Beginner's Pluck

Undaunted upstart Carlos Henriquez is just one reason to tune in to the city council elections.

On the list of things you care about, the Boston City Council election on 11/6 probably ranks a few notches below the locust problem in Afghanistan. But there’s cause to pay closer attention. The race often serves as a sneak preview of future city leaders—and this year’s example is Roxbury’s Carlos “Tony” Henriquez.

Four years ago, Henriquez, 30, left a corporate gig at Kinko’s to work at the Little House, a community center in Dorchester. “The feeling I got there was so much better than just cashing a check,” he says. Hooked, he signed on with a slew of local organizations, helped the Salvation Army build an $85 million center on Dudley Street, and took a City Hall job doing community outreach.

Of course, helping people and winning elections are very different, and Henriquez—charismatic, highly respected, but working with an inexperienced campaign crew—is facing firebrand veteran District 7 Councilor Chuck Turner. Even if he loses (and that seems likely), Henriquez says this race won’t be his last. Change, he feels, isn’t something you can expect to happen on its own. “You have to go out and grab it."