As Published by The Enterprise
By Marc Larocque, Staff Writer
BROCKTON – One year after earning his U.S. citizenship, a 26-year-old from Haiti said he wants to give back to his new country by running for a seat on the Brockton City Council.
Jean Bradley Derenoncourt is beginning his campaign to become a councilor-at-large for the city of Brockton, with a launch event set for Saturday, planned to coincide with his one-year anniversary of becoming an American citizen.
"Brockton is home, and has been for the past six years since I arrived from Haiti," said Derenoncourt, who is a legislative aide to state Sen. Michael Brady, D-Brockton. "The vibrancy of this community, and the warm nature of the people have directly impacted my life. I want to give back to those who have graciously welcomed me. I am running for City Councilor-At-Large because I believe in this City and what we can accomplish together."
The Derenoncourt campaign launch event will be held at South Shore Haitian Adult Day Health, located at 583 Centre St., from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. The event is free and open to the public, and there will be light refreshments and live music, Derenoncourt said.
Since coming to the U.S., Derenoncourt has learned English, obtained a high school equivalency, graduated from Massasoit Community College and then completed his bachelor's at Suffolk University, where he is now enrolled to pursue a master's degree in political science. While a student, Derenoncourt also waded into the world of public service and campaign politics, first as an intern under former Brockton mayor Linda Balzotti, then earning a similar role at the office of former governor Deval Patrick, before landing on Beacon Hill alongside Brady. Derenoncourt was also the regional coordinator for the 2014 campaign to pass a statewide ballot measure providing all Massachusetts workers the chance to earn sick time.
Now, Derenoncourt thinks he is ready to put his name on the ballot and win. He will be competing with other Brockton citizens for a total of four councilor-at-large positions up for a citywide vote.
"Brockton has a lot of potential," Derenoncourt said. "We have amazing people in this city, but we have to have a new way of doing things to make sure in Brockton everyone feels included. We are the City of Champions. We have a lot of excellent people in Brockton. Now is the time for a new focus, and I think I can bring that and be able to unite all the groups."
The Brockton election is about seven months away, with a primary on Sept. 19 and a general election on Nov. 7.
Nomination papers for candidates become available on June 12. The last day to obtain nomination papers is July 28 and the last day to file them is Aug. 1.
In addition to Derenoncourt, other contenders for councilor-at-large who have announced their candidacy include Gary Keith, who ran during the previous two citywide elections.
"I think we need a new voice, a fresh new voice in local politics," Derenoncourt said. "I'm running because I believe in Brockton. I love Brockton. It is my home. It is a place that gave me a reason to hope, to believe in life, and to know that my life can be better."