Editor’s Note: In full transparency, the following guide was prepared by the League of Women Voters in Framingham about the two candidates for the 6th Middlesex District state representative seat. There are three candidates on the ballot but one candidate announced he was pausing his campaign on Monday night, August 22.
FRAMINGHAM – The Massachusetts House of Representatives is comprised of 160 members, each
representing a district of approximately 40,000 people and each elected for a two-year term. As required by the Massachusetts Constitution, the House meets year-round in either formal or informal session to consider legislation. The Massachusetts House is led by the Speaker of the House who is elected by the members of the body at the beginning of each two-year legislative session. Base salary for each representative is approximately $66,256.
The League of Women Voters posed the following questions to each of the candidates running for State Rep. in the 6th Middlesex Democratic Primary on September 6.
Below are the responses provided by Priscila Sousa. In addition to the following questions, LWV of Framingham posed 16 more questions to the candidates at the August 22nd candidate forum. See how they responded here.
My name is Priscila Sousa and I am a proud resident of Framingham. My family and I moved here from Brazil when I was 7 and I was enrolled in the Framingham schools where I spent my entire life moving forward juggling two cultures. Today I work in renewable energy and I’ve been a School Committee member since 2020 where I’ve been elected by my colleagues to serve as chair.
I graduated in this district, I have run a business in this district and I became an American in this district. I’ve worked everywhere from the building of a new playground at Interfaith through Hoops and Homework to helping fundraise for Voices Against Violence yearly.
I’m running for State Representative of this community because this is my home. I’ve seen key issues in our home neglected and the southside needs a proven leader as its champion. And we don’t need passive leadership – we need leaders who take actionable steps and make their issues ther elected leader’s issues.
When Daniel’s Table needed to create delivery lists that made geographic sense for their drivers at the height of the pandemic, David handed me a piece of paper because I have committed these southside streets to memory. I learned how to read a map at the age of 8 in these neighborhoods by helping my mother deliver phonebooks as one of her four jobs. Nowadays these same streets have become my training routes for three Boston Marathon.
As an entrepreneur, I am results-driven because time and resources are precious and finite. Our community knows this and they deserve results and to be heard. This is about us and what we can do together. This is for our children. This is for our small businesses. This is for our future.
We cannot have legislators who will be taken by the noise – we need to focus on the discussion and what will move us forward. Our home needs a champion committed to full time representation and I hope you find me to be that person
What would be your two priorities related to transportation?
● Increased funding for the MBTA to make the improvements on the deteriorating
transportation system, purchase new cars and trains, electrify the train lines
between Boston and Worcester, keep fares affordable and increase reliable all
day rail service to and from Boston;
● Contact the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to release previously
earmarked funding for the construction of a downtown parking garage;
● Support the growth of regional transportation authorities, especially our
MetroWest Regional Transportation Authority, and address demands for
increased service and expanding their routes to connect them to more
neighborhoods, rail trails and centers of commerce.
What legislation, if any, would you support to improve the availability of affordable housing in Massachusetts?
The homeowners who have helped build this community are being priced out; the young families we want to attract to be long term community members are looking into other communities to establish roots.
There is a significant shortage in affordable housing for working families and as a legislator I support an increase to accessible affordable workforce housing. The Commonwealth has made efforts, but as long as the hardworking men and women of our communities who don’t fall below the threshold of public assistance still struggle to live here, we have more work to do. As a legislator I will fight for an increase in
workforce housing and to protect affordable housing protections in place as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
What, if anything, would you change about the way the state funds education?
The 6th Middlesex District is home to 2⁄3 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 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. At the state level I will increase the fight, sharing strategies that are working in Framingham.
Do you support providing complete reproductive health care to all including people from other states? Do you support protecting health care providers from lawsuits from other states?
As a candidate of reproductive age, I feel the weight of the Supreme Court on my body and the bodies of my peers. we must continue to safeguard coverage for women’s access to contraception and reproductive health services. The ACCESS Act needs to be expanded and provide greater protections for women of color, especially immigrant women. As a legislator, I will work to expand the definition of reproductive health to include education. I will work towards education in multiple languages that include
detailed explanations of reproductive abuse. I will advocate for the elimination of any insurance requirements that force women to “fail” a form of contraception via pregnancy or health risk before coverage for an alternative is provided.
What is your priority for the legislature in addressing the climate crisis?
I was recently told the Commonwealth must take action for climate change, since the federal government has been slow to act. I agree and because instead of waiting on the Commonwealth to take action, Framingham became the first school district to take action on climate change. As Chair of the Framingham School Committee I was excited to participate as we became the first district in the Commonwealth to pass a climate change policy – a policy I had the privilege of working on since 2020. We must make affordable renewable energy more accessible. Homeowners need to have better access to the information on the programs available, utility companies need to be held accountable and we must increase access to renewable energy to our renters.