Rep. Maria Robinson was elected in November to represent the Sixth Middlesex District, located in Framingham.
(1) What got you involved in politics in the first place?
I’ve been a bit of a political nerd (in addition to my other nerdy passions) since elementary school, when I stayed up late with my friends to watch the Al Gore “lockbox” sketch in SNL. I helped to found our first speech and debate team in high school, although I’ll admit I was much more moderate back then and identified as a Blue Dog Democrat. I’m a bit of a different person now and identify as a Progressive. Still a nerd, though.
(2) What inspired you to run for this office?
Thanks to the confidence I gained in the Emerge Massachusetts program and years of experience working in state houses across the country, I realized I was actually qualified to serve in office. But my (foster) kids are what truly inspired me. They are million times more resilient and capable than most people by merely surviving in a system that failed them over and over — and a system that government is capable and responsible for fixing. We owe it to all of our kids to create a safe, sustainable, well-vaccinated world for them to thrive in.
(3) What were the most important lessons you learned during the campaign?
Sleep. Hydrate. Don’t read the internet. Repeat.
On a more serious note, the lesson I learned then and continue to learn is that running for office and being in office is tough on the people closest to you. It isn’t an individual decision to run; it takes a village, including your immediate family and friends, to support you through this journey. I’m leaning on my husband and parents more than ever, but that leaning takes a toll and requires you to take a step back and focus the people in your immediate circle.
(4) What are your priorities for the new legislative session?
Climate change looms large in my mind; it’s tough to focus on other concerns if our planet is going into self-destruct mode over the course of my lifetime. I’m fortunate to live in a district that is environmentally focused and wants me to push hard for strong climate and clean energy policy that includes greater investment in public transportation. It would be great if the State House encouraged use of public transportation internally; I would love to see reduced fare for employees to encourage folks, including reps to take public transit instead of driving! I’m also interested in data privacy; Rep. Hecht has a bill that restricts the use of electronic tolling data that I’m hoping to be active on.
(5) Why is it important for more young people to get active in the Democratic Party?
Anyone who follows my non-official Twitter account knows I’m a huge Pete Buttigieg fan, in large part because I think millennials need to step up and play a bigger role in the Democratic Party. We’re a massive, important voting bloc, and our issues are different. I think young people are focused on solving long-term issues that may not be what the generation above us considers to be priorities.
Moreover, we need people who look like us in office. We need people who interact with technology like we do. We need people who understand student debt. We need people who can’t fathom owning a car, let alone a house. I hope more young people step up — run for office, get involved in your DTC, volunteer for candidates, and obviously join YDMA!