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MASSACHUSETTS

2018 Candidates     2017 Municipal Election Summary

At Maria's List, we elevate progressive candidates, especially women and people of color, who promote equity, who close opportunity gaps in education and wealth creation, who promote accountability and a robust democracy.

2018 PRIMARY RESULTS AND INVESTMENTS

Justice for Mass Coalition Right to the City Alliance Chinese Progressive Political Action Mass Alliance Progressive MA Funder Collaborative

2018 CANDIDATES
September


 

Gerly Adrien, State Representative 28th Middlesex
Francia Wisnewski, State Representative 1st Franklin
Nika Elugardo, State Representative 15th Suffolk
Maria Robinson, State Representative 6th Middlesex
Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County District Attorney
Donna Patalano, Middlesex County District Attorney

Andrea Harrington, Berksire County District Attorney
Jay Gonzalez, Governor
Josh Zakim, Secretary of State
Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, MA-01
Barbara L'Italien, MA-03
Ayanna Pressley, MA-07

 

 

website: Gerly Adrien

Gerly Adrien's photo

Gerly Adrien
State Representative, 28th Middlesex

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost challenge to incumbent Rep. Joe McGonagle with 39%

 

Gerly grew up in Everett, and always wanted to be mayor. She’s the daughter of immigrant parents from Haiti who never felt like they actually belonged. In high school, she was a youth organizer for Teen Empowerment and interned with Somerville Community Corporation where she learned about affordable housing. She went to Bentley for college and studied business, and then worked on Wall Street at JP Morgan. She moved to Philadelphia, bought a house and managed a city council race for a young, black man in his early 30’s because she had rarely seen black men/women in leadership positions doing community work. After that race, she moved back home to Everett to run. She worked as the finance director at United South End Settlements and now works in finance in the cancer department at Boston Medical Center.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent Rep. Joe McGonagle in her second run for the seat.

 

Dynamics of Race: In her second run for this seat, Gerly is a stronger candidate who is applying lessons learned from her 600-vote loss for this same seat in 2016. Strategically, Gerly is doing two main things differently. She is targeting both Democrats and unenrolled voters, who voted in greater numbers than Democrats in her last election. She is also making an effort to differentiate herself from Rep. McGonagle, highlighting his anti-immigrant stances and lack of transparency. This time, it’s a three-person field. She is challenging the sitting state rep, Joe McGonagle. Stephen Stat Smith who formerly held this seat – but was forced to resign for voter fraud - is also running. Unlike her head-to-head race before, a three-person primary stands to benefit Gerly.

 

Gerly is running a strong, grassroots campaign and will herself have knocked every voter’s door from 2016 multiple times by September 4th. Instead of a traditional strategy of only talking to traditional “supervoters,” Gerly is engaging disenfranchised, immigrant and COC voters and has LGBTQ+, Latinx and Haitian community liaisons who meet weekly. She is in a strong position to win.

Candidate List

website: Francia Wisnewski

Francia Wisnewski's' photo

Francia Wisnewski
State Representative, 1st Franklin

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Came in 2nd in an 8-person field with 16% of vote

 

Francia grew up in Colombia and came to the US in her early 20’s to get her master’s degree in education at UMass Amherst. Her and her husband, a small business owner, first lived in Greenfield and now live in Montague and are raising two boys.

 

Francia was a biology and chemistry teacher. She went on to serve two terms on the Greenfield School Committee, including two terms as Vice-Chair. She is currently a Town Meeting member in Montague. She is also Chair of the Hampshire/Franklin Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

 

She works in non-profit support services and education. For 10 years, she worked at the Community Action Pioneer Valley, working in the food pantry and then creating programs for family centers. She is currently Senior Program Manager at Raising a Reader Massachusetts for the Pioneer Valley which focuses on literacy in Gateway cities. She was one of its first staff members and helped build the organization from the ground up, opening up branches in Springfield and Holyoke.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Open seat.

 

Dynamics of Race: With 19 towns in the district, this state rep district is one of the biggest and most spread out. Eight candidates are running for this open seat and four are women. Her opponents come from each of the five biggest towns in the district. Francia is the only POC and the first Latina to run for the seat. Along with Tahirah Amatul-Wadud who is challenging Congressman Richard Neal, she is one of only two POC running in Western Massachusetts.

 

Wisnewski Campaign: Francia is a passionate advocate for public education who speaks from deep experience as both a parent and former School Committee member. She is running a grassroots campaign but fundraising is also crucial so she can send mailings in a district that has less access to the internet and extends out to 19 cities and towns. Every dollar donated to this campaign will make a big impact in helping her reach more voters.

Candidate List

website: Nika Elugardo

Nika Elugardo's' photo

Nika Elugardo
State Representative, 15th Suffolk

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 52% of the primary vote

 

The oldest of seven kids, Nika grew up in Columbus, Ohio in poverty. Her father was a construction worker who dealt drugs when he couldn’t find construction work, bringing Nika with him from Columbus to Miami on drug deals when she was a child. Growing up, her family was oftentimes evicted from their home or had to move because of her dad’s dangerous lifestyle.

 

Nika changed schools nine times until she got a scholarship to attend the Columbus School for Girls. It changed the trajectory of her life. She went to MIT for college, got a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School and graduated from BU Law School. Along the way, she trained leaders across the country to fight foreclosures at the National Consumer Law Center’s Foreclosure Prevention Project and worked on gender justice, community health and youth development at the Emmanuel Gospel Center. After law school, she served as a Senior Advisor for Policy and Planning for State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, was the founding director of MassSaves.org where she worked to promote asset development and economic justice in low-income communities, and then returned to work at Emmanuel Gospel.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez.

 

Dynamics of Race: Nika is challenging incumbent State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, who as House Ways and Means Chair is the highest ranking Latinx in the state. Asked often why she’s running against him, Nika says she took a look at his record. Last session, he had a B- rating on the Progressive Mass Scorecard. Since becoming House Ways and Means Chair, his rating has fallen to a C+. “We need progressive champions in the House,” Nika says on the trail. “I’m challenging this incumbent because I believe the ‘leadership team’ he belongs to – that of House Speaker Bob DeLeo – is the greatest obstacle to bold progressive change in Massachusetts.”

