State Rep Candidates Talk About Housing, Climate Change, and More

The four candidates for the 15th Suffolk District state representative seat discussed their leadership style, the housing crisis, pandemic, climate change, and more during an online JP Progressives forum on May 24. The four candidates Richard Fierro, Roxanne Longoria, Sam Montaño, and Mary Ann Nelson will face each other in the primary election on September 6, and the winner will advance to the general election on November 8. 
With the scheduled moderator Julio Valero unable to attend the forum, Vanessa Snow (from Mijente and RTCV), Cindy Lu (from JP Progressives), and Melissa Beltran (from JP Progressives) moderated the conversation between candidates. The forum consisted of candidate opening statements with their top three priorities, in-depth and rapid-fire questions, and candidate closing statements. Below is a summary of each candidate’s opening statement, responses to in-depth questions, and  closing statements. 
Below is a full recording of the forum. 

Candidate Opening Statements: 
Fierro is a graduate student at Northeastern University studying public administration. He spoke about his time working for Boston’s 311 constituent services office, the governor’s operations office, and Boston’s Elections Department. “Although I am not originally from here, I have grown to love the city and beautiful Jamaica Plain, and I am proud to call myself a Bostonian,” Fierro said. 
He said that Massachusetts “must create an example for the rest of the country and push comprehensive legislation for green energy and climate resilience, for addiction and recovery services, for housing stability, and for universal Pre-K and tuition-free community college." 
Fierro’s top three priorities are climate change, child care and education, and affordable housing. 
“I’m running for state representative because I know who is affected when systems fail and I want to use my lived experience to be part of the solution,” Longoria said. 
Longoria spoke about her experience working within former Mayor Marty Walsh's administration as Director of Youth Homelessness Initiatives and how she “saw how we need elected officials who understand firsthand the challenges facing our city and its residents." 
“I will build coalitions to help achieve the rent control, climate justice, transit funding, and the criminal legal system reform our city and state desperately need,” Longoria said. 
Montaño opened their speech with a brief acknowledgment of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. 
Montaño then introduced themselves as a “queer, nonbinary Latino who uses she/they pronouns.” They spoke about their experiences that informed “two priorities: housing and substance abuse and recovery with mental health investments.” In addition, Montaño prioritizes environmental justice and “holding space for communities of color as they navigate this quickly changing climate.” 
“For the last eight years, I have been deeply engaged in JP, from advocating for and leading community processes for affordable housing as an organizer with JPNDC to working with Mildred C. Hailey [Apartments] youth in supporting them in their successful campaign for a youth center and painting the unity mural that you see on 273 Centre Street in response to the gun violence that happened,” they said.


JP Progressives’ State Rep Forum on May 24

All four candidates running for the 15th Suffolk District state representative seat are scheduled to attend JP Progressives' candidate forum on May 24. The four candidates are Sam Montaño, Richard Fierro, Roxanne Longoria, and Mary Ann Nelson. The forum is scheduled to occur Tuesday, May 24 at 7 pm via Zoom. Click here to register to attend the forum.


Roxanne Longoria Running for 15th Suffolk District State Rep Seat

The 15th Suffolk District state representative election is looking very competitive with four candidates, including Jamaica Plain resident Roxanne Longoria. 

“I’m an experienced, progressive leader running for state representative because I want a more equitable, accessible, and compassionate government for all," said Longoria via press release. "After serving as the Director of Youth Homelessness Initiatives for the city of Boston, I became a caregiver to my 75-year-old mother and experienced housing instability at the height of the pandemic. I truly understood who is most impacted when systems aren’t working efficiently during these challenging times.  They should be better and they can be better.”
Longoria said her priority issues are affordable housing, educational equity, and increasing transitional support services for young people who are currently in and aging out of foster care. Longoria provides more details about her views on key issues on her website, which is available in four different languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole. 
As the Director of Youth Homelessness Initiatives for Boston, Longoria founded the Youth Experiencing Homelessness Training Institute, organized with more than 350 community service providers in the Boston area to distribute resources including $50,000 in life-saving direct aid to youth experiencing homelessness. “Since her time as the Network Coordinator for the Boston Youth Service Network, Roxanne has been a fierce advocate for young people,'' said Marcella Raines, Chief Advocacy and Community Engagement Officer at More Than Words via press release.