Nika Elugardo has had an impressive career so far. She was a senior policy advisor to state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, founded departments at the Emmanuel Gospel Center to provide education, youth violence prevention and anti-trafficking and more. Her next career move is challenging state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez for the 15th Suffolk/Norfolk District seat.
“It’s been an incredible honor to see how our message of opportunity, prosperity, and justice for all has been met with such enthusiasm in the community, especially as we move toward our official kickoff,” said Elugardo via press release. “It’s time to bring the power and voice of the people back to the State House.” Elugardo's kickoff party is this Thursday (March 29th) at the Frogmore restaurant starting at 6 pm.
A Democrat, Elugardo has a tough task ahead of her in defeating incumbent state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, who is regarded as a powerful politician after being named chair of the Ways & Means Committee in July 2017.
Elugardo, a Jamaica Plain resident, is definitely a formidable challenger to Sanchez, who also lives in Jamaica Plain. The 15th Suffolk/Norfolk seat includes parts of Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Roslindale and Precinct 5 of Brookline.
During her career Elugardo has worked to help people. She managed the National Consumer Law Center's Foreclosure Prevention Project, bringing housing advocates and banking institutions together. The project had an 88 percent success rate of keeping people in their homes, according to Elugardo's campaign website.
“As a child, I could see how poverty and injustice impacted our communities. Since then, I’ve dedicated my life to the struggle for social justice,” said Elugardo. “The people of Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Roslindale, and Brookline deserve someone who has fought for the same values as hard as they have. We need to make sure that this district is the most progressive in Massachusetts.”
While working for state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, she was the Jamaica Plain Liaison and Senior Policy Advisor. And for Chang-Díaz this race is a tough one as she has great respect for Sanchez, but obviously also has a strong relationship with Elugardo.
"This is one of the difficult aspects of Democratic primary politics: multiple people with whom you’ve got relationships sometimes run against one another. In this race, in particular, you've got two very strong candidates: Chairman Sanchez is in a position of enormous power in the State House, and he's been very present and passionate in places in the district like the Mildred Haley development," said Chang-Díaz to Jamaica Plain News. "Nika is a hugely talented and effective advocate and has devoted her career to justice, opportunity, and making Boston stronger. This is going to be a big decision for voters and I have personal relationships with both candidates -- so I won't be endorsing in this race."