 

In a three-minute clip of a July 2018 debate circulating on social media, Nika and Rep. Sanchez are shown disagreeing on a number of key progressive issues. Nika supports independent review boards for police shootings, eliminating all mandatory minimums and raising the juvenile age beyond 18. Rep. Sanchez does not. Nika supports single payer healthcare. Rep. Sanchez does not. Nika supports same-day voter registration. Rep. Sanchez does not. Additionally, as House Ways and Means Chair, Rep. Sanchez was sharply criticized for passing a final budget this year that dropped the Senate-backed Safe Communities Act provision. “We just did not find consensus on those provisions,” he told reporters. “There are some issues where consensus should not be your measure of success,” Nika responded, arguing that we should never be “using our tax dollars to aid the terrorizing of our residents.”

 

Rep. Sanchez hasn’t had a primary since 2010.

 

Elugardo Campaign: Of the two campaigns, Nika has the momentum. Challenging a powerful, well-resourced incumbent is never easy, but Nika has been running an energizing, grassroots campaign on a bold, progressive platform that has effectively distinguished her as the progressive choice in the race.

Candidate List

website: Maria Robinson

Maria Robinson's photo

Maria Robinson
State Representative, 6th Middlesex

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won a four-way write-in race with 56% of the vote

 

Maria is an Asian-American adoptee and is in the process of adopting her two foster children. She attended MIT where she met her husband. When they were deciding where to settle down with their family, they made spreadsheets (because they’re engineers) and Framingham came out on top. It had everything they wanted: it was diverse, affordable, they could have a backyard. Last year, her parents moved from Philadelphia and moved in with them, in part because they couldn’t find a place in Massachusetts to live that was affordable. It’s clear to her that we’re pricing seniors out of our state.

 

Maria has spent the last decade working in nonprofits focused on clean energy. She’s worked on renewable energy and energy efficiency policy at the federal level and in 25 states.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Open seat following late Rep. Chris Walsh’s passing; will be a write-in primary election

 

Dynamics of Race: Following the late Representative Chris Walsh’s passing in mid-May, a write-in September 4th primary election is being held to determine which Democrat will appear on the November ballot as the party’s nominee. Including Maria, four people are running.

 

Robinson's Campaign: Maria has emerged as the progressive in the race and as the candidate running the strongest campaign. Progressive organizations (MassAlliance, Progressive Mass), LGBTQ+ rights organizations (MassEquality), women’s reproductive rights organizations (NARAL and Planned Parenthood), labor (SEIU 1199, 509 and 32BJ), and teachers (MTA) have all endorsed her. She’s raised the resources and is running the strong field program needed to win.

Candidate List

website: Rachael Rollins

Rachael Rollins' photo

Rachael Rollins
Suffolk County District Attorney

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won in a 5-way field with 39% of primary vote

 

Rachael is the oldest of five children in a working-class, multi-cultural family. She attended Buckingham Browne and Nichols on a full scholarship and received a Division I scholarship to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has a law degree from Northeastern, and a Master of Laws from Georgetown University.

 

Rachael’s brother is currently in jail. She is also a foster mother to two of her young nieces (ages 5 and 9) whose parents are incarcerated due to mental health and addiction issues. If Rachael had not taken custody of her nieces, they would have gone into the DCF system.

 

Rachael served as a state Assistant District Attorney and a federal Assistant U.S. Attorney, prosecuting cases involving civil rights violations, fraud, sexual predators, narcotics, violence and weapons. She was also the first woman general counsel for the MBTA and the first person of color to be general counsel for MassDOT. In those roles, she managed over 150 employees. She later served as chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority.

 

Rachael was appointed by Attorney General Maura Healey to serve on her Advisory Council on Racial Justice and Equity. Additionally, she was a former Governor Deval Patrick appointee to the Commonwealth’s Judicial Nominating Commission, was former President of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, and was elected by her peers to serve on the Boston Bar Association Council.

 

On the Issues

Candidate List

website: Donna Patalano

Donna Patalano's photo

Donna Patalano
Middlesex County District Attorney

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost challenge with 47% of the primary vote

 

Donna started her career in healthcare management and didn’t attend law school until she was in her 30’s. She likes to explain that her son went off to the 1st grade and she went off to law school. She is the first person in her family to go to college (and then to law school).

 

When she went to law school, she had two interests: appeals and urban planning/ land use. After law school, she first worked at Goodwin Proctor in real estate law and then clerked for Judge Elspeth Cypher (who is now a Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice). After that, she worked as a prosecutor in the Suffolk County DA’s office for six years in appeals and homicides. She left to be a defense attorney for several years, specializing in appellate litigation (appealing convictions). Most of her clients didn’t look like her, and through her work as a defense attorney, she learned to see the process through their eyes. In 2011, she returned to the Suffolk County DA’s office as Chief of Professional Integrity and Ethics and built the Conviction Integrity Unit, which hasn’t been maintained since she left.

 

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court appointed her to be the chair of the Board of Bar Overseers, which is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the law profession. As Chair, she hired an Executive Director for the first time and instituted a new IT system and mandatory online registration for all lawyers.

 

Donna says she’s running because we have a broken criminal justice system and criminal justice is finally part of the national conversation. We have someone in the White House who is trying to destroy the rule of law. People should take hope in their local DA because no one has jurisdiction over the DA except for the voters. “The justice system should be the moral backbone of our society, not a black hole,” Donna says, noting the system’s lack of transparency, including in DA Marian Ryan’s office.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent DA Marian Ryan, who has held the seat since April 2013

 

Dynamics of Race: Donna is challenging DA Marian Ryan who was appointed in April 2013 and then elected in November 2014. On the campaign trail, Donna argues that DA Ryan leads an office that lacks transparency and that her dated approach and limited perspective come from having been a prosecutor for too long. Donna says the time is ripe for new, progressive leaders to come forward and that she wants to bring a data-driven approach to the office focused on transparency, accountability and equity. Donna has been endorsed by Justice for Mass, a group of 30+ local progressive organizations that came together this year for the first time to collectively endorse district attorney candidates. This hefty endorsement has sealed her status as the progressive in the race and brings ground game troops heading into the final stretch.

 

In running against an incumbent, Donna’s biggest challenge is keeping up in fundraising. With a district that spans 54 cities and towns, more resources would help her reach more voters through multiple, diverse channels (traditional mail, social media, radio, and field).

