Ayanna Pressley surprised everyone by defeating 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano in the Massachusetts Democratic congressional primary. Since there is currently no challenger for the November general election, Pressley is all but assured a seat in the House of Representatives.
Much has been made of the fact that she would be the first Black woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress. But Pressley has even more interesting facts about her. Here are five things to know about the future congresswoman:
1. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Did Not Endorse Her
The members of the CBC, which includes among its ranks esteemed legislators like John Lewis and Maxine Waters, actually endorsed Pressley’s opponent, who is white, and very publicly so. In a rousing speech at the Twelfth Baptist Church this past spring, Lewis defended his choice to endorse Democratic liberal Capuano who has been in Congress for nearly 20 years. “People who have been around for awhile, they know their way around,” Lewis said, according to the New York Times. “They know where all the bodies are buried and they know how to get things done.”
2. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Endorsed Her
Pressley may not have gotten the CBC’s endorsement, but she did get an endorsement from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the activist who scored her own primary upset against a long-time incumbent congressman in New York. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about Pressley’s victory on primary day.
“@AyannaPressley + I bonded over running while constantly told it’s “not our turn,” that we “weren’t ready,” “good enough,” or “experienced” enough. We kept going anyway.
In June, I won my primary. Tonight, she won hers. Here’s to November,” she wrote.
3. First woman of color on Boston’s City Council
Not only is Pressley positioned to make history as the first Black woman in Congress on behalf of Massachusetts, but she has already made history on the local level. Pressley is the also the first woman of color to hold a seat on Boston’s City Council in its 108-year history.
4. Her Husband Also Works at Boston’s City Hall
Pressley’s husband Conan Harris works at City Hall too. He is the deputy director of public safety initiatives for Mayor Martin Walsh. Harris dedicated his life to youth development after spending 10 years in prison on drug charges. He is also the director of the Boston chapter of My Brother’s Keeper, a program created by Barack Obama. Pressley and Hall live in the Dorchester section of Boston with Hall’s 9-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.
5. Kennedy Connection
John F. Kennedy, one of the more revered American presidents, was elected to Congress from the very same district that Pressley is about to represent. In fact, she even worked as a district representative for JFK’s nephew, Joseph Patrick Kennedy II, in the 1990s.