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Q&A with Pat Payaso, the clown candidate running for Boston City Council

Pat Payaso, a candidate for an at-large Boston City Council seat, talked with Metro about the political views behind the clown mask.

You may have seen someone clowning around outside of polling stations on Tuesday as Boston residents voted in the preliminary municipal elections. Roxbury resident Pat Payaso is running for an at-large city council seat in Boston with an interesting approach to garnering attention: "Payaso" means clown in Spanish, and the candidate appears decked out in the full comedic costume.

The Boston Herald wrote that Payaso was formerly known as Kevin McCrea, a Boston developer and former mayoral candidate who legally changed his name at a New Orleans district court in February, according to documents filed with Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin. When asked about pronouns, Payaso told Metro that, "I go by both he and she."

Tuesday’s election doesn’t affect Payaso at all, as there are no preliminaries for at-large seats, but the clown was still out appealing to voters. Payaso spoke with Metro about why he's running for Boston City Council and how the clownish approach to politics stems from serious concerns.

What prompted you to run for City Council, specifically for an at-large seat?
I’m running because of I'm tired of the political clowns owned by the 1 percent treating us working citizens like rubber chickens. I'm tired of the tax breaks, giveaways, and hypocrisy. I think all Americans want the politicians to sit down and actually enact policies that help average people. We want them to solve problems and most people are seeing compromise as a strength not a weakness. Studies have shown that politicians talk about helping working people out, but their policies overwhelmingly help the rich.

Will you still wear the clown outfit in City Hall if elected?
Many people ask me if I will wear the outfit! And I will wear it to at least some city council meetings, especially if I think some funny business is going to happen and needs to be highlighted.

You said you’re going to have a clown horn on your desk at City Council meetings, what for?
I will have the clown horn on my desk to call out the shenanigans that go on in government [such as] pension padding, property giveaways, like I highlighted during my Mayoral run eight years ago.

What issue is most important to you?

Universal Health Care is the biggest issue facing America. The schools are the number one issue facing the city, which is why I have promised to visit each and every school in the city, something none of the other candidates are willing to do. There are some impressive candidates running, why wouldn't we want them to visit every school and talk to the students about the value of education, hard work, and grit in being successful in life? We spend 40 percent roughly of our city budget on schools, is it too much to ask the counselors to spend 20 percent of their time figuring out where the money is spent and making the system better?

What reactions have you received so far?
The reaction from the voters has been incredible, everyone loves it. I was worried at first but everyone gets it. One voter said, "I get it, we are the clowns who keep electing these people.” I think it is a common sentiment.

You unveiled your clown car on Tuesday, how does this fit into your approach to politics?
I am trying to use humor to raise voter awareness of issues and shenanigans going on. The clown car is fun and so far [Tuesday] morning it has been amazing how much people love it, take pictures of it and laugh. That is the best part, bringing smiles to peoples faces. We have serious issues to face, but the role of government should be one of making the citizens happy, healthy and educated in their community.

Payaso will be on the Nov. 8 ballot for Boston's municipal election, facing off against four incumbents and three other challengers for four at-large Boston City Council Seats. Read more about Payaso's positions here. 

 

 
 
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