Sánchez recognized in diverse quarters

June 13, 2008
By

DAVID TABER

Honored by peers, planners, derided by Teamsters

State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez has received a lot of recognition lately.

The legislator, who represents the western side of JP, was named Legislator of the Year by the Boston Area Metropolitan Planning Council (MAPC). He was also nominated by state House leadership to participate this years national Emerging Political Leaders Program.

But it is hard to please all the people all the time. Notwithstanding the fact that no one is running against him in his reelection bid this November, Bay State Teamsters are opposing his candidacy because of his position on casino gambling.

Legislator of the year

Sánchez was honored by MAPC for his work on legislation to streamline the process for selling surplus state-owned land, as well as legislation regarding census data, affordable housing and water infrastructure, according to a press release.

With the surplus land proposal, he has been working with community development corporations, the Smart Growth Alliance and MAPC, “trying to figure out how to move the process quicker without bypassing local communities,” he said.

Sánchez’s local efforts have given him first-hand experience with the state’s land sale process. Those include participation in decade-long process of securing vacant land, some of it state-owned, in Jackson Square for local redevelopment, and the controversial sale by the state of land used by the North American Indian Center of Boston at 105 S. Huntington Ave. in 2006.

He also worked to secure $800,000 in the budget for census tracking leading up to the 2010 national census.

The national census counts are usually controversial, and it is possible that the state will lose a congressional seat, which is based on population. “What we have to do is get ahead and start doing estimate work, so if we don’t make the numbers we can make an argument to the Census Bureau,” he said.

Sánchez was also recognized for his work on a $1.25 billion Housing Bond Bill passed this year and for legislation that would establish a commission to evaluate the state’s aging water infrastructure.

The housing bond bill could help create 600 to 700 units of subsidy-dependent housing in his district, he told the Gazette in March.

Emerging leader

The Emerging Political Leaders program is a three-day intensive program conducted by he University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and the State Legislative Leader Foundation.

From July 14-17, Sánchez, along with 49 other legislators from across the country, will travel to Virginia to take classes in economics, ethics, leadership skills, and—in one class titled “Feed Versus Fuel”— corn.

In preparation, he said, he has a reading list of eight books, from Plato’s “Republic” to “The Omnivores Dilemma.”

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “A lot of it is based on building leadership skills, ethics, and building resources for constituents.”

Teamsters

In the midst of the accolades and opportunities, the state rep. has also earned the ire of Bay State Teamsters for his opposition to casino gambling.

According to an early June report in the Daily Item—a newspaper published in Lynn—Sánchez is among four state reps. singled out for replacement in a letter sent to members of Teamsters Local 25.

Sánchez is, so far, unopposed in his bid for reelection this November. It is unclear what, if anything, the Teamsters will do to oppose his reelection. It is too late for anyone else to appear on the ballot.

“Anybody could always be a write-in candidate,” Sánchez said in a Gazette interview.

Sánchez was one of 108 representatives who voted against the casino gambling bill. He and three other state reps.—Paul Donato (Medford), Carlo Basile (East Boston) and Mark Falzone (Saugus)—targeted by the Teamsters letter.

Local 25 spokesperson Steve Sullivan did not return Gazette phone calls by press time.

Of the potential opposition to his reelection, “What can you say?” Sánchez said, “I would hope that everyone would recognize that I am trying to do my best, working on issues around schools, youth violence, housing and workforce development…I stand by my record of hard work every day.”

He said he could not recall having been personally contacted by the Teamsters outside of the union’s generally lobbying efforts around the casino bill.

“I found out [about being targeted] the same way you did, through a Google alert,” he said.

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