James Sutherland

Doctoral Candidate


James is a doctoral candidate and instructor in Northeastern University’s Department of Political Science, specializing in American and Comparative Politics. He also has training in quantitative analysis (SPSS and R) and geographic information system software (ArcGIS). James has taught courses on Quantitative Techniques (POLS 2400), Urban Policies and Politics (POLS 2345), and American Government (POLS 1150).

Research Interests

James is primarily interested in urban politics, and in particular, municipal campaigns and elections. His dissertation is a large-N comparative analysis focusing on the democratic deficits of local electoral systems in large American cities. James is also currently involved in research looking at the role that geospatial variables play in causing political polarization.

Work Experience

James has worked for Boston City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley since 2010 and is currently serving as her Research Director. James’ work in the Office of City Councilor Ayanna Pressley focuses on cycling infrastructure, voter access and democratic reform, economic development, land use and zoning, data collection, social media, and community outreach. In his capacity as Research Director, James recently authored an ordinance mandating all large city-contracted vehicles to be equipped with enhanced safety measures designed to prevent fatalities and further reduce the risk of collision with vulnerable road users.


James, a California native, moved to Boston in 2009 to finish his Bachelor’s Degree at Emmanuel College where he also played NCAA Division III volleyball. In his free time, James enjoys playing and watching volleyball, baseball, and football.


Dicara, Lawrence S., Sutherland, James D., and Samuel True Adams. 2015. “The incredibly vanishing Boston voter.” Commonwealth (October 22).

Sutherland, James D. 2015. “Instant runoff voting could improve Boston elections.” Commonwealth (July 7).

Sutherland, James D., Dicara, Lawrence S., and Samuel True Adams. 2015. “Kid-free Boston.” Commonwealth (March 19).

Sutherland, James D. and Lawrence S. DiCara. 2013. “A tale of two cities.” Commonwealth (November 13).

Sutherland, James D. and Lawrence S. DiCara. 2013. “No surge of ‘new’ voters.” Commonwealth (October 10).

Sutherland, James D. and Lawrence S. DiCara. 2013. “Elections highlight shifts in Boston voting.” Commonwealth (August 6).

Sutherland, James D. and Lawrence S. DiCara. 2013. “Where the Votes are in Boston.” Commonwealth (Spring): 19-21.



Conference Presentation

Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Conference (2010, 2011)

Midwestern Political Science Association Annual Conference (2014)

Research Interests: Local and State Politics, Campaigns and Elections, Electoral Campaign Rhetoric, Political Marginalization, and Zoning and Community Development.

Contact info:
928 Renaissance Park