MassEquality PAC

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MassEquality PAC Announces 1st Round of Endorsements in 2018 Races

Today, the MassEquality PAC announced its first round of endorsements for the 2018 legislative races.

First-time candidates endorsed by MassEquality PAC include:

“Both of these candidates have been effective advocates and supporters of LGBTQ equality in their communities,” said MassEquality Executive Director Deborah Shields, JD, MPH. “We are confident that they will also be outstanding champions of LGBTQ rights on Beacon Hill.”

MassEquality PAC’s incumbent endorsees include:

“Our endorsed incumbent candidates have a proven track record of consistently supporting legislation that is vital to our community,” Ms. Shields added. “Representative Lewis and Senator Cyr are particularly strong advocates in the Legislature, and Senator Eldridge has a long record of standing with our community. We are proud to endorse these candidates, and we look forward to working with them in the State House to ensure everyone in Massachusetts enjoys equality and justice.”

For more information on the candidates, their platforms and the MassEquality PAC endorsement process, please visit

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Sabrina Heisey – 36th Middlesex

Sabrina Heisey is a member of the Dracut School Committee, and wants to represent the people of Dracut and Tyngsborough on Beacon Hill. She has received strong support from other candidates such as Alexandra Chandler. Last May, Heisey beat a three-term incumbent to win a seat on the school committee, and is now challenging Rep. Colleen Garry, an anti-LGBTQ lawmaker who has held the seat for over 20 years. Heisey is not afraid to stand up for what is right, as her time served on the Dracut school committee has shown. MassEquality PAC is pleased to join Mass Alliance and several other organizations in endorsing her campaign.

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Gretchen Van Ness – 14th Suffolk

Gretchen Van Ness (D – 14th Suffolk)

Gretchen Van Ness is a civil rights lawyer and Hyde Park resident who seeks to represent the people of Hyde Park, Roslindale and West Roxbury. She has spent over three decades advocating to protect the basic human rights of all Massachusetts citizens. Before running for office, she was President of the Board of Hyde Jackson Square Main Street, and she is the current co-chair of the Zoning Committee of the Fairmount Hill Neighborhood Association. She served as President of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, and has been recognized as a Best of Boston attorney by Boston magazine. MassEquality PAC is honored to endorse Gretchen in her election campaign.

Sathya Mandjiny Joins MassEquality as Political Manager

Photo of Sathya Mandjiny

MassEquality is pleased to welcome Sathya Mandjiny as our new Political Manager.

Sathya completed her Masters in Social Work at Boston College, focusing on legislative advocacy. She was an intern at the Massachusetts State House for both the House and Senate, and gained legislative advocacy experience at the National Association of Social Workers-Massachusetts Chapter as their LEAD coordinator, where she focused on legislation surrounding child welfare and criminal justice.

Prior to joining MassEquailty, Sathya worked at Lynch Associates as Account Coordinator, working with the legislative team on a variety of issues including health care and transportation.

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MassEquality PAC Announces Endorsement of Sue Chalifoux Zephir for State Senate

Today, the MassEquality PAC announced its endorsement of Sue Chalifoux Zephir for State Senate. Sue is running to represent the Worcester and Middlesex District in a special election to be held on December 5th.

“Sue Chalifoux Zephir is an advocate and longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community,” said MassEquality Executive Director Deborah Shields, JD, MPH. “Her experience and awareness of LGBTQ issues makes her ideally suited to be an advocate for the community on Beacon Hill.”

LGBTQ rights have become a top issue in this race after Republican opponent Dean Tran claimed that transgender anti-discrimination policies endanger children, and referred to transgender people as individuals “experiencing an identity crisis” while also equating them with “sexual predators” during a recent debate. Mr. Tran also expressed support for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, a critical provider of health services for the LGBTQ community in the Commonwealth.

“This rhetoric is dangerous and puts members of the LGBTQ community at risk in Massachusetts,” continued Ms. Shields. “Transgender people deserve to be treated with the dignity and respect that is given to everyone else. I urge Mr. Tran to use this incident as a learning experience. We commend Ms. Chalifoux Zephir for standing up for equality in her responses to his troubling comments. We are proud to support her.”

For more information on the MassEquality PAC endorsement process, please visit

Massachusetts Votes for Fairness and Equality

MassEquality celebrates LGBTQ victories in yesterday’s election

A total of 20 candidates endorsed by the MassEquality PAC successfully won their races in yesterday’s general election, increasing the number of pro-LGBTQ legislators in the State House. MassEquality Executive Director Deborah Shields, JD, MPH issued the following statement in response:

“We’re pleased to announce that 15 MassEquality PAC-endorsed incumbents kept their seats in the Legislature, despite an inflammatory smear campaign launched by anti-LGBTQ conservatives targeting legislators who voted for the Transgender Anti-Discrimination law. In fact, all of the candidates who were targeted won their races. These victories send the clear message that negative campaigns based on fear-mongering and deception are ineffective when it comes to swaying Massachusetts voters.

“The PAC also endorsed five pro-LGBTQ challengers who won their races against incumbents, including two openly gay candidates. These victories increase the number of LGBTQ supporters on Beacon Hill, giving us more strong allies in the fight for full LGBTQ equality.

“We congratulate our winning candidates, and we look forward to working with them in the State House. These victories are proof that Massachusetts supports fairness and equality for all, and that taking a strong stand for LGBTQ rights is valued by voters in the Commonwealth.”

Winning MassEquality PAC-Endorsed Candidates – November 9, 2016

Governor’s Council

Eileen Duff (5th Governor’s Council)

MA Senate

Julian Cyr (Cape & Islands)
Senator Jamie Eldridge (Middlesex & Worcester)
Senator Eric Lesser (1st Hampden & Hampshire)
Senator Jason Lewis (5th Middlesex)
Senator Barbara L’Italien (2nd Essex & Middlesex)
Senator Stan Rosenberg (Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester)

MA House

Representative Cory Atkins (14th Middlesex)
Representative Evandro Carvalho (5th Suffolk)
Representative Mike Day (31st Middlesex)
Representative Dan Donahue (16th Worcester)
Dylan Fernandes (Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket)
Representative Ken Gordon (21st Middlesex)
Representative Danielle Gregoire (4th Middlesex)
Natalie Higgins (4th Worcester)
Jack Patrick Lewis (7th Middlesex)
Representative Liz Malia (11th Suffolk)
Joan Meschino (3rd Plymouth)
Representative Denise Provost (27th Middlesex)
Representative Tom Stanley (9th Middlesex)

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Joan Meschino, 3rd Plymouth

Joan Meschino (D – 3rd Plymouth)

Former Hull Selectjmeschinoman Joan Meschino has spent her professional career fighting for progressive causes across Massachusetts. A strong advocate for social justice issues, Meschino currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Access to Justice Selection Council. The MassEquality PAC is pleased to endorse her in her campaign.