- Patricia D. Jehlen
Senator Patricia D. Jehlen is a State Senator for the 2nd Middlesex District, representing the communities of Medford, Somerville, Winchester, & Woburn and is currently serving her second term in the
Massachusetts State Senate. In her first year she served as Chairman of the Public Service Committee. In January 2007 she was appointed Senate Chairman of the Committee on Elder Affairs, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government, and Vice-Chairman of the Committee on State Administration. She also serves on the Committees of Children, Families, and People with Disabilities; Health Care Financing; Labor and Workforce Development; and Public Safety and Homeland Security.
She is Chair of the Committee on Elder Affairs, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government and Vice-Chair of the Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. She also serves on the Committee on Children and Families, Committee on Healthcare Financing, