By Melissa Moore-Randall
When House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced his retirement from the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Jeff Turco looked at his own background, experience and belief in the nobility of public service. Turco used this as a catalyst for his decision to run for State Representative in the 19th Suffolk District of Winthrop and sections of Revere.
Turco, who grew up in Revere and currently resides in Winthrop, spoke highly of the man whose office he hopes to take over. “For 30 years, our district has been represented by a tremendous leader who made the lives of Massachusetts residents better. Robert DeLeo leaves big shoes to fill, but I am confident that I will uphold his commitment to our communities.”
Turco hopes his election to the 19th Suffolk District seat will make the community and world a better place for his six children. “I have been blessed as a husband and father of six young children, and I believe I have a duty to try and serve our community so they grow up in a world which is better than the one I grew up in.” Currently, Jeff resides in Winthrop with his wife, the former Melissa Carbone, and their six children Rosario 15, Mary 14, Joseph 12, Dominic 10, Grace 8 and Matteo 4. Their children attend Malden Catholic High School and the Immaculate Conception School, where Jeff has served on the Immaculate Conception School Advisory Board for the past 7 years.
Turco has deep seeded Revere and Winthrop roots. Growing up on Reservoir Avenue, he was one of seven siblings from a classic family of what he called “his, hers, them and ours”. After attending the former McKinley School from grades kindergarten through 8th grade, he attended Northeast Regional Vocational School before transferring to and graduating from Malden Catholic High School in 1989. A graduate of the UMass-Amherst where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History, Turco would go on to attend Quinnipiac University School of Law in Connecticut where he graduated with honors. While at Quinnipiac, he was also part of the Connecticut Probate Law Journal and attended an intensive international law program at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
Presently an attorney in Chelsea, Turco thinks he is the best successor for DeLeo’s seat on Beacon Hill. “I am the only candidate in the race with deep ties to both Revere and Winthrop. For the first 33 years of my life, I lived and was raised in Revere. For the last 16 years, I chose Winthrop as the place to have and raise my family. We attend St. John the Evangelist Parish in Winthrop. My children are involved in youth sports in Winthrop. My children attend Immaculate Conception School in Revere and are very involved with the programs at Revere Parks and Recreation. I have been honored to serve on the Board of the Revere Beach Partnership as a Director of the McCarthy-Trifone Recreation Committee and more recently the Winthrop Foundation. I believe my combined experience in local government, the Massachusetts House and Senate as well as an administrator of a large state agency gives me a breadth of experience that is tough to match. This coupled with my community involvement in both Winthrop and Revere have placed me in a position to understand the issues that affect our communities.”
Turco’s experience at the state level started as a Massachusetts House of Representatives page assigned to the late Representative William G. Reinstein. He also served several terms as the elected representative to the Democratic State Committee representing Revere and Winthrop at the Democratic State Party. In addition, he was the Chief of Staff for Senator Guy Glodis, where he worked on election law, insurance law and the Commonwealth’s post 9/11 response creating the first ever State Director of Homeland Security.
Turco’s resume includes experience in law enforcement as well. Jeff was the Special Sheriff and Superintendent of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and was appointed a Special Assistant Attorney General representing the agency. He led the successful effort to obtain national accreditation for the first time in the institution’s history.
Turco sees the recent reform related to public safety services as a priority if elected to DeLeo’s seat. “I support accountability and reform in our public safety services at the same time, I will always have the backs of the brave men and women of our public safety community. I believe the recent reform will have dangerous, unintended consequences for our schools and our communities by limiting critical information sharing that the law enforcement community took decades to build.”
Another priority would be legislation related to substance abuse. “There is not a family in this district that has not been affected by mental health and substance use disorders. I will make it a top priority of my service to work to transform the Commonwealth’s efforts in this area. We need a holistic approach so that people are not left without hope and families have the support necessary to help them through the difficult times.”
When asked what legislation DeLeo enacted that he wanted to continue to lobby for if elected, Turco noted the need for increased funding for education. “Bob DeLeo has been a fighter for increased funding for education. Education is the great equalizer for people from all walks of life. I look forward to continuing to fight to increase funding for education which also increases accountability.”
The primary for DeLeo’s seat is slated for March 2 with a special election set for March 30. For more information about Turco’s campaign you may visit his website turcoforrep.com.