6th Middlesex State Rep. Candidate: Priscila Sousa

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Priscila Sousa

Pronouns: She/her

Age: 34

Occupation: Energy consultant

Education: Framingham Public Schools, Marian High School, Simmons University (BA in
Political Science)

Years lived in Framingham: 27 years

Which (new) City Precinct do you live in: 6

What languages do you speak: English, Portuguese, Spanish

Municipal experience: Elected Chair of the Framingham School Committee, District 5 School
Committee member (2019-Present), member of the Human Relations Commission (2014-2019),
member of the Team Framingham Steering Committee (2018-2019)

Volunteerism in the 6th District or Framingham: Currently serves on the boards of
Framingham FORCE, Friends of Resiliency for Life, Hoops & Homework, and is a member of
the Framingham Democratic Committee, the Framingham Business Association, and the
Framingham Elks Lodge #1264. Previously served on the boards of Amazing Things Art Center
and Daniel’s Table. Ran the Boston Marathon three times as a charity runner.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/priscilaforframingham

Website: http://www.priscilaforframingham.com

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What is your favorite place in the 6th District? (just one): Cushing Park

Massachusetts taxes are too high, too low, or just right? (pick one) too high

Do you support the proposed Fair Share amendment for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts? Yes

Do you support a new Framingham elementary school in the 6th Middlesex District? Absolutely

Should passing the MCAS tests be a requirement for graduation? No

Does the Commonwealth need a stronger ethics law for elected leaders? Yes

Would you support extending the Freedom of Information Act to State Representatives and State Senators, which would allow emails by them to be made public? Yes

Do you support a women’s right to choose when it comes to reproductive rights? Yes

Do you support same day voting registration? Yes

Describe the 6th Middlesex district in one word: Home

Should Framingham become a Gateway City? Yes

If elected, what House Committee do you most want to serve on?

  • Education
  • Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
  • Economic Development and Emerging Technologies

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Question #1: Why should someone pull a Democratic ballot and vote for you on September 6?

I am the Chair of the Framingham School Committee, entrepreneur, immigrant and community
activist.

Born in the city of Ipatinga in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, I came to America with my
parents when I was seven years old. Growing up on Weld Street, I rode the bus for hours every
day to Potter Road Elementary School where I attended their English as a Second Language
(ESL) program.

Framingham needs a champion. I have seen our neighborhoods change, while certain issues,
like contaminated sites and inequities with early education, remain the same. We have an
opportunity for South Framingham to have the representation it deserves on Beacon Hill. We
need a leader who is ready to use their voice to advocate for us, and use their energy to get the
job done.

As State Representative, I am committed to:

● Advocating for our public schools: I understand how education can change lives,
which is why I support a new southside elementary school and high quality early
education. I will continue the work ensuring Framingham’s students receive the state
funding they deserve.

● Supporting our local small businesses and Downtown area: As a former business
owner in Downtown, I see the potential of the economic heart of our City. I will bring
local officials, business owners, social agencies and our partners on Beacon Hill
together to develop a plan and obtain the resources to strengthen Downtown.

● Fight for a greener future and clean up our environmental justice sites: Our district
needs a leader who will not just speak loudly about our environmental justice sites,
but take action on the state level to clean them up.

● Back transparency reform in the State House: It is time for the old ways of doing
business in the State House to become extinct. The House and Senate need to hold
themselves to the same transparency standards all other local elected officials must
follow.

I was elected to the Framingham School Committee in 2019, and re-elected in 2021. I am the
first woman of color elected as Chair. On the School Committee I led the renaming of Harmony
Grove School, am a proponent of the first school climate change policy in the state, supported
the FPS suing the makers of JUUL, and fought for a 5% increase in school funding. I am a
strong advocate for a new southside school, as well as high quality early education for all
students.

Behind every policy issue is a person – the kid on Second Street who does not have the chance
to go to preschool, the Downtown small business owner trying to keep their business afloat
during the pandemic, the family living along an environmental justice site – they are my
neighbors. The decisions made on Beacon Hill can change the course of history for entire
families. When more voices are heard, we find opportunities to fix big problems and do big
things together.

Question #2: What would be the first bill you would file if elected? Why?

The 6th Middlesex District is home to ⅔ of our children, less than 50% of children have access
to the preschool education that sets them up for academic, social and developmental success.
They begin their kindergarten journey already miles behind other children. That is a tremendous
burden on five year olds. Most of whom look like me and my immigrant community.
Given the sheer amount of research surrounding long term success in children who have
access to preschool, this is a major equity issue. Access to early education is objectively linked
to greater academic development, social development and even earning capacity long term.
Currently in Framingham, the School Committee is working on a long term plan to expand
access to preschool education as well as building of another school within the district.

