By Melissa Moore-Randall
Born in Winthrop and raised on water tower hill, where she still lives today, Alicia DelVento’s desire to fight for Winthrop and Revere is inspired by the service of others. “Many of my family and closest friends are now educators, nurses, and essential workers, and I witness them giving tirelessly for the benefit of us all. This place is where I learned to fight for bold, compassionate policies that help my friends and neighbors. It’s why ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our community is so important to me.”
Alicia has strong roots in both Revere and Winthrop. She tells us: “My story began right here in Winthrop and Revere, in a family of community activists and union Democrats. My dad’s mother, Josephine, was a World War II refugee coming to America after her home in Italy was bombed. Speaking no English, her family came to East Boston before settling in Revere. She and my grandpa Tony, a laborer with Local 22, put down roots in the district. Meanwhile, after serving in WWII, my mom’s father Joe opened his own small business, Stasio Lumber Yard, which served Winthrop for decades. Winthrop and Revere welcomed them with open arms, and we have to keep making sure we welcome people from all walks of life.”
DelVento experienced firsthand how essential a strong public education is, graduating from the Winthrop Public Schools and going on to earn a B.S. in Health Management and Policy at the University of New Hampshire. She is currently a Master of Public Health candidate at Dartmouth College.
After nearly four years on Beacon Hill, which included working on the Massachusetts budget as an aide to former House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Jeff Sanchez, DelVento left her post, to commit herself completely to this special election. “If elected, I want to legislate the same way that I am running this campaign — full-time with an open door policy for everyone. I have heard from many in our community about how important it is to them that their State Representative’s one and only job is serving constituents and ensuring Beacon Hill passes legislation that helps folks in Winthrop and Revere. That’s something that is very important to me, and something I promise to do if elected.”
A passion for public health and experience organizing in the community led DelVento to run for Bob DeLeo’s seat. “If you ask me, if you want something done, you start talking to your neighbors and get to work. When I look at the considerable challenges facing our district and our Commonwealth, the best way I know how to move forward is to build coalitions and mutual respect. We have to fight for a brighter future for Winthrop and Revere, which means for all of us. I am also very data and science-driven. For me, public health is the guiding force behind everything, and it encompasses more than just the healthcare system. We don’t have a healthy community if our schools aren’t funded, if our air isn’t clean, if our trains don’t run, or if people simply can’t afford to live here anymore.”
When asked why she would be the best successor for Speaker DeLeo’s seat, she added, “I’m a coalition-builder, but I’m a fighter too. I also have the most experience of any candidate in the current House of Representatives and am very familiar with its workings, having spent the last four years working under the Chairs of Ways & Means, Health Care Financing, and State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, and for a member of the Special Committee dealing with the Commonwealth’s economic recovery from COVID-19. I am confident in my relationships in the current legislature, and that I’ll be able to hit the ground running in a way that not every freshman representative necessarily can. I don’t think this moment calls for another lawyer on Beacon Hill. We are living through a public health emergency that is at once worsening challenges our community has been facing for quite some time now and giving rise to new problems that require creative solutions. I think we need a fresh perspective to help us fight back from COVID-19 and ensure we come back stronger than before. In many ways, I think my past experience in the House, background in public health, and community organizing gives me a unique perspective and a better seat at the table.”
DelVento had high praise for the man she hopes to succeed. “I know that if elected, I would have some big shoes to fill. Speaker DeLeo has been a champion for Winthrop and Revere for decades, his departure is truly a bittersweet moment for many in our district, including myself. I have had the opportunity to not only benefit from Speaker DeLeo’s work for our community as a constituent, but see it first-hand in the House of Representatives over the last four years. His friendship and mentorship over the years has meant a great deal to me. If elected, I would take these lessons to Beacon Hill, to continue his fight for Winthrop and Revere.”
She sees many major issues affecting Revere and Winthrop that need decisive action. “An equitable COVID-19 vaccine rollout is the first priority, and the process needs to be much clearer and more accessible for our Seniors than it is currently. But we also need to come back stronger. That means it’s time to dive deeper into some of the challenges that COVID-19 has laid bare. We must confront how our current public health crisis has exacerbated many of our state’s challenges and inequalities, from healthcare to education, climate, infrastructure, and economic opportunity. We also need to put our money where our mouth is and protect frontline workers and first responders with hazard pay and emergency sick leave. We also have to take a closer look at the quality of care and services we provide our Veterans. They have given so much for our community and the least we can do is have their back by ensuring they receive the highest quality care possible.”
DelVento is committed to delivering for the district, and fighting to ensure that all residents of the 19th Suffolk have what they need — like housing, education, and healthcare. “A top priority for me is passing and building on the climate bill. I learned so much from my time as Winthrop’s lead organizer for Ed Markey this past year — we need to act now. That means investing decisively in affordable clean energy, clean public transportation, clean jobs. Protecting the beaches and the Belle Isle Marsh is an investment in our futures, our health, our homes, and local businesses.”
DelVento applauded Speaker DeLeo’s work as an advocate for early education. “I will fight to make high-quality childcare and early education available to all working families, Public education funding is one of my top priorities, and something I was especially proud of while working for the Chair of House Ways & Means. This includes expanding mental health services for our young people, especially those who may be struggling with addiction.”
Her overall goal if elected is simple. “I see this as a moment to make sure that Revere and Winthrop continue to be welcoming and thriving communities. This community welcomed my grandparents when they were looking for a place to call home, and it’s one of many reasons why I will fight for a bright future for all of us.”
The special Democratic primary for DeLeo’s seat is slated for March 2nd, with a general election set for March 30th. For more information about DelVento’s campaign, you may visit her website AliciaDelVento.com, @DelventoMA on Twitter and Instagram, and /DelventoMA on Facebook.