Candidate List

website: Andrea Harrington

Andrea Harrington's photo

Andrea Harrington
Berkshire County District Attorney

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won challenge with 40% in a 3-way primary

 

Growing up the daughter of a carpenter and housekeeper in Western Massachusetts, Andrea remembers, in the third grade, cleaning houses with her teen mom because they couldn't afford childcare. She was the first in her family to go to college, and the first to go to law school. She spent her years right after law school fighting death penalty convictions in Florida and came back to Western Massachusetts to start a family and worked to defend poor defendants in the criminal justice system.

 

Andrea is running because Berkshire County is stuck in the past. The DA’s office is stuck on the 1980’s war on drugs. Meanwhile, there’s been a sharp increase in opioid deaths in the last seven months. They have high crime rates; North Adams has the highest crime rate per capita and higher rates of domestic violence than anywhere else in the state. From her experiences in the courtroom and representing people on death row, she knows the criminal justice system fails people of color and poor people. This DA’s office only has a myopic view of criminal justice and operates with a law enforcement mentality.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent DA Paul Caccaviello, who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker in March 2018 after long-time DA David Capeless retired.

 

Dynamics of Race: DA Caccaviello was former DA David Capeless’ 1st Deputy DA, who stepped down halfway through his final year in office and asked Gov. Baker to appoint Caccaviello to the seat. Caccaviello was a registered independent and switched his party registration to Democrat in February before he was appointed. A Supreme Judicial Court ruling found that Caccaviello violated a defendant’s civil rights by removing the one POC from the jury because of race. Perennial candidate Judy Knight is also running against Caccaviello in the primary.

 

Maria’s List endorsed Andrea’s first run for State Senate two years ago. As with the other DA races, Andrea’s endorsement by the Justice for Mass coalition was a big boon that continues her momentum. She has a great shot to win.

Candidate List

website: Jay Gonzalez

Jay Gonzalez's photo

Jay Gonzalez
Governor

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 64% of the primary vote

 

Jay Gonzalez was the former Secretary of Administration and Finance under Governor Deval Patrick during the Great Recession. While in the Administration, he also served as Chairman of the Board of the Massachusetts Health Connector, where he oversaw implementation of Massachusetts’ health care reform, and he co-chaired the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. Afterwards, Gonzalez was chair of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care and, most recently, was President and CEO of CeltiCare Health and New Hampshire Healthy Families, leading the turn-around of an ailing health insurance provider that serves low-income people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: With a 69% approval rating in a July 2018 Morning Consult poll, incumbent Republican Charlie Baker remains the most popular governor in the country.  The Democratic primary field to take him on, as a result, has been shallow.  Citing anemic fundraising that would make it hard for him to unseat Baker, former Mayor of Newton Setti Warren dropped out of the primary race in April, leaving just two primary challengers: Jay and Bob Massie, an environmentalist and entrepreneur. Setti Warren’s exit highlights the challenges facing any Democratic nominee taking on this moderate, well-liked Republican governor in November.  Governor Baker officially launched his re-election campaign this month with over $8 million on hand. Jay Gonzalez reported having $431,660 at the beginning of August and Massie $109,057.

 

Dynamics of Race: There are few policy differences between Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie. Jay is running a better campaign and is the stronger candidate. Jay has extensive experience in government, healthcare and education and is very detailed when talking about policy.  His resume actually resembles Charlie Baker’s; both were budget chiefs and led health insurers, allowing Jay to go head-to-head with Governor Baker without Baker being able to cite experience and know-how as differentiators. Though Bob Massie has an impressive background, concerns about his health have dogged his campaign and prevented him from being considered a serious candidate for Governor.

Candidate List

website: Josh Zakim

Josh Zakim's photo

Josh Zakim
Secretary of State

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost challenge with 33% of the primary vote

 

Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim is an attorney who was elected to the City Council in 2013. Josh began his career at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) where he represented working families facing foreclosure on their homes. He also worked in the Public Finance group of the law firm Mintz Levin, specializing on municipal bond transactions for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, MassPort and the MBTA.

 

Josh currently chairs the City Council’s Committee on Civil Rights and previously chaired the Committee on Housing & Community Development and the Special Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, Planning & Investment. In his first term on the Council, Josh authored the Boston Trust Act, prohibiting the Boston Police Department from detaining residents based on immigration status. He also successfully introduced an ordinance extending protections for tenants whose homes are converted to condominiums or co-ops, including increased financial safeguards for elderly, disabled, and low-income tenants.

 

Josh’s father is the late civil rights activist Lenny Zakim who the famed Zakim Bridge in Boston is named after him.

 

Josh is running because, in Massachusetts, the birthplace of American democracy, both registering to vote and voting itself have become too difficult for too many people. He’s running to be a champion of voting rights and voting access.

 

On the Issues

 

Analysis of Campaign: Josh is taking on 24-year entrenched incumbent Bill Galvin whose nickname is “the Prince of Darkness.” In a surprise and consequential upset, Zakim won the endorsement of the Democratic Party at the state convention, garnering 55% of delegate votes.

 

The Boston Globe deemed the Secretary of State race “the state’s most nasty and personal race of 2018.” Both campaigns are running negative ads.  Zakim’s ad highlights Galvin’s record as a state legislator from 1975-1991 before he became Secretary of State: voting to ban abortion, to bring back the death penalty and to ban same-sex couple adoptions. Galvin’s ad calls Josh “No-Show Zakim,” saying he hasn’t voted in 15 elections.  Both candidates are trying to draw distinctions for voters, particularly because a June WBUR poll shows 34% of voters are undecided. The same poll showed Galvin had a comfortable lead: 46% to Josh’s 17%, with Galvin popular among older voters. Name recognition is Josh’s biggest challenge: 62% had never heard of him.  With a substantial fundraising haul, Josh’s ability to effectively use his resources to get his message out and turn out his (younger) voters will determine whether he wins on September 4th. 

Candidate List

website: Tahira Amatul-Wadud

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud's photo

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud
MA-1

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost challenge with 29% of the primary vote

 

A black Muslim mother of seven, Tahirah Amatul–Wadud is a Springfield, Massachusetts attorney who runs her own law practice focused on civil rights law and domestic relations. A strong defender of religious freedom, Tahirah is legal counsel to a number of religious congregations across Massachusetts and New York. She serves on the board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and as a Commissioner on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, which helped pass equal pay in the state. She also serves on the Family Advisory Council of Boston Children's Hospital, where her daughter received life-saving heart surgery as a newborn. 

