In 2009, Sam Yoon made a historic run to be mayor of Boston. Unfortunately, Yoon fell short in the Democratic primary and the incumbent mayor of 16 years, Tom Menino, easily defeated the other Democratic challenger in a run-off election. Menino went on to get re-elected, establishing himself to be the longest serving mayor of Boston, even though originally pledged to be a two-term, eight year mayor.
After challenging the establishment in Boston, Yoon has been seen as untouchable, having a challenging time finding a new job in the Boston area and has made the hard choice of leaving the Boston area:
“I got signals, mixed signals,’’ Yoon said, referring to his Boston job search. “To the extent that I was looking for a leadership position in the city, there were signals sent my way. It was subtle, but clear, that the fact I had run on a reform platform left some employers not willing to take a chance on me. . . . I knew there were risks involved for me in running against a 16-year incumbent, but I didn’t know the degree that it would pervade the important institutions … He declined to talk about where he applied or which potential employers feared he might be a risky hire.”
Yoon recently accepted a job in the D.C. area as the executive director of the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations. I guess Yoon’s wife will be happy since her parents live nearby, but it’s sad that Yoon’s promising political future has been temporarily set back. He’s seems pretty dejected and demoralized from being unemployed. Some note that had Yoon been more patience and waited, Yoon could have made further inroads within the Boston political establishment. While that may be true, we’ll never know and Yoon saw an opportunity, took a risk and tried his best.