Setti Warren

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Setti Warren
Setti Warren - portrait (April 2011).jpg
Mayor of Newton
In office
January 1, 2010 – January 1, 2018
Preceded byDavid Cohen
Succeeded byRuthanne Fuller
Personal details
Born (1970-08-25) August 25, 1970 (age 49)
Newton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationBoston College (BA)
Suffolk University (JD)
WebsiteCampaign website

Setti David Warren (born August 25, 1970)[1] is an American politician. He served as Mayor of Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, and is a former Democratic candidate for United States Senate in 2012. He is the first popularly elected African-American mayor in Massachusetts.

Warren ran for Governor of Massachusetts in the 2018 election, announcing his candidacy on May 20, 2017. Warren withdrew from the race on April 26, 2018, citing fundraising and financial issues.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Warren, along with his twin sister Makeda, was born in 1970[3][4][5] to their parents Joseph and Elpidia (née Lopez) Warren.[6] His father, Joseph D. Warren, was an advisor for Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis's 1988 presidential campaign, and worked in the African-American studies department at Northeastern University before his death in 2010.[7] His mother, Elpidia Lopez, is a retired social worker.[4] He also has a stepmother, Martha L. (Walker) Warren.[4] His younger sister Kara, who had struggled with severe asthma throughout her life, died in November 2005 at the age of 27.[8]

Warren completed elementary school at the private school Jackson Walnut Park in Newton and then attended Newton North High School, where he was the class president for all four years, and while he attended Boston College, he was also elected student body president. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1993.[9][10] He received a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School's night classes in 2006, although he has not taken the bar exam to practice law.[9]

Early career and Navy service[edit]

After graduating from college, Warren worked for two years with his family's consulting business. In 1995 he joined the New England branch of U.S. President Bill Clinton's re-election campaign.[11] From 1996 to 2000 he worked in several White House Offices under Clinton: the Advance Office, Cabinet Affairs Office, and the Social Office.[9] He served as New England regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from 2000 to 2001, where he implemented a performance management system for the office.[11] He then worked for two years in fundraising at Boston College.[9]

Warren enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in 2003. Around the same time, he joined the presidential campaign of U.S. Senator John Kerry, where he was his trip director.[12] After the election, Warren became deputy director of Kerry's Massachusetts office.[12] Around this time, he served partial terms on the Newton Community Preservation Committee and Economic Development Commission. He resigned each mid-term as his career with Kerry developed.[9]

In October 2007, Warren left Kerry's office to serve as Naval intelligence specialist in Iraq.[12] Before leaving, he assembled a committee to explore a candidacy for mayor of Newton. While he was on training in South Carolina in late 2007, his committee filed papers for his election.[11]

Mayor of Newton[edit]

Warren at his desk in April 2011.

Newton Mayor David Cohen announced that he would not seek re-election in May 2008, leaving an open field, which had not occurred in Newton since 1971.[13][14] Warren, on leave from Iraq in June 2008, declared his intent to run. His campaign was forestalled until he completed his tour of duty the following October, as Department of Defense regulations forbid active duty service men from seeking elected office.[15][16] In November 2008, Warren formally announced his candidacy, pledging to "protect the sacred trust between the citizens in this city and public servants."[17]

During the campaign Warren emphasized his record with FEMA, including the management of civil servants.[9] Warren was elected November 3, 2009 in a vote of 11,233 to 10,772,[18] defeating State Representative Ruth Balser. Warren took office on January 1, 2010.

Warren faced re-election on November 5, 2013. The field of four candidates was narrowed down to two in a primary election on September 17, 2013. In the general election, Warren defeated Newton Alderman Ted Hess-Mahan.