 

Tahirah is running because, particularly in this post-Trump era, people are feeling hopeless and Congressman Neal has been missing for years. (Last year, Indivisible Williamsburg took out an ad in the Daily Hampshire Gazette with Congressman Neal’s face next to the words: “Has anyone seen this man?”) “I would always be responsive to the constituents,” Tahirah says. “I sincerely believe that you cannot be a defender of democracy when you have a divided loyalty between your constituents and your financiers,” she says in an interview with The Nation, referencing Neal. 75% of Neal’s $2.5 million campaign war chest is from PACs. Tahirah, meanwhile, has pledged not to accept any corporate campaign donations and advocates for the repeal of Citizens United.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race: Congressman Neal is currently the longest-serving member of the Massachusetts delegation, having held this seat since 1989. The biggest and most spread out Massachusetts district in area, MA-1 includes 87 cities and towns in western and central Massachusetts. This is a safely held Democratic seat and the primary will determine the winner.

 

Dynamics of Race: Endorsements from progressive organizations ranging from Indivisible and Progressive Democrats of America to Rise Up Western Massachusetts and Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) show Tahirah’s strong grassroots support and the excitement among progressive activists about her campaign. Fundraising is Tahirah’s biggest challenge as she takes on Congressman Neal’s $2.5 million campaign war chest. At the end of the last fundraising quarter, Tahirah had brought in $72,047. This race will test the strength of Tahirah’s ground game, and her ability to channel the excitement surrounding her candidacy into foot soldiers that can reach and persuade voters across this vast district.

Candidate List

website: Barbara L'Italien

Barbara L'Italien's photo

Barbara L'Italien
MA-3

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost with 15.2% of vote in 10-way primary; came in 3rd

 

Barbara is currently a Massachusetts state senator and has been a state representative, a school committee member, an elder care social worker, and a mom on a mission to provide a better life for all, starting with our most vulnerable. When Rudy, the oldest of her four children, was diagnosed with autism, she fought for her son to get the basic services, care, and education he needed. She went on to run for the state House of Representatives in 2002, where she set out to make sure all kids with disabilities and their families are supported. She became the statewide leader on the issue, building the nation’s strongest safety net for people with autism and leading on landmark legislation to allow people on the autism spectrum to get health insurance. Barbara has also been a leader in the fights for single-payer health care, quality public education for all children, equal marriage, better services and supports for seniors, and jobs and a fair economy. She led the charge in Massachusetts against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, the NRA, and the school privatization industry. Barbara’s running because our country is facing some of the biggest challenges we’ve ever seen. She wants to take her experience and success in Massachusetts to Washington to make sure we have a system that works for all of us, and especially those who need extra support to thrive.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race: Ten candidates are running in this crowded Democratic primary to replace retiring Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. The Democratic nominee faces Republican Rick Green in an undoubtedly tough November general election. Rick Green has already been running paid negative ads against Barbara ahead of the Democratic primary, indicating that Republicans believe Barbara will win the Democratic primary. Though a Democrat is likely to win the seat, the district voted for Republicans Charlie Baker (Governor) and Scott Brown (US Senate).

 

Dynamics of Race: An August Boston Globe/UMass Lowell poll showed Barbara to be tied for 2nd place (at 13%) and the leading woman in the race. Dan Koh, former chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, polled higher (at 19%), and Barbara is tied with former Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford. Lori Trahan polled in 4th place (at 8%), Juana Matias in 5th (at 6%), Alexandria Chandler in 6th (at 4%) and Bopha Malone in the bottom tier (with less than 1%). The largest block of voters (29%) are still undecided with less than two weeks before the primary, meaning the race is still fluid and open.

 

Barbara’s field operation is strong and active in deep democracy practices. Her campaign fully coordinates with the Yes on 1: Safe Patient Limits ballot campaign. They share door-knockers, put up each other’s signs and Barbara even loans part of her campaign office to the Yes on 1 campaign.

 

Fundraising is Barbara’s biggest challenge. She is being out-raised by three other candidates in the top tier: Dan Koh, Rufus Gifford and Lori Trahan. Her strong field operation gives her a strong chance to win. In these final days, if she is able to raise additional resources to reach more voters through TV and bolster an already strong field operation, she will be hard to beat.

Candidate List

Ayanna Pressley website

Ayanna Pressley photo Ayanna's Video Bio

Ayanna Pressley
MA-07

Democratic Primary — September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 59% of the primary vote

 

Ayanna Pressley is an advocate, a policy-maker, an activist, and survivor. Raised in Chicago, as the only child of an activist mother who instilled the value of civic participation, Ayanna understands the role that government should play in helping to lift up communities that are in need of the most help. Her focus as a City Councilor - stabilizing families and communities, reducing and preventing violence and trauma, combating poverty, and addressing issues that disproportionately impact women and girls - is a reflection of her 25 years in public service.

 

 

On the Issues

  1. Economic Growth and Opportunity for All — despite a growing economy across the region, income inequality is a persistent problem that is pushing out longtime residents. Councilor Pressley wants to focus on creating fair economic policies that give tax relief to lower and middle-income workers, not the wealthy and big corporations. She supports expanding the earned income tax credit, social security, improving infrastructure, reforming Wall Street, supporting small business and aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering women to succeed, seeking fair and comprehensive immigration policies or fighting for family paid leave and LGBTQ right. She also wants to create good-paying jobs, that’s why she supports increasing the minimum wage to $15, major investments in workforce training, including apprenticeships and vocational education in advanced manufacturing and technology to help young people find careers.

  2. Education — to build a more inclusive and sustainable 21st century economy, Councilor Pressley will prioritize improving public schools by guaranteeing universal pre-kindergarten, debt free college, investing in school buildings, school food programs and in life-oriented education program. She believes that if we’re going to arm our teachers it’s with well-rounded support staff, students who are ready to learn, an environment that enables focus, the tools to teach and the salary that honors their craft

  3. Health Care and Public Safety — protecting the Affordable Care Act and push further by-passing Medicare for all. Councilor Pressley will continue her fight for women’s reproductive justice health, lead on ending the addiction crisis, and enabling health systems to succeed whether it addressing the mental health component of gun violence or streamlining patient data for better treatment. Unlike her opponent, she will go further on public safety by demanding gun control, improving local law enforcement, and eliminating human trafficking.

