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Local 888 leader sworn in for Lowell City Council

January 30, 2022

Corey Robinson lands district seat as city, facing a civil rights lawsuit, revamps representation.

Newly elected Lowell City Councilor Corey Robinson, a Local 888 leader, has taken office this month after winning his district seat in a historic vote. The more-diverse city council, with 11 members, has three Cambodian-American members along with Robinson, who is biracial.
Robinson was elected from Centralville, one of the newly created eight districts. Robinson said that Centralville “is one of the neighborhoods that’s been neglected, in terms of both services and representation.”
In the past, he said, the at-large system favored the city’s affluent neighborhoods. “Even a basic level of services has been nonexistent for most people in the city,” added Robinson, a Local 888 chapter vice president in Tyngsborough.
“Now it’s wide open for average working-class citizens to get out there and get involved,” Robinson told The Boston Globe after his win at the ballot box.
In 2017, the group Lawyers for Civil Rights and the Boston law firm Ropes & Gray filed a lawsuit on behalf of a number of Asian-American and Latino voters. The U.S. lawsuit argued that the city’s at-large system left nonwhite voters without fair representation.
At the time, every elected city official was white.
In November 2019, the city’s voters expressed a preference for having district seats on both the council and School Committee. With the city facing a federal lawsuit over civil rights, the council soon voted to change from the setup that had all councilors and School Committee members elected at-large.
That same year, John Drinkwater, who works as a workforce development specialist with the state AFL-CIO, was elected to an at-large seat on the council.
In 2021, Drinkwater was re-elected to his seat. Local 888 had endorsed both he and Robinson.
Similarly, Boston switched to a district representation setup after a 1981 referendum approved the move.
For more on Robinson, see and