Massachusetts State Senator Liz Miranda is bringing “hope, heart and hustle” to her new position, as well as a great deal of advocacy experience and just plain smarts. In a recent interview with Senator Miranda, she outlined initiatives for her two year initial senatorial term, and shared some of her accomplishments, in advance of her first 100 days in office.
Miranda is accessible, both on Beacon Hill and in her District, the 2nd Suffolk, which services a population of more than 180,000 in nine neighborhoods, each with their own distinct character: Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Roslindale, New Mission, South End and Fenway. Since taking office in January, she has been inviting residents in the district to visit her office, and she is finding ways to honor her constituents’ drive and effort.
The Burke High School Boys Basketball team recently visited and was recognized during a legislative session for an incredible winning streak. Miranda has also hosted some key events already, including: the first Annual Mindful +Melanated event, which brought many black and brown women from the district to the State House to advocate for policy that will advance their health concerns; and a Youth Justice Rally, where more than 200 kids came to the State House to advocate for increased funding for youth jobs. This is just the beginning, as the Senator’s goal is to have 1,000 people visit her office in the first year. While it was this newspaper’s first visit, Miranda suggested we visit on a regular basis for updates on her work. When you do visit, be sure to sign in at her door to be counted among the first 1,000.
When asked what her priorities are for this 2023-2024 session, Miranda highlighted that, while her priorities are still shaping up with a goal of ensuring they are unifying across the district, her focus is on: health equity; economic equality, working on mitigating poverty; education equity; environmental justice; and the confluence of equity and justice to lower mass incarceration. Miranda knows that, given the complex needs of her district, she cannot solely focus on one or two issues, and that change takes time, typically needing two to three Senate terms to pass legislature. However through her committee assignments, her leadership roles in various caucuses, and getting her voice heard on larger issues that benefit the entire Commonwealth, Senator Miranda can make her voice heard, and elevate the conversation to the whole Senate and beyond.
The Senator was able to get all the Committee assignments that she requested, believing that the legislative leadership considered her work both as a former state representative, as well as her public advocacy experience. She is particularly pleased to serve as Chair of the Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights and Inclusion. As the Senator said, “while she may be a freshman in the Senate, she has been a Black female all her life.” Her additional roles are: Vice Chair of Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies; Senate Committee on Juvenile and Emerging Adult Justice; Senate Committee on the Census; Senate Committee on Ways and Means; Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses; Joint Committee on Elder Affairs; Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight; and Joint Committee on Ways and Means. Some of her other responsibilities include: Co-Chair of Massachusetts Women’s Legislative Caucus; Co-Chair of the METCO Caucus; Treasurer, Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus, and Member of the Housing Caucus, and Criminal Justice Reform Caucus.
To date, Miranda has filed 75 bills, with an additional 20 more co-led, while also taking a significant portion of her time working on the Committee on Ways and Means, on the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget process, requiring a tour of the Commonwealth with eight hearings having been completed, and a few more to finish.
Being a Senator is different in many ways from being a Representative. In the 5th Suffolk, Miranda was one of 160 Representatives in the House. “Although I loved my time as a Representative, I knew that I could make a bigger impact if I worked on moving up the ranks” she explained. “As one of 40 Senators, I was able to file three times as many bills. I am able to serve on many committees.” On the other hand, “being the Legislator for the 5th Suffolk District had made me no stranger to constituent casework and the 2nd Suffolk is no different. Throughout my time in the House, I was someone who understood that we needed to work within the building and within the system to deliver results, while also working on systemic long-term solutions to the inequities inherent within this building. I have already brought this lens and approach with me to the Senate.”
In her spare time, Miranda will be in the district, as an example hosting a Senate tour visit in the coming weeks, bringing her Senate colleagues to the 2nd Suffolk to see firsthand the uniqueness of the area. She is aided by three staffers, Kevin, Maliha, and Rashelle, pictured above, who reside in the district themselves. Look for the Senator and her staffers walking the district, stop and chat, and make your own concerns known to her. She will listen.