     

Status of Race: District is located in Greater Boston and includes two-thirds of the City of Boston, all of Everett, Chelsea, Randolph, and Somerville, as well as half of Cambridge and a few precincts in Milton. This is a safely held Democratic seat and the primary will determine winner.

 

Dynamics of Race: Head to head Democratic Primary against 18-year incumbent, Michael Capuano, who is generally well-like by the establishment. Recent polls show a competitive race between Ayanna Pressley and Mike Capuano even though a large swath of voters have not yet heard of Ayanna. She already leads Capuano among those who know her, and we can expect her support to continue to expand as more voters become familiar with her and her story. The current political environment will also boost Ayanna, as Democrats are fed up with Congress and hungry for change. This sentiment is especially strong among women, younger voters and voters of color, all core constituencies for Ayanna. Capuano’s support is below 50%, a concerning sign for any incumbent, especially in a change environment like this one. His only real election was in 1998, in a crowded field, where he earned only 23% of the vote. Her legislative achievements resulted in her being the top vote getter in three consecutive elections, making her the first woman in 30 years to achieve this distinction and the first person of color to top the ticket.

 

Pressley's Campaign: Pressley has launched a bold and aggressive multi-ethnic communications, grassroots, and fundraising program led by leading local and DC strategists, who raised $100,000 one week after the campaign’s launch and a total of $364,000 by the end of first quarter. With a tough primary ahead, Councilor Pressley faces an incumbent, who closed out 2017 with $700,000, therefore fundraising is the biggest challenge she faces. Her second challenge is that as a well-liked former mayor and Congressman, Capuano retains a solid reservoir of goodwill and institutional support. Explaining how AP’s vision for the office—and what role a Congresswoman can and should play in today’s politics—will be vital to winning this primary.

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2017 CANDIDATES


We're onto something! All Maria's List endorsed candidates made it through the municipal preliminary elections to November, and Yvonne Spicer, Ayanna Pressley, Lydia Edwards and Kim Janey were then ELECTED in historic wins in Framingham and Boston.

 

Mayor Yvonne Spicer is the first Mayor of Framingham. Boston City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley, who was the first Woman of Color on the Council, was re-elected resoundingly and is joined by two newly-elected Women of Color powerhouses who ran grassroots-powered campaigns. In a diverse district that spans East Boston, the North End and Charlestown, Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, an immigrant rights advocate who led the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, is the first person of color to hold the seat. Boston City Councilor Kim Janey is an education advocate who, as a child in the Boston Public Schools, was bused from her Roxbury community to Charlestown. She is the first woman to represent the district. With the election of Councilor Edwards and Councilor Janey, the Boston City Council now has a historic high of SIX women (out of 13 members) serving.

Dr. Yvonne Spicer, Framingham, Mayor (Elected)
Ayanna Pressley, Boston, Councilor At-Large (Elected)
Lydia Edwards, Boston, City Council - District 1 (Elected)
Kim Janey, Boston, City Council - District 7 (Elected)

Nicole Castillo, Newton, City Council - Ward 1 At-Large
Stephanie Martins, Everett, City Council - Ward 2
Jynai McDonald, Springfield, City Council At-Large
Dimple Rana, Revere, City Council At-Large

 

Yvonne Spicer for Mayor website

 

Dr. Yvonne Spicer photo

Dr. Yvonne Spicer

Framingham

Mayor

Preliminary Election - September 26th

 

In 1985, Yvonne moved to Framingham from Brooklyn, New York for her first job out of college: to be a teacher at Farley Middle School. She "never left," she says, She worked in both the Framingham Public Schools and the Newton Public Schools as a teacher and administrator, and now serves as the Vice President of the Museum of Science, where she started and leads a division that focuses on building STEM education partnerships among school districts and business leaders, policymakers and nonprofits across the country.

 

Yvonne holds four degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Arts, a Master of Science in Technology Education, a Doctorate of Education from UMass Boston and an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

 

Yvonne serves in local Framingham government, as a Town Meeting member and on the Standing Committee on Ways and Means.

 

Key Priorities/Issues:

  1. Economic Development - "There hasn't been a lot of growth of new businesses, in terms of the innovation economy: green technologies and jobs that are looking forward that are not impacting our carbon footprint, for instance. We have to look at micro-businesses and think about ways we're building partnerships with businesses to employ our citizens. When people can invest in the community by buying homes, by living and working there, it makes for a more comprehensive economy," Yvonne says.

  2. Maintaining and Preserving Our Open Spaces - "It's important that we become very good stewards of the spaces we've been given because once we give up green spaces, we can't get them back. We have to also make sure they are safe places for families to go and enjoy."

  3. Education - "Framingham has a great school system and I want to work to keep that path and momentum, and make sure that there are opportunities for all children to excel and succeed in school," Yvonne says.

  4. Community Safety and Health - "We have to look to national and international best practices as well as look to local expertise to make Framingham the safest community it can be and to address health crises, like the opioid epidemic that has touched all of us in some way."

 

Seat Status: In April, residents voted to change Framingham from a town to a city form of government and so will be electing the first mayor of Framingham. Seven people are running for mayor, including former State Representative John Stefanini. Yvonne is considered to be a top-tier contender to become Mayor. The September 26th preliminary election will narrow the field down to two.

 

Dynamics of Race: The race took a nasty turn in May when mayoral candidate and former Representative John Stefanini apologized for removing Yvonne Spicer campaign materials and placing them behind a trash barrel in the Framingham Public Library. The incident was caught on library surveillance video and reported by the local press. View video

 

Analysis of Race/Spicer Campaign: Yvonne has a strong campaign structure, with a strategist, campaign manager and field director, all with prior campaign experience, on board. Her team has a strong field plan and sense of the numbers needed to win. Because of the historic nature of electing Framingham's first mayor, Yvonne's campaign expects a high turnout. The possibility of a progressive black woman as Framingham's first mayor has already energized Framingham progressives, and the campaign expects that to translate into votes on election day.

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Ayanna Pressley website

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Ayanna Pressley

Boston

Re-election City Councilor At-large

General Election- November

 

EMILY's List honored Ayanna with its 2015 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award. The New Republic's Rebecca Traister said, "I was completely transfixed by her. The other people at my table were all saying, 'Holy crap.' It was like listening to Obama in 2004 - she was so clearly the real deal." Traister tweeted that night from he event: "I have seen the politics' future and it is Ayanna Pressley."

