Pressley: Why Jamaica Plain Residents Should Vote for Me

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I have dedicated my life to the eradication of poverty and inequality in all their forms. I have listened, organized, and partnered to elevate the voices of communities and individuals who are too often left behind -- whether that’s the single mother in Somerville, the entrepreneur in Roxbury, the electrician in Everett, or the grandmother in Jamaica Plain. Now, as we face down entrenched inequalities that are only being made worse by the cruel and draconian policies advanced by the Administration in Washington, we need that same kind of empathetic, activist leadership in Congress.

At-Large Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley

The 7th district is one of the most diverse districts in the country, but it is also one of the most unequal. Striking evidence of this inequality can be found simply by riding the #1 bus from Kendall Square in Cambridge to Dudley Square in Roxbury. Along the route, median household income drops by as much as $50,000, and life expectancy by up to 30 years. Across the communities of the 7th District, persistent inequities exist in educational attainment, healthcare access, and economic opportunity. In Jamaica Plain and Mission Hill, residents struggle with unequal access to transit, the rising cost of living, and the increasing displacement of families who have called these neighborhoods home for generations.

We must be clear that, while the Trump Administration has made many of these issues worse, the roots of this inequality go back a generation or more. Many of the entrenched disparities experienced by residents of the 7th District today can be traced to past policy decisions -- redlining, unequal access to the GI Bill, the disastrous effect of the War on Drugs, welfare reform, and many other decisions made in Washington. While our representatives in Congress must stand up to the President, their work cannot stop there -- the job description has changed. To address the inequities that currently exist in our district we need representatives who can articulate a progressive vision for the 7th District, and who can partner with community to make real progress. That is the work I have done on the Boston City Council, and throughout my life.

During this campaign, I have developed an Equity Agenda that includes bold ideas to address challenges in health, education, violence and trauma, immigration, the environment, and many other areas -- ideas like Medicare-for-all, debt-free higher education, defunding ICE, expanded access to school nurses, an intentional focus on maternal mortality, regional transportation planning, and steps to ensure equity in our response to climate change. We are now at a crossroads -- this can go down as one of the darkest times in our history, or we can work together to usher in one of the most progressive, change-making eras in a generation. To defeat the hate in Washington and make real progress for the communities in the 7th District will require more than a vote on the floor of Congress, it will require dedicated, activist leadership. It will require a movement.

I am running for Congress because that is the kind of leader I have been throughout my career, and it is the kind of leadership this district needs and deserves from its representative in Washington.

At-Large Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is a Democratic Party candidate for the 7th Congressional District.