By Jamie Zahlaway Belsito
It’s hard out here for a (new) Dem.
I walked away from the Massachusetts Democratic Convention this past weekend elated and energized.
The delegates representing Massachusetts’ 6th Congressional district with whom I met were a group of diverse, social-justice warriors from Bedford to Beverly, Amesbury to North Andover, who will not take the current state of our country sitting down.
These delegates are working on gun control, access to affordable housing,
reproductive rights, immigration reform, access to healthcare, equal pay, and voter rights.
Over the past 20 years, I have been in the trenches fighting for many of these same causes at the Massachusetts Statehouse and on Capitol Hill.
Then came the social-media slams around my support for former Republican state Sen. Richard Tisei in the 2014 Congressional cycle.
From 1992 through 2016, my voter affiliation was “Unenrolled.” In February of 2016, after listening to the national conversation become centered on hatred and division, I proudly and purposefully became a registered Democrat.
What has happened to our country since the 2016 election is unprecedented.
President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender members of the military and cuts to reproductive health care are among the dozens of reasons why I’ve made a committment to the Democratic party.
When living in Virginia, by way of pulling a Democratic ballot in 2002, I helped elect Democratic Governor Mark Warner and was a part of the “Blue Wave” that hit Northern Virginia.
In 2004, while residing in Flatbush, Brooklyn, I voted for Senator John Kerry.
After moving back to Massachusetts in 2007, I cast my absentee ballot for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election before heading abroad for work.
From my hotel room in London, I watched with pride as cameras captured the crowd that formed in front of the White House after the results came in that the United States had finally elected its first ever African-American President.
It was progressive, democratic history in the making.
In 2014, I supported Richard Tisei for Congress, an openly gay, married candidate from the same part of the district in which I was raised.
Tisei had a 100% Planned Parenthood rating and received an endorsement by NARAL.
His congressional platform included mental health and women’s health.
Tisei was endorsed by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG).
In 2014, ACOG’s top-priority federal legislative issue was postpartum depression.
Tisei gave me a platform to talk openly about mental health and maternal health in our district, issues I have been publicly transparent about that
have directly affected me and my immediate family.
I come to the district with a proven, 20-year track record of work at the state and federal level that includes advocacy and policy on education, immigration, mental health, maternal health, and substance use.
The outcomes of my work have benefited communities across our district, state, and country. I have been able to make a direct difference for both our community and our country from my kitchen table.
I believe I am the best candidate to represent Massachusetts’ 6th Congressional district.
If members of the Democratic party find fault with me having supported Richard Tisei in 2014, that will be their decision.
I am a hard-working and passionate fighter for truth and justice who is committed to Democratic values, and I will continue fighting for those
values on behalf of everyone in the 6th Congressional district.
In Washington, I will represent our district with humility and pride. I ask for your support. Let’s do this!
Jamie Zahlaway Belsito of Topsfield is a Democratic candidate for United States Congress’ 6th District. She is one of three candidates — Nathaniel Mulcahy and Lisa Peterson are the other two — challenging Democratic incumbent Seth Moulton.