 

Raised by a single mother, Ayanna often talks about her mother as her inspiration. "I like to say [my mother] gave me roots, my wings and my voice," Ayanna says. "My mother was never cynical about the role that government, compassionate government, could play in our lives. On Election Day, from a very young age, I felt powerful." In 2011, her mother, Sandra Pressley, passed away from leukemia more than a year after her daughter became the first woman of color elected to the Boston City Council in its 106-year history.

 

Going against conventional political wisdom, Ayanna ran and won in 2009 and 2013 on a platform of "saving our girls" because, she says, "I believe broken girls grow up to be broken women. I know intimately the challenges of single parenthood, I'm a survivor of a near decade of childhood sexual assault. I didn't just run on my resume." (She was a senior aide to Congressman Joe Kennedy and political director for US Senator John Kerry.) "I told the totality of my journey. That resonated."

 

Key Priorities/Accomplishments:

  1. Girls and Women - Ayanna created and chairs the Committee on Healthy Women, Families and Communities. She spearheaded the passage of the Boston Public Schools' first-ever sexual education and condom availability policy.

  2. Safe and Healthy Communities - Ayanna held a first-of-its-kind hearing called Family Voices, in which families of homicide victims were given center stage to testify. She then worked collaboratively to implement several of the families' recommendations, including expanded trauma supports at Boston Public Schools and creation of monthly provider meetings to improve coordinated care for victims' families.

  3. Economic Equity - Ayanna successfully advanced a bill to reform the state's liquor licensing laws for Boston, retuning control of the Licensing Board to the City for the first time in 100 years and securing 75 new licenses for the City.

  4. Arts and Culture - Working with the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Ayanna helped establish designated Cultural Districts and a Literacy Cultural District, the first in the country. She has also fought to sustain and expand arts programming in the Boston Public Schools.

 

Seat Status: Eight people are running in the November election for four at-large seats. Will all four incumbents running, there are no open seats.

 

Analysis of race: Ayanna topped the ticket in her last election and it's important for her to do so again to show strength.

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Lydia Edwards website

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Lydia Edwards

Boston

City Councilor, District 1

Preliminary Election - September 26th

 

Lydia's mother, a 23-year veteran of the US Air Force, raised Lydia and her twin sister on her own. After her mother left the military, their family struggled to make ends meet; her mother had two jobs making $5.15/hour and both Lydia and her sister had to work as well.

 

Lydia has a law degree from American University and a post-graduate law degree in taxation from Boston University. She became a public interest attorney after volunteering at the Brazilian Worker Center in Allston. "My first day there, there was a line out the door...I started that day in the kitchen with two cardboard boxes." She went on to run the nation's first domestic workers' clinic there. "I say the pain and sometimes shame in people's eyes when they said, 'Yes I am undocumented but I did work and I should get paid.' I saw things I didn't even know happened anymore: people fired because they were pregnant, or people who were injured on the job and too scared to say anything."

 

Now fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, she went on to a fellowship at Greater Boston Legal Services, where she successfully led a diverse coalition of advocates in the effort to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which put labor protections in place for house-cleaners, nannies and other in-home caretakers. The ground-breaking law passed in one legislative session and went into effect in April 2015, making Massachusetts only the 4th state in the country to pass this kind of law. For this, the Boston Globe honored Lydia as a 2015 Bostonian of the Year, calling her "the lawyer with the heart of an activist." "To human traffickers and employers who don't play fair with immigrant workers, a word to the wise: Do not mess with Lydia Edwards."

 

Lydia went on to lead the City of Boston's new Office of Housing Stability, setting up a weekly clinic to help renters at risk of losing their homes and lobbying lawmakers to strengthen tenant protections.

 

Key Priorities/Accomplishments:

  1. Housing and Development - Lydia wants to expand housing opportunity and create pathways to homeownership. "One of the ideas I have is that any time a building goes into foreclosure and there are tenants inside it, the tenants will be able to purchase it at the foreclosure rate before a developer can. It's the right of first refusal and it actually works. It puts people on the pathway to ownership and sometimes gives them a chance they wouldn't have. If they can't afford to purchase it, they can assign that right or give it to a developer who will work with them to help them stay in their home."

  2. Education - "I'm a proud product of public schools. Quality, free, local education is a necessity for any chance in today's world. Students, parents and teachers need funding and support from our city government. I will be a champion for public education across the district. The Boston Teachers' Union has endorsed Lydia.

  3. Transportation - "I will approach developers with an eye toward aligning new projects to meet city goals on quality transportation access and environmental sustainability."

  4. Environment - "I'll fight to implement stringent open space requirements for waterfront developers, maintain existing park space and create new green space, and push for an affordable ferry service to reduce transportation pollution.

 

Seat Status: Three people are running in the preliminary for this open seat, including Stephen Passacantilli, who worked for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and the outgoing councilor Sal LaMattina. The preliminary will narrow the field down to two.

 

Analysis of race: Lydia is running for the East Boston, Charlestown and North End district city council seat after running for state senate last year and carrying East Boston, so she brings a proven East Boston base. She is running a strong grassroots campaign and is a top-tied candidate in this race.

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Kim Janey website

 

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Kim Janey

Boston

City Council - District 7

Preliminary Election - September 26th

 

"I was born into a large family of educators, artists, entrepreneurs and activists, and they taught me the importance of service, leadership and protest. At an early age, I became a community organizer and I've been fighting for my community ever since."

 

Married out of high school and then becoming teen parents to Kim, both Kim's parents were teachers and came of age during the 1960's Civil Rights Movement. Her dad attended Northeastern and led a protest and take-over of the President's Office to fight for Black Studies at college. Her mom went to a Freedom School when she was young and participated in boycotts here in Boston to stand in solidarity with those in the South.

 

The first school Kim attended was the New School for Children, a community school Kim's parent's helped start which was modeled after the Freedom Schools of the South. After that, she went into Boston Public Schools, and "they wanted to hold me back a year, because...they thought [the school I was coming from] was a lower quality school, but my parents stood up and fought and said: no, she needs to go in her right grade, and so that was an important lesson for me as a little seven year-old girl; to see my parents stand up taught me the importance of parent voice and advocacy and, again, protest and organizing."

