Senator Patricia Jehlen was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 2005. She represents Medford, Somerville, and parts of Winchester and Cambridge. Senator Jehlen serves as Senate Assistant Majority Leader, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, Chair of the Special Senate Subcommittee on Education, Senate Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, and Senate Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. She also serves on the Joint Committees on the Judiciary, Elder Affairs, and Election Laws.
Jehlen served from 1991 to 2005 in the Massachusetts House of Representatives where she served as Co-Chair of the Women's Caucus, Co-Chair of the Progressive Legislator's Group (PLG), Co-Chair of the Elder Caucus, and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Elder Affairs. Among her successful legislation were bills to increase literacy for blind people, ensure the rights of people living with mental illness, and provide compensation for the wrongfully convicted. She helped lead the fight to increase the minimum wage, to target tax cuts towards working families by increasing the earned income tax credit and child care credit, and to increase the senior circuit breaker.
Among her current priorities is full funding of an updated Foundation Budget, and providing adequate funding for all schools regardless of property wealth. She is working to change the accountability system so that schools are not judged primarily on test scores, and to find remedies for low-scoring schools that are based on students' needs. In 2016, she joined thousands of MTA members, school committee leaders, and parents in helping defeat Question 2, which would have greatly expanded the number of charter schools.
She continues to fight for universal and affordable health care and jobs with decent wages and benefits, including earned sick time. In the area of elder services, she is focused on making sure that seniors of all income levels can find housing and services that meet their needs, whether in the community or in institutions.
In August of 2016, Jehlen’s ground-breaking equal pay bill was signed into law. Among other successful bills she sponsored are ones to update child labor and animal control laws, and to prevent fires by regulating floor finishing.
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