Mike Connolly

Mike Connolly, a Cambridge resident, activist and attorney, declared his City Council candidacy Thursday.

Activist and attorney Mike Connolly declared his candidacy for City Council on Thursday – his second run for public office after opting out of a council bid two years ago, instead becoming legislative aide to councillor Dennis Carlone. Before that he worked with Occupy Boston and challenged Tim Toomey for his 26th Middlesex District seat.

“I’ve worked as an organizer, and I’ve worked directly in City Hall,” Connolly said. “I know how to bring people together to help make Cambridge work for all its residents. That’s why I’m excited to enter this race to continue this work as a city councillor.”

In 2013, Connolly organized a grassroots campaign in support of a “Net Zero” petition bearing his name, leading to a unanimous council vote toward a stricter emissions standard for the city to fight climate change, and more recently has worked on a ban on plastic checkout bags and affordable housing efforts as a resident and as a staffer for Carlone. It was his analysis that noted that, far from throttling housing construction, the city “has already built and/or permitted 6,764 units of new housing since 2010, more than enough to surpass” the tougher of two prescriptions for regional housing called for by 2030 by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

Carlone supports Connolly – now his former aide – for the council. “Mike is one of the most committed, smart activists in Cambridge. It’s been an honor to work with him,” Carlone said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to working with him as a colleague on the council next year.”

Before focusing on municipal politics, Connolly ran against longtime state representative and councillor Toomey in the 26th Middlesex District, drawing a quarter of Cantabrigians’ vote in a race in which he accepted in-kind donations of goods and work, but no money – even running as Mike “No Money” Connolly. (Toomey took 69 percent of the vote and Republican Thomas Vasconcelos took 5 percent.) In the aftermath, a spokesman for Toomey credited the challengers for their ideas and “great, substantive conversations and dialogue … We know there are places this district can improve.”

Connolly has also been an elected delegate representing Cambridge at the State Democratic Convention for the past three years.

His campaign will be led by mid-Cambridge resident and former Cambridge Rindge and Latin School teacher Phyllis Bretholtz, who said the candidate was “a man of consummate integrity, with a keen analytical mind, a total commitment to issues of social justice and a passionate dedication to the city and its residents,” said

An official campaign launch event will take place in late August, Connolly said.

This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.