 

In the Boston Public Schools, she was bused to Charlestown during the 1970's desegregation era where, she says, she "learned a different kind of lesson around the ugliness of this city. Going to Charlestown and facing angry mobs who were throwing stones at us and calling us names as young children was traumatic." She finished her education and graduated high school through the METCO program.

 

Kim is currently the senior project director at the Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC), where she leads advocacy for equity, opportunity and access for children in Boston, and particularly for children of color, children living in poverty, immigrant students and students with disabilities. "In my work at MAC, I have worked with a lot of folks in the community: community-based organizations, parents, students to help them develop their voice around an advocacy agenda that will help us eliminate opportunity and achievement gaps."

 

Key Priorities/Issues:

  1. Education - "I've taken all of the lessons in terms of my own education and have applied that in my own advocacy for children in Boston, fighting for them around closing the opportunity and achievement gap."

  2. Development - "There's a lot of development happening in my neighborhood of Roxbury and that creates a great opportunity to see what we want to see in the neighborhood, but I think people are also fearful about what this means for them in terms of displacement. It's really important we have someone in district 7 who can be a strong voice of the residents, making sure we have a seat at the table, making sure that the residents who live there now will benefit from the development that's happening and have a say in what it actually looks like."

 

Seat Status: The sitting city councilor Tito Jackson is leaving the seat to run for mayor. Thirteen people are running for this open seat, including Somali-American refugee and immigrant rights activist Deeqo Jibril and former state representative Carlos Henriquez who was expelled from the House after being convicted of assaulting a woman. The non-partisan preliminary election will narrow the field down to two.

 

Analysis of Race: Kim has deep family roots in Roxbury, Fenway, South End and Dorchester district, has raised the most money among the field of candidates (a key indicator of strength and viability), and is running a strong campaign. Even as a first-time candidate, she is rising about the pack in this crowded race.

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McDonald for Springfield website

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Jynai McDonald

Springfield

City Councilor At-large

Preliminary Election - September 19

 

Jynai is a lifelong resident of Springfield. She's a single mother to three children: one seven-year-old son and twins who are four-years-old.

 

Committed to the community through her lifetime work in nonprofits, she currently works as the Western Massachusetts Regional Manager at Training Resources of America, an organization that helps people enroll in college and provides job training. She works with an at-risk population and helps them become self-sufficient, which is her story as well.

 

A long-time community activist and Neighbor to Neighbor member, Jynai has advocated to increase services for youth as a way to prevent crime and has advocated for increased diversity in hiring at the soon-to-be-built MGM Springfield casino. She sits on the 15-member appointed Springfield Police and Community Relations Committee and works to improve relations between police and residents.

 

Key Priorities/Accomplishments:

  1. Good Paying Jobs & Job Training - "MGM is coming into the city and it's important to ensure that residents are trained for these positions." Jynai also supports the "Fight for $15" minimum wage.

  2. Increasing Homeownership - "Springfield offers $2,500 grants for homeowners but it used to be $5,000. If Springfield could use that rainy day fund or extra money from the budget at the end of the fiscal year to get those grants up again, it would decrease blighted property and keep people here in the city."

  3. Strengthen Our Publics Schools - "It's important to increase parent engagement and clear the Pre-K wait list in the city. Many residents don't want to send their kids to Springfield Public Schools, but if there were more key stakeholders and influential people sending their kids to the schools, then the city itself would be more invested."

  4. Other Hot Issues in the City -

    * Police Commission - Jynai supports and is pushing to replace the police commissioner with a policy commission body "so the hiring, firing and police accountability isn't left to just one person."

    * Residency Requirement - She also supports enforcing the residency requirement to work in the city. Five of the seven fire chiefs live in other cities. Their salaries and tax dollars could otherwise be reinvested in the city if they lived in Springfield.

 

Seat Status: One of the five at-large council seats are open. Fourteen candidates are running; only ten will make it to the general election. If elected, Jynai would be only the second black woman to serve on the Springfield City Council in it's history.

 

Analysis of race: Of the many amazing candidates running across the state this year, our friends at MassAlliance flagged Jynai as the candidate who needs our help the most and at the campaign this cycle where a donation would make the greatest impact. Western Massachusetts Politics and Insight says that, "the nature of Springfield's municipal electorate - older and whiter that the overall population - favors candidates from better-off neighborhoods in at-large races..., but and early look suggests McDonald could assemble a coalition broad enough to crack through, and presumable, govern."

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Nicole Castillo website

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Nicole Castillo

Newton

City Councilor, Ward 1 At-Large

General Election - November

 

"I grew up in Pueblo, Colorado. Most of my family is from Southern Colorado and/or Northern Mexico so it's a pretty big deal that I'm in the Northeast. I attended the University of Colorado Boulder, then moved, first to Ithaca where I worked at a domestic violence shelter, and then to Boston to pursue a Masters of Divinity Degree at the Harvard Divinity School. My focus was on community organizing and advocacy from the perspective of engaged Buddhism."

 

"I had always known that I wanted to do some type of advocacy work related to social change, but it was really the experience I had when I was working in Ithaca that confirmed it."

 

In 2013, she moved to Newton to work as a domestic and sexual violence advocate at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. She is now the Public Policy Director at the Mass Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, where she "found herself at the front lines of repeated budget cuts at the state and federal level, and imminent threats to reproductive justice and women's rights." She is also a leader in the LGBTQ community and serves on the board of OUT Metrowest.

 

As a candidate, she sees her role as working on policy from her experience as an advocate.

 

Key Priorities/Accomplishments:

  1. Sustainable Growth and Development - "There is a need for more housing but it's unclear in the community on how to develop that. There is a significant aging population who can't afford taxes on their homes and who want to downsize but there are no options. There needs to be civic dialogue around that. I also support our efforts toward increased citywide use of renewable energy, more walkable and bikeable streets, and long-term solutions to our many public transportation needs."

  2. Welcoming City Ordinance - "I support Newton's Welcoming City Ordinance, which I believe is both a testament to the type of inclusive community we are, and also ensures that no family, regardless of their immigration status, will be afraid to reach out to law enforcement if they are a victim of a crime, to seek medical attention, or to register their children for school." The sitting city councilor and incumbent Jay Ciccone is the only Newton city councilor who voted against the ordinance.

