Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley is an advocate, a policy-maker, an activist, and a survivor. On November 6, 2018, Congresswoman Pressley was elected to represent Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, making her the first woman of color to be elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts 7th is the most diverse and most unequal district in the state, requiring a representative whose experiences are reflective of the people.
Pressley was outspent by her opponent, Rep. Michael Capuano, a 10-term incumbent endorsed by much of the Democratic establishment. Pressley’s campaign raised $890,000, compared to Capuano’s $1.7 million, which came, in part, from PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Pressley’s 17-point victory over Capuano represented a 30-point swing from the prediction of the final MassINC poll conducted for WBUR. But Pressley didn’t fall into that trap, running a lean campaign that shattered all polling forecasts.
Like many in her district, Congresswoman Pressley has endured numerous hardships throughout her life, and it is because of those experiences that she remains a dedicated activist who’s devoted to creating robust and informed policies that speak to the intersectionality of her district’s lived experiences. She believes that the people closest to the pain should be closest to the power and that a diversity of voices in the political process is essential to making policies that benefit more Americans.
Born in Cincinnati and raised in Chicago, Congresswoman Pressley is the only child of a single mother and a father who was in and out of the criminal justice system – creating an unstable household and forcing her to mature at a rapid rate. While her father ultimately overcame his addiction and went on to become a published author, Congresswoman Pressley was primarily raised by her mother Sandra Pressley, a tenants’ rights organizer who instilled in her the value of civic engagement. Thanks to her mother’s dedication to activism, Congresswoman Pressley has always been acutely aware of the role that government can play in lifting up families and communities.