Jimmy Tri Le is being called “the luckiest guy in Everett” after his only rival for the Ward 4 City Council Seat, longtime Councilor John Leo McKinnon, suddenly and surprisingly announced on July 19 that he would not be seeking re-election in the fall.
Le is the presumptive replacement, barring any kind of sticker campaign in November. He was as surprised as anyone to hear about Councilor McKinnon’s decision to retire. However, he’s not taking his election for granted.
“There is still the possibility of a sticker candidate,” he said. “I will campaign as if I have an opponent. Nothing is handed to me.”
The Independent was able to speak to Le about what inspired him to run for office and what unique qualifications he will bring to the table.
Le comes from an immigrant family that first came to the U.S. in the 1980s from Asia. He spent his childhood years in California before moving to Everett in 2000, where he has remained since. He currently lives on Westover Street with his wife and two young children.
This is the first time Le has run for public office.
“When I came to the realization that Everett would be my family’s home for years to come, I wanted to contribute and play a role in shaping Everett’s future,” he said.
But Le, who is an Independent politically, claims that his lack of previous political involvement actually works in his favor.
“I hope to provide fair, unbiased, independent thought to the Council. I have no personal agenda, or alliances,” he said. “I want to give every idea fair and thoughtful consideration. I plan to be neither a rubber stamp, nor an obstructionist.”
Le graduated from UMass in 2008 and has been working in real estate since 2009. As a first-time councilor, he hopes to draw on his academic career and his life experience.
Asked what he loved about Everett, Le spoke to the community’s work ethic.
“I love that Everett was built by hard-working, middle-class families,” he said. “I love its proximity to major highways, its public transportation and its people.”
However, he does see areas that could use improvement.
“I would like to see Everett concentrate on ways to keep our young people from moving away,” said Le. “I would like Everett to be less transient and more a place where families put down roots.”
In Ward 4 specifically, Le would like to see aesthetic improvements in Glendale Square and Ferry Street in particular.
“Ferry Street needs to be more attractive and inviting to potential homeowners and businesses,” he said.
Le would be Everett’s first Asian councilor, as well as its only non-white member in a city that is 55 percent non-white. But he doesn’t want this to be his most defining characteristic.
“Diversity goes beyond race and ethnicity. We all have diverse life experiences that add to our perspective on things,” he said. “I prefer to concentrate on the things that we have in common.”
Le has never attended a City Council meeting, but he hopes to learn from outgoing Councilor McKinnon.
“Councilor McKinnon was able to maintain his independence throughout his many years of service,” he said. “I would benefit greatly from learning how he accomplished that. I know that I have a lot to learn should I be elected.”