Pressley opens Hyde Park district office
Tells constituents country is at an ‘inflection point’
Before U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley arrived in her Hyde Park district office to celebrate its opening, the River Street storefront was packed with activists from across her district — a ward committee chair from Roxbury, a Chelsea School Committee member, anti-gun-violence activists from Randolph and City Council candidates from Boston.
When Pressley arrived, making her way into the masked crowd gathered in her office, she addressed a wide range of issues affecting residents of the district, which with nearly 50% people of color is the most diverse in the state, and as Pressley often notes, one of the most unequal.
The 7th Suffolk District includes Chelsea, Everett, Somerville, most of Boston, parts of Cambridge, Milton and all of Randolph.
During her three years in office, Pressley has championed issues including canceling student debt, extending the federal eviction moratorium and pressing for COVID relief that is responsive to communities of color and low-income people. On the latter issue, Pressley teamed up with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act, which was aimed at making sure federal resources were delivered to those most in need.
“We needed that data to directly inform how resources were dedicated and marshaled,” she said. “We continue to insist that that data be collected, that racial demographic data be collected in real time, not just aggregated and reported.”
As part of the push to extend the eviction moratorium, Pressley joined Missouri Rep. Cori Bush and other lawmakers in a vigil on the steps of the Capitol building to press for the extension, which the Biden administration agreed to.
Pressley said she entered Congress during a time of national crisis that hasn’t yet let up.
“The three years that I’ve been in Congress has been an unprecedented time for our country, and people ask me if I’m growing weary or apathetic or cynical,” she said, “and my response is always the same — I don’t have the luxury, but because people are depending on me to stand in the gap.”
Despite the events of the last three years — Trump administration policies, the Jan. 6 insurrection and other unprecedented events — Pressley said the country is at an inflection point and she remains hopeful.
“I do believe there is a paradigm shift that is happening,” she said, adding that her role is “to be a steward of government, and a preserver of democracy, and to be a justice seeker.”
Pressley said the shift that government is undergoing can give constituents more power to weigh in on and inform the policies their elected representatives are enacting.
“We believe that people closest to the pain should be closest to the power, driving and informing the policymaking,” she said.
After a short speech, Pressley met with constituents in her office, posing for photos with them.