leaving JP Morgan, she said she moved to Philadelphia and bought a home, helping to coordinate the City Council campaign for a candidate down there.
Upon coming back to Everett, Adrien said she knew it was time for her to run, but she felt issues at the state level were more important to her than City issues.
“I came back to Everett realizing it was time,” she said. “The City Council wasn’t for me. The City Council is great on their own and have a great working relationship. Me coming in and trying to do something else may not get the greatest reception…The issues I want to advocate for, like education, working families, seniors, and public safety, those were all on the state level.”
After meeting with several City leaders, she announced her intentions earlier this year.
“When I was out knocking on doors, I asked people if they could name their state representative,” she said. “Not many could. Some thought it was Stat Smith or Wayne Matewski. Those who knew couldn’t point to anything he had done. The ‘Fight for $15,’ he didn’t get back to them. They didn’t get to meet with him. A state legislator needs to be advocating for the district at the State House. That’s what I want to do.”
Adrien is the daughter of Marie Jean Aubourg and Jean Adrien, and the stepdaughter of Marie France Adrien.