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Chynah Tyler hopes to land 7th Suffolk District House rep seat

Former aide to Sen. Chang-Diaz is one of three Democrats in race

Jule Pattison-Gordon
Chynah Tyler hopes to land 7th Suffolk District House rep seat
Chynah Tyler (Photo: Photo: Courtesy of the Chynah Tyler campaign)

Third in a series of articles on the 7th Suffolk District race. The first part of the series can be found here and the second part can be found here.

Chynah Tyler, former aide to state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, is among the three Democratic candidates vying for the Seventh Suffolk House representative seat.

Tyler is a Roxbury native and attended high school at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Cambridge. She received a bachelor’s of science in criminal justice from Northeastern University in 2011 and has a five-year-old daughter.

Tyler spoke to the Banner about her priorities in office, Roxbury roots and path into politics.

On the web

Visit Tyler’s website: http://www.votechynah.com/

What do you hope to accomplish in office? What will your key issues be?

Chynah Tyler: I look forward to advancing the legacy of the Seventh Suffolk district. I plan to take on key leadership roles while in the State House and champion legislation and budget matters that have direct impact on the quality of life of each and every resident of the Seventh Suffolk District.

I have been working extremely hard, knocking doors since March, listening to the concerns of the constituents. The concerns expressed have been instrumental in helping me shape the key issue areas that I have been and will continue to focus on. After analyzing the data I collected, there are five key issue areas I will focus on:

[The first is] affordable housing: advocate for increased funding for programs dedicated to supporting more access to affordable housing and home ownership opportunities.

[The second is] economic development: expand our economy to support thriving communities through better-paying jobs and quality infrastructure. [Also] support programs that assist in the growth of small businesses.

[Third:] Education. Ensure that everyone is afforded the opportunity to receive a high quality public education; expand early education opportunities; and reduce dropout rates.

[Fourth]: Public Safety. Support the development of innovative and effective strategies to combat youth violence in efforts to maximize the pathway to success; develop and improve trauma response systems to support individuals and families experiencing grief; develop and support comprehensive re-entry programs and encourage and support efforts to protect and improve the wellbeing of our community.

[Fifth]: Elder affairs. I am committed to assuring quality of life services for our elders and to assuring safety of seniors [and that they are connected with adequate resources].

As one of 160 house members, how can you bring about the achievements you want?

CT: While working as a legislative aide for Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, I was able to draft and see through passage of legislation [while forming] solid, genuine relationships with both legislative aides and elected officials, not only to establish my strengths and identity, [but also] to challenge assumptions made regarding my district and redirect the attention to issues and concerns of the community, which is what really matters.

The achievements I can bring about are less about what I want and more about what my district needs. I will do so by continuing to foster relationships I have already established with elected officials and opening my arms to create new ones.

What in your background has prepared you for this job?

[Tyler said her family has a long history of residency and involvement in the neighborhood that shaped her view of leadership.]

Education and work ethic

I was raised in Roxbury and have lifelong relationships in this district. Programs offered at facilities such as the John A. Shelburne Community Center and Roxbury Boys and Girls Club provided me with an authentic sense of pride as a Roxbury native.

During my entire high school career, I attended school year-round. During the summer, I attended the Crimson Summer Academy at Harvard University. During the regular school year, I also took government courses at Harvard in addition to my regular high school workload. After graduating high school, and simultaneously graduating from Harvard, I attended Northeastern University.

Because of my work ethic, I earned a full scholarship to Northeastern University. My major was criminal justice, and my minor was law policy and society. I completed the five-year program in four years because I was used to working hard and going to school year round.

State government

After graduating Northeastern, I secured my first job as a case worker at a federal halfway house assisting those nearing release with securing employment, housing and, most importantly, community support.

While there, I realized there are a host of barriers that contribute to recidivism and [realized] the importance of the role the state government plays in delivering valuable resources to my community.

I had the opportunity to work as a legislative aide for State Senator Sonia Chang–Diaz and worked on community college reform, CORI reform and was able to help establish programs and secure funds for emergency housing programs — which included $60 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program and HomeBASE.

How and why did you first become involved in politics?

CT: My grandmother was a community activist.

What other activism or involvements do you have in the 7th Suffolk District?

CT: Being active is genuinely doing something out of passion – therefore, given my family history, volunteering is key to me.

I have volunteered at the following places: rehabilitation clinics, domestic violence shelters and I was a Big Sister.

I also support community organizations such as Score4More and Boston TenPoint Coalition, and I helped start Elevate Boston, all which work to prevent youth violence and increase community engagement.

I volunteered in the Probation Department at the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court since I was a freshman in college. I continued volunteering there up until this past March when I declared my candidacy for state representative of the Seventh Suffolk District.

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