Engine 6 Controversy[edit]

In June 2013, Warren announced that he would block funding for a controversial proposal to construct affordable housing on Beacon Street in Waban for formerly homeless people.[19] The proposal, called Engine 6, was privately developed and expected to cost $3.1 million; developers had requested about $1.4 million in federal funds managed by the city of Newton to move ahead, but Warren's withdrawal of funding halted future plans for construction.[20]

U.S. Senate campaign, 2012[edit]

On May 9, 2011, Setti Warren announced his candidacy to represent Massachusetts in the United States Senate in the 2012 election. On September 29, 2011, Warren dropped out of the race, declaring "I no longer believe I have a clear path to victory in this race".[21] He endorsed eventual Democratic nominee, Elizabeth Warren.[22] He later expressed regret at running for Senate just two years into his mayoral term, saying "I ran too early."[23]

Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign, 2018[edit]

On May 20, 2017, Warren announced he was running for Governor of Massachusetts. In front of his home and surrounded by family, friends and supporters, Warren called income inequality the "defining issue of our generation." He has called for single-payer healthcare, free tuition, a new millionaire's tax, and a high-speed rail project across Massachusetts.[24]

Warren ended his campaign on April 26, 2018, stating "We took a hard look at the numbers and what it would take to run a winning campaign against the incumbent governor. I just saw the challenge was insurmountable, based on the ability to raise the money and the resources." He has declined to endorse either of his former opponents for the Democratic nomination.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Warren's first marriage ended in divorce.[citation needed] Warren later married Elizabeth Tasker "Tassy" Plummer on August 12, 2006, with John Kerry serving as his groomsman.[4] A Newton native, Tassy worked on the Kerry presidential campaign, where she met Warren.[8] As of 2017, Tassy is chief programs officer at the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child.[25] Together they have one daughter named Abigail and a son named John.[8]


  1. ^ "Setti Warren, Candidate". electful. July 27, 2012. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Phillips, Frank. "Setti Warren ends campaign for governor". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  3. ^ Warren, Setti (April 7, 2010). "Newton mayor Setti Warren's eulogy for his father Joseph Warren". Newton Tab.
  4. ^ a b c d "Tassy Plummer and Setti Warren". The New York Times. August 13, 2006.
  5. ^ Goonough, Abby (December 22, 2009). "History Made, Mayor-Elect Focuses on Local Issues". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Obituary; Kara Warren, 27, loved the arts, helping others". Boston Herald. November 5, 2005.
  7. ^ "Joseph Warren, father of Mayor Setti Warren, dies". Newton Tab. April 7, 2010.
  8. ^ a b c Hilliard, John (January 20, 2010). "Newton's first lady: Tassy Warren looks for balance between work and family". Newton Tab.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Calvin Hennick (October 11, 2009). "Warren cites role at agency". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
  10. ^ "Community Briefing: A run for mayor?". The Boston Globe. August 5, 2007.
  11. ^ a b c Hilliard, John (October 21, 2009). "Warren says he will bring consensus, new ideas". Newton Tab.
  12. ^ a b c Gelzinis, Peter (September 30, 2007). "Off to Iraq: Duty calls, Kerry staffer answers". Boston Herald.
  13. ^ Loh, Christopher (May 14, 2008). "Cohen says he will not seek re-election". Newton Tab. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012.
  14. ^ Long, Chrissie (May 14, 2008). "Candidates eye run to become Newton's next mayor". Newton Tab. Archived from the original on October 3, 2009.
  15. ^ Loh, Christopher (July 1, 2008). "Navy first, Newton mayoral race second for Setti Warren". Newton Tab. Archived from the original on August 30, 2008.
  16. ^ "DoD Directive 1344.10". United States Department of Defense. June 15, 1990.
  17. ^ Bagley, Steve (November 18, 2008). "Setti Warren announces campaign for mayor of Newton". Newton Tab. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012.
  18. ^ "Election results, 2009" (PDF). City of Newton, Massachusetts. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-27.
  19. ^ "Newton Mayor Setti Warren blocks homeless housing bid in Waban". Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  20. ^ "Not in Our Back Yard: Affordable Housing in Newton". Boston Magazine. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  21. ^ "Settie Warren quits race against Scott Brown, conceding 'overwhelming' odds". Boston Globe. September 29, 2011.
  22. ^ Gotsis, Chloe. "Mayor Warren officially endorses Elizabeth Warren for U.S. Senate". Wicked Local Newton. Wicked Local. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  23. ^ Newton Mayor Setti Warren Running for Massachusetts Governor, USNews, 5/20/17
  24. ^ Ibid., USNews
  25. ^ "Center Director & Staff". Harvard University Center on the Developing Child.

External links[edit]