At the state level I have every intention of increasing the fight, sharing strategies that are
working in Framingham and securing funding to implement these opportunities for all children.
Funding universal access to early education across the Commonwealth goes far beyond being
a social issue: it’s an objective investment in our future as a community.

Question #3: This new district was created with the goal of a diverse individual winning the seat. There are 3 Democratic candidates and all of you fit the description that the state hoped for. So, what does racial equality mean to you? Equal opportunity or equal results? How will you make sure the diverse district of Framingham is heard and represented at the State House, if elected?


Simply put, racial equality means living and working in a system that preserves equity and
provides everyone with an opportunity to succeed on a level playing field, regardless of their
racial background. This is much easier said than done and it will take more than just electing
people of color to make it happen. We as elected officials must be intentional about it with every
decision and ask ourselves how equitable is the world we’re creating.

As the first woman of color to be elected Chair of the Framingham School Committee, I
understand the struggle all too well. Given my background and the demographics of this district
I will be an outspoken and active supporter of racial justice initiatives. This means using the
position as an elected official to speak out on these issues, lead community efforts at the local
level, being a lead sponsor of key legislation, and ensuring that each piece of legislation is seen
through the lens of racial justice.

I have a proven track record for speaking out on issues of racial injustice from the renaming of
Harmony Grove Elementary School (formerly Woodrow Wilson Elementary) using public input
from disenfranchised communities to providing platforms in the DEI subcommittee for our
ongoing candid discussions about School Resource Officers. We need more elected officials
who are not afraid of having difficult conversations about race, about privilege and about the
experiences of a person of color.

In 2021 I was tasked as a duo within the School Committee to lead in the renaming of Harmony
Grove Elementary School. In light of the social justice climate of 2020, two petitions circulated
the city to discuss the renaming of what was Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, a school with
our largest immigrant population bearing the name of a President who was an admitted white
supremacist. As chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion subcommittee, I was tasked with
making these community voices heard. This particular project faced two challenges: the school
being renamed touted the lowest family engagement in the district and we were still in the
middle of a pandemic when the main criticism would be that we had bigger fish to fry.

With collaboration from teachers, the district’s director of communication, school leadership and
other dedicated staff we were able to turn the project into an opportunity to increase
engagement. WIth a creative strategy surrounding weaving the project into COVID notifications,
generating excitement and elevating immigrant children’s voices, we were able to gather over
400 suggestions for new names for the school. The children and families voted and Harmony
Grove was the name chosen by the school’s own community. Not only did we change the name,
but today Harmony Grove Elementary is home to an entirely immigrant-run PTO that boasts one
of the highest attendance numbers for meetings in the Framingham School District, proving not
even a pandemic can prevent social justice when there are leaders willing to fight.

QUESTION #5: Come November there will be a new Governor. How will you work with that new administration to make sure Framingham is getting grants and other opportunities? What is your relationship with the City of Framingham Mayor? What can you do as a legislator to support the
Sisitsky administration and its goals?

As the elected chair of the School Committee, I have a track record of collaborating and working
with our partners in the schools, the city government, non-profits, businesses and residents.
I have a wonderful, productive and open working relationship with Mayor Sisitsky and
appreciate his support for our schools. Mayor Sisitsky has been a steady and constant partner,
and I look forward to continuing our partnership on Beacon Hill. As state representative, I will
participate in regular meetings with the Mayor and work with him and his team on identifying
grants and funding opportunities needed for specific goals and needs.

While serving on the board of Hoops and Homework, I spearheaded the construction of a new
playground at Interfaith Terrace. The playground was a hazard. Working with the board,
community partners, labor unions and volunteers, we built a playground that was safe, fun and what the kids envisioned for themselves. It is a success story I am of which I am incredibly proud.

Collaboration is more than a talking point to me, it is how I operate in a daily basis. This is why I
have earned the support of the Carpenters Local 336, the National Association of Social
Workers, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Framingham Firefighters Local 1652, Professional Fire
Fighters of Massachusetts and the SEIU 1199. It is why I have the support of a majority of the
Councilors who represent the districts of the 6th Middlesex District, current and former school
committee members, former and current Planning Board members, a former State Senator, a
former Town/City Clerk, former Town Moderator, former town meeting members, members of
various boards and commissions, and community activists – all from the 6th Middlesex District.
These individuals and organizations know Framingham is at its best when everyone is working
together – regardless of personality conflicts or issues – because we are focused on what is
important: the people of our city.


