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Alexander Bok: Searching for 700 Supporters


Say you were a little tired of school, and you had a little more than passing interest in things political. And no summer job. What would you do? Meet Alexander T. Bok '81, candidate for state representative, who has been fighting a classic political war in the Boston district that stretches from Beacon Hill to Kenmore Square.

Bok, a distant relative of the University president, rises at 7 a.m. each morning to work the streets ("There are ten pretty good corners in the district"). All morning he raises money ($16,000 so far--he's among the leading spenders in the most expensive state representative race in Massachusetts history).

In the afternoon, he sits down with the city's movers and shakers seeking ideas and endorsements (so far, Boston pols like John Saltonstall and Ray Flynn, Black activists like State Rep. Saundra Graham and Jean McGuire, and newspapers like the Phoenix have gazed kindly on Bok).

At night, Bok rings doorbells until 8 p.m.--when there's a coffee to attend. And then he goes to sleep, dreaming of the election. "It's a scary thought--you're judged in complete privacy by people who don't know you and who you don't know," he says.

Today it all ends. Or maybe it doesn't. Bok has come a good deal further than most observers expected in his battle to best political veterans Dennis Quilty, Tom Vallelly and Smoki Bacon. And now, hours before the votes are counted, Bok--who like the other candidates is running on stickers--says he's confident.

"The winner will have about 700 votes," he adds. "Probably there will be no more than 2500 voters who go to the polls, and a few hundred of them, who voted for Anderson last spring, don't realize they won't be able to vote in the primary. There are eight candidates--700 should be more than enough," Bok says.

"I can point to 400 votes now--and it's safe to say that no one else has any more they can count on," Bok says. He is counting on strong support from tenants, the district's large gay community, and the elderly.

Should he win the primary, Bok will waltz into the statehouse on November 4--the district is overwhelmingly Democratic. Should he lose, Bok will probably finish up his schooling later in the year, and go off to find new battles.

Racking His Brain

"I've enjoyed it--it's a chance to sit down and pull together my ideas in a coherent framework," Bok says. He has worked for the Boston city council and the current representative--State Rep. Barney Frank '61. But losing is not on Bok's mind this morning.

"All my opponents have been able to criticize me for is my age," Bok says, adding that the charge is generally ineffective. "The usual criticism is that young people don't have enough experience--I've found that I have more directly relevant experience," Bok says. And then he adds, "I know more about the issues, too."

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