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Bruce Bolling HKSEE 1985, Boston City Council’s first black president and Harvard Kennedy School alumnus, has died at the age of 67.
Friend and colleague Lawrence DiCara MC/MPA 1977 remembered Bolling as ”a member of Boston's most distinguished black political family. He was a productive and respected member of the City Council, able to work with all of his colleagues. He was not only a proud representative of the black community but of the entire city.”
Bolling’s father, Royal Bolling Sr., was a state senator, and his brother, Royal Bolling Jr., was a state representative.
The Boston Globe reports that during his 12-year tenure on the council, Bolling championed fair housing and increasing job opportunities for businesses run by minorities and women. He also voiced support for the gay and lesbian community when doing so could be considered a political liability.
“His commitment to public service was unquestioned,” Councilor Charles C. Yance, a former council president told the Globe. “He certainly enjoyed politics in Boston . . . but he believed in inclusion. I think he helped move the city forward.”
“He was a steadfast voice making sure people of color, women, and small local businesses get their fair share in construction contracts and jobs. He has, from his first days in office, fought for equity and opportunity for all people in Boston,” City Councilor Tito Jackson told the Boston Herald.
Bolling was a former Rappaport Institute Boston Urban Scholar.