“I am running because the people of Chelsea and Everett deserve a state rep who will lift our voices in Beacon Hill and who won’t settle for small fixes to the urgent issues we face,” Roberto Jiménez Rivera, Democrat, said in his announcement to run for the newly created 11th Suffolk seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
With redrawn boundaries as part of last year’s redistricting process, the new 11th Suffolk represents Chelsea and parts of Everett — a majority Latino area.
“I was part of the Drawing Democracy Coalition that advocated for this district and for districts around Massachusetts that were ‘districts of opportunity’ and are really meant to help lift communities of color and working-class people across Massachusetts,” Jiménez Rivera told the Bay State Banner. “It’s just a huge opportunity for the people of Chelsea.”
The 31-year-old organizer for the Boston Teachers Union successfully ran for the at-large seat on the Chelsea School Committee in November 2019. Jiménez Rivera was re-elected this past November.
“It was important to me that we got to know as many people as we could, talk with people about why I care about our schools, and share the work I had done already in education,” recalled Jiménez Rivera about the 2019 campaign. “People were really excited to have somebody come talk with them about these important issues,” he said in an interview with the Chelsea Record.
Jiménez Rivera was born in Norwood but grew up in Manati, Puerto Rico. He says his parents decided to move back to the island because they wanted him to grow up around family.
He lived in Puerto Rico until graduating from high school. From there he attended the University of Michigan where he studied for six years, receiving his undergraduate degree in 2012 and his master’s degree in 2013. Following graduate school, Jiménez Rivera moved back to Massachusetts in 2014.
With the experience of living in Puerto Rico, he said he also looks to be a strong advocate for racial justice, and that he would be a valuable addition to the Legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus.
“Because of the pandemic and the kind of broader racial justice movement that we’ve seen after the murder of George Floyd, I think there is an appetite from voters and legislators to really push for broader racial justice measures. And I think it will be the best way to go about doing that work, to listen to the legislators of color,” Jiménez Rivera said.
“I believe every person in Chelsea and Everett has the ability to succeed if we properly invest in our community,” said Jiménez Rivera on his campaign’s website.
Roberto, his wife, Sarah, and their son, Robi, live in Chelsea.