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Caught up between new, old Southie

Maureen Dahill ran for state Senate hoping to unite her neighborhood — and became a deeply divisive figure as a result.
Maureen Dahill ran for state Senate hoping to unite her neighborhood — and became a deeply divisive figure as a result.Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff

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When Maureen Dahill announced her plans to run for the senate seat commonly known as the “Southie seat,” her platform was simple: She wanted to unite the old neighborhood with the newcomers who have invaded it over the past two decades. It was an ambitious idea, and a naive idea, and ended up pitting Dahill against the old neighborhood political network and its candidate, Nick Collins, and ended the way many had predicted: All she ended up doing was earning enough votes to swing the election, and the Southie seat, to Linda Dorcena Forry, a Haitian-American state representative from Dorchester. Her story has become a symbol of the growing pains in the new South Boston, as an iconic neighborhood struggles to maintain its traditions as its old identity, and old traditions, slowly disappear, furthering the disdain the old has for the new.

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