Name: Juana Matias
From: Lawrence, MA
About The Woman Of The Week: Juana Matias is a product of the American dream. An immigrant, graduate of local public schools, social worker, lawyer and one of the first Latina State Representatives elected in Massachusetts. She was just named Chief Operating Officer of MassINC, a non-partisan public policy think tank that also conducts polls and publishes Commonwealth magazine.
Juana immigrated to the United States at the age of five and was raised in Haverhill. Her father spent more than 17 years in Lawrence as a machine operator, and her mother worked as a precision finisher. Juana got her first job as a papergirl for the Lawrence Eagle Tribune when she was 11. Her family worked hard, played by the rules, and were able to achieve their dream of sending Juana to college.
Through scholarships, loans, and part-time jobs, Juana paid her way through college and law school. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and earned a law degree from Suffolk University Law School in 2014.
Her family’s hard work and perseverance inspired Juana to commit to community service. She’s served as a case worker to families and children in Lawrence, Lowell, and Haverhill, and as a Justice Americorps Legal Advocate. She shocked the political establishment in 2016 by upsetting a career politician to become one of the first Latinas ever elected to the Massachusetts Statehouse.
Juana has dedicated her adult life to public service and has been very vocal about education because she wouldn’t be where she is today without Haverhill’s public schools. She sees the fight to protect dreamers and immigrant rights as personal. She is a strong advocate for universal health care and believes that every American should have access to quality, affordable care, including our veterans who still face too many hurdles at the VA. She is committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and to preserving Social Security and Medicare.
In all her work, she has stood as a skilled, effective and impassioned advocate. Most recently, she ran for Congress, seeking to succeed U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas. Though she didn’t prevail, she came in third in a 10-way Democratic primary, besting candidates with much greater funding by mobilizing Latino voters and by offering a compelling vision for social and economic justice that resonated across the diverse 3rd District.
Congratulations to Juana Matias, our New 97.7 Woman Of The Week!
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