Editor’s Note: The 3rd Annual Ladies in Blue is a little more than 48 hours away. Visit our Facebook page to learn more about the event and ActBlue to purchase your tickets. Below Cara Lisa Berg Powers, Co-Chair of the Worcester County Young Dems provides some background for this year’s award recipients.
Attorney General Martha Coakley, Woman of the Year
After a long career as a prosecutor fighting for children’s welfare, Attorney General Coakley has taken her fights statewide and been a leader on issues of national consequence. Most notably, AG Coakley has put a national spotlight on the Commonwealth’s equal marriage laws, challenging the “Defense of Marriage Act” all the way to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, where it is currently being heard. It may go all the way to the Supreme Court. Here in Massachusetts the AG has been a tireless advocate for consumer protections, especially around foreclosures, and her vocal battle to reframe trafficking in our law recently led to the arrests of four major trafficking suspects who may have been responsible for the trafficking of over a dozen women.
Senator Susan Fargo, Legislator of the Year
Retiring Senator Susan Fargo has been a progressive voice for the 3rd Middlesex District for 15 years. In addition to serving as the Senate Chair of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, Senator Fargo has also Chaired the Joint Committee on Public Health and the Council of Racial and Health Disparities. She has been a consistent ally in the State House for all of the communities she represents, fighting for legislation to protect children, families, and the environment. The Governor recently signed her School Nutrition Bill to ensure that all future young democrats (and every other child) gets the healthy and nutritious meals at school that they deserve.
Selectman Jesse Mermell, Activist of the Year
Jesse Mermell is used to being thought of as “inexperienced” or “green,” often code words for young professionals and elected leaders. These characterizations could not be further from the truth, however, and in addition to her critical role as Selectman in Brookline, Mermell has lead organizations throughout the state on a variety of issues that matter to many of us here at the Young Democrats of Massachusetts. In addition to Selectman, Mermell is currently the Director of Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She has also lead the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, the Mass Women’s Political Caucus, served as Vice President for External Affairs for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, and at one point was the Executive Director for the Young Democrats of Massachusetts. Along with that experience, she has lead several progressive campaigns and continues to lend her expertise through Boards, Advisories and other volunteering opportunities with organizations like Emerge Massachusetts, Citizens for Public Schools, and the Young Black Women’s Society.