Highlight leadership on healthcare, criminal justice reform, and the environment

JAMAICA PLAIN, MA – Local community leaders and activists announced their support for State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez (D-Jamaica Plain), who is running for re-election in the 15th Suffolk District, which includes the communities of Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Roslindale, and Brookline.

Those who spoke represented a diverse array of community interests and progressive issue areas, including access to healthcare, affordable housing, immigration, education, climate change, and violence prevention. Sánchez, who is the first Latino to chair the House Ways and Means Committee, has worked in the trenches with these community leaders and activists, who spoke to his progressive leadership and record delivering for the communities of the 15th Suffolk District.

“I’m humbled to have the support of the people here and thousands of constituents in my district as well as people around the state,” Sánchez said. “Together, we’ve built a stronger district and made a difference in the lives of people across Massachusetts. And working together, we’ll keep tackling the biggest challenges head on to ensure justice in our district and in our Commonwealth.”

“Jeffrey is deliberate, thoughtful, compassionate, and cares about underserved communities. Jeff was one of the original supporters of criminal justice reform in 2005, and was the driving force to make expungement possible in Massachusetts, so young people would have a chance to turn their lives around. It was through Jeffrey’s leadership that we passed what’s considered the most progressive criminal justice reform package in this country. In this environment, there’s so much more to do, and we need Jeff in the State House to lead that fight.”

Horace Small, Executive Director of Union of Minority Neighborhoods

“No one understands the intersection of climate change and public health more than Chairman Sánchez. As someone who grew up in public housing, he’s seen firsthand the impact of carbon emissions on people with asthma and pre-existing conditions. He’s spent his whole career working on renewables, gas leaks, and making sure that Massachusetts remains number one for energy efficiency. We need someone like him fighting for us. The ELM action fund is proud to stand in support of Jeffrey Sánchez.”

Casey Bowers, Legislative Director of Environmental league of Massachusetts Action Fund.

“Jeffrey has always been our partner on the environment. When he was new to the job in 2004, he worked with the community to plant trees and fix the gas leaks that threatened their health, long before gas leaks were a popular issue. That wasn’t easy, but he’s always found a way to make things happen to improve access to open space and the environment in our community.”

Sarah Freeman, Jamaica Plain resident and member of the Arborway Coalition

“Jeff has been a key voice in state government and one of the most critical leaders shaping the future of health policy. We’ve come a long way in this state: we are number one in the nation in terms of the lowest rate of uninsurance. We have an affordability structure in this state that is far better than what’s in the Affordable Care Act, because Jeff has made sure the state invests in affordability. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s incredibly important to have Jeffrey’s leadership in the House of Representatives.”

John McDonough, Healthcare expert at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Advisor to President Obama and Senator Ted Kennedy on the Affordable Care Act, and former State Representative

“Jeffrey has not forgotten where he came from, and has worked hard to put himself in a position to translate the needs of our community to others with decision-making roles. Under his leadership, over 600 affordable housing units have been developed in Jackson Square and Mission Hill using state dollars he fought for. These are truly affordable units, and would not be possible without Jeffrey’s understanding of the need, process, and passion to make things happen. Please join me on September 4th in voting for Jeffrey Sánchez to make sure we have a strong, passionate, and experienced leader representing our needs on Beacon Hill!”

Pat Flaherty, Mission Hill resident and housing activist

“Jeffrey has been a long-time champion and unsung hero of LGBTQ rights. As people debated my civil rights on Beacon Hill, he stood inside the State House advocating for LGBTQ equality. Without him, I would not be able to marry my wife. As Chair of Ways and Means, Jeff is the first one in the room and the last one out. He’s there fighting for our progressive values. I know he does not give up, and he will continue to fight for all the people in his district and in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

Anne Rousseau, Jamaica Plain resident and community activist

“As a sociologist, I have spent years finding ways to eliminate inequalities around social determinants of health, such as education. Jeff understands these factors, and has always been committed to make sure that where you are born, what language you speak, and the color of your skin never limit your access to a great education. For 15 years he pushed to overturn a one-size-fits all English Language Learners’ policy that was failing students in our public schools. Last November, the bill he was fighting for was signed into law. And under Jeff’s leadership, this year’s budget made a record investment in K-12 education to provide opportunities for all public school students. I am proud of what he’s done to reduce inequalities for communities of color, low-income students, families, and for all of our communities, and look forward to our work together in the future.

Dharma Cortes, Sociologist at Harvard Medical School’s Health Equity Research Lab

“For the past 15 years, Jeff has always been there for the 26,000 youth living in this neighborhood. He’s secured funding for the programs and attended celebrations, but he’s also here for the bad times like funerals and shootings. He’s always the first one on the scene when the community has to come together, and never fails to be a champion and mentor for our youth. Social justice is more than a concept for Jeff – he’s lived it. And as a progressive person of color in leadership, he’ll continue to fight and deliver for social justice.”

Ken Tangvik, Director of Organizing and Engagement at the Hyde Square Task Force