  3. Opioid Crisis - The opioid epidemic is more severe in Newton than it is in Waltham, Brookline and Needham combined. "There needs to be a multi-organizational approach that addresses immediate and long-term needs."

  4. Infrastructure Improvement - "In my conversations with folks at the doors, it is clear that we all feel incredibly frustrated by the state of our roads. I am pleased to see that our city has invested in StreetScan technology, so that we can begin not just to repair our roads, but to put them on a maintenance system to disrepair and reduce future costs."

  5. Education and the Achievement Gap - "Latino and black students are achieving at 50% the rates of white and Asian-American students." (Latino and black students make up about 10% of students in Newton Public Schools.) "I will work with our school committee and teachers to ensure that there is funding to support our excellent public schools, and to address the achievement gap that persists among students of color so that all students have the best foundation to succeed. Excellent public education is how we ensure everyone gets the education the deserve."

 

Seat Status: There are two at-large Ward 1 seats (in which councilors represent the ward by vote is city-wide) and one additional Ward 1 councilor (in which the vote is limited to Ward 1). Three people are running for the two Ward 1 at-large seats, including incumbent Jay Ciccone. Current Ward 1 Councilor Alison Leary is leaving her seat to run for the Ward 1 at-large seat.

 

Analysis of race: Nicole is a recent addition to the race, which is not a problem; given that there's no preliminary, she has time to catch-up. In the short period of time she's been in the race, she's worn out two pairs of shoes door-knocking and shown strength and discipline in hitting her fundraising goals.

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Rana for Revere website

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Dimple Rana

Revere

City Councilor At-large

Preliminary Election - September 12

 

Dimple grew up in Revere and attended Revere Public Schools. Her family has lived in the city for over 30 years.

 

Dimple is the first person of color to work at City Hall. She is currently the Director of Healthy Community Initiatives. "I've seen first-hand that City Hall is not accessible to everyone, especially if you don't speak English."

 

Before working at City Hall, she worked as a youth worker and immigrant right advocate. In the 1990s. she worked with at-risk youth in Revere as part of Roca, which aims to disrupt the cycle of incarceration and poverty by helping your people transform their lives. She also did HIV/AIDS outreach to youth of color in Boston and then moved to Cambodia to help refugees who were deported en masse from the US reintegrate into the country. She is also a Local 22 union member.

 

Dimple was diagnosed with cancer last year; she is currently in remission. It's not not an ideal time for her to run, but she watched a city council hearing in April in which two city councilors filed a motion declaring that Revere will never be a sanctuary city. One of the councilors said, "Those people [immigrants] multiple like cockroaches." After watching that, she felt like she had to run.

 

Key Priorities/Accomplishments:

  1. Youth - Revere needs a youth center (there currently isn't one) and a new high school, one that could also serve as a full-service community center. Current high school is on the verge of losing accreditation because its science facilities are out of compliance with the state. A youth center and a new high school were initiatives that the youth in Revere Youth in Action, an organization she co-founded, advocated for.

  2. Sustainable Economic Development and Not Displacement - "Revere is a gateway city and we need to create more empowerment opportunities ad stabilize households and neighborhoods. We need more rent-to-own housing programs and to adopt inclusionary zoning policy like Boston. It's important to make sure people who live here can stay here."

 

Seat Status: Of the five at-large seats, one is open. Twelve people are running, including former mayor Dan Rizzo. The top 10 will advance to the general election.

 

Analysis of race: Dimple can't afford to leave her job and run so it ties her hands in fundraising. (Election law says you personally can't fundraise for any political campaign, including your own, if you work in government. However, others can raise money for you.) In spite of this, her campaign is meeting their fundraising goals. Dimple is the first and only woman of color to run for city council in Revere. In this 39% immigrant city, she is the kind of candidate who could inspire new, non-traditional, immigrant voters to show up.

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Stephanie Martins website

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Stephanie Martins

Everett

City Council, Ward 2

Preliminary Election - September 19

 

Born in Brazil to parents who divorced, Stephanie came to America to live with her father, a restaurant manager, when she was 14 years old. When she was 17, her father moved to Florida but she decided to stay so she could finish school. She had to work three jobs, making $5.25/hr. minimum wage, to support herself. Two weeks before she would graduate from high school, her mom passed away in Brazil. Eleven month later, her grandfather, who helped raise her, passed away. She started underage drinking and, one night, was arrested for drunk driving after running a red light. She says that it was her wake-up call. "I went back to church to find my healing, and then I started helping other kids to go through challenges the right way instead of doing thinks that will only hurt yourself." She started volunteering with a youth ground and became a Big Sister.

 

She attended Harvard Extension School, graduation with a college degree eight years later. While she was at Harvard, she tutored Harvard employees who were applying for US citizenship. She herself became a US citizen in 2009.

 

Currently, she is a realtor, and has a company with her husband who is in construction; together they build and sell properties. She also does legal work for an attorney in Boston. She wants to go to law school.

 

Key Priorities/Accomplishments:

  1. Making City Hall Accessible - She wants to make City Hall accessible to everyone, not just to those with friends in City Hall. She notes that nothing is translated into other languages.

  2. Fighting for Everett Workers- Stephanie supports the Fight for $15 minimum wage campaign. "It was hard enough for me to make it on minimum wage when I was 17 and working three jobs, and I didn't even have kids."

  3. Food Security - Hunger is an issue in Everett. The city has a food pantry but it's under-utilized because of the shame people have around others knowing they are without food. "We need to re-imaging how to provide food to the hungry."

  4. Education - "Kids get lost and don't get to the other side in terms of getting their degree. It's important that kids have a strong support system of teachers and mentors." Stephanie voted against the charter school ballot initiative last year. "If we can do something better, why not do it for the public schools. There's no need to continue to segregate."

 

Seat Status: Three people are running for the city council seat, including the incumbent Stephen Simonelli. He lost his tongue to cancer and has a hard time speaking, so his nephew accompanies him and handles speaking duties. Though it is a ward council seat, the vote is citywide. Two people will move forward to the general election.

 

Analysis of race: In this 41% immigrant community, Stephanie is the only person of color running for city council and she would be the city's first Latina city councilor. Though voters in local races here are traditionally more white and older, Stephanie can win if she's able to inspire more no-traditional, progressive voters to turn out. She has gotten good press (a feature article in the Metro section of the Boston Globe in June."

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