QUESTION #5: Due to the census, the City of Framingham now has 4 representatives not three, but the 6th Middlesex district is the only district that represents ONLY Framingham. How will you advocate for
Framingham so its needs are not lost at the State House? How will you collaborate with the 3 other representatives who will represent a part of Framingham? And how will you work with veteran legislators at the State House to get things accomplished for your district?

We have a once in a generation opportunity to have all of South Framingham to be represented
by one person. While I am focused on addressing the unfinished issues facing South
Framingham, like cleaning up environmental justice sites, building a new south side school,
expanding early education and supporting our Downtown businesses, I am dedicated to working
with the three other members of the delegation on behalf of all of Framingham.

My School Committee colleagues elected me Chair because they know I work and collaborate
with everyone. This is a leadership role I take very seriously, and I work with all of my members
on the issues not only important to them and their districts, but the entire school district.
At the height of the pandemic, David Blais from Daniel’s Table called me regarding a massive
equity issue within the pandemic-fueled food insecurity crisis: immigrant families could not
access information at the rate it was being provided about food distribution and, due to
language barriers, there was no method of keeping track of families that stopped by in order to
follow up with other needs. He had a vision for a hotline to be answered in Portuguese, Spanish
& English, but was told by the city that it couldn’t be done at the rate that would meet the
population’s needs. He went down to a local downtown wireless provider, picked up 4 cell phones and together we put together the Daniel’s Table hotline. I took over two of the phone
lines and was on call to register Portuguese and Spanish speaking families. Over the next 6
weeks we registered over 2,000 Southside Spanish and Portuguese speaking families and
provided emergency assistance throughout the pandemic. We also worked with Northside food
providers to ensure there was adequate donation supply to meet the demand.
Too many political insiders are lost in the noise of gossip, social media tiffs and personality
conflicts. It is why I am not an insider. Letting the noise get louder results in new people not
wanting to get involved, potentially good ideas lost and Framingham continuing to spin its
wheels. I have a track record of being a proven champion for Framingham and building bridges in this
community at every capacity, and I will continue working on our behalf in the State House.

QUESTION #6: Describe how you will handle questions and requests from the public and the media, if elected. Be specific.

As the Chair of the School Committee, handling questions and requests from the public and the
media are a core part of my role. As a full time state representative, constituent services and
working with the media will continue to be a major part of my work.

Throughout this campaign, I have made my email (priscila.sousa08@gmail.com) and phone
number (508-250-9439) available on my materials and website. You should know you can call,
text or email me at any time to ask questions, share ideas or request assistance. Secondly, I
opened a campaign headquarters at 68 South Street for people to feel welcome and volunteer. I
believe it is critical to be in the heart of the community I serve. Hopefully, this headquarters, or
somewhere like it, will be my state representative district office where I will hold regular office
hours.

The media is an important part of our democracy. Answering questions in a timely manner and
sharing good news with all media outlets will be a priority.

The Legislature is exempt from Open Meeting Law. I firmly believe the rules and regulations I
have to follow as a member of the School Committee should apply to those serving in the
Legislature. In a recent forum sponsored by the Framingham Democratic Committee, one of my
opponents said she would work on passing laws that would restrict the use of Freedom of
Information Act requests in Framingham. This comment is not open, transparent or good
government. Our government needs to be more transparent, not less. I will advocate for the
rights of the media and more transparency in the State House, not less.

QUESTION #7: If elected, what do you realistically think you can accomplish in your first year? Be specific.

My first day as our full-time state representative begins the day after I am elected, November 8. I will spend the months leading up to my swearing in in January 2023 meeting with the Mayor, Councilors, my fellow School Committee members, the Keefe Tech School Committee, Superintendents and members of the MetroWest Delegation, along with other community stakeholders.

I have an ambitious agenda, but my goals for my first year in office:
• Establish regular meetings with Mayor Sisitsky, the chair of the Council, and office hours with
constituents;
• Open an office in the district;
• Meet with the House Speaker to outline my priorities for Framingham;
• Acquire the previously earmarked funding for a downtown parking garage from the Executive
Office of Administration and Finance;
• Work with Framingham Public Schools and city leaders to obtain funding for high quality early
education for our students and with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to advance
our application for a new south side school;
• Obtain the necessary funding to finish the clean up of and new playground built at Mary
Dennison Park;
• Work with MassDOT to begin addressing safety and traffic issues along state roads that go
through Framingham, such crosswalks on Route 135 and studying pedestrian
bridges/walkways across Route 9.

editor

email: editor@FraminghamSource.com call or text at 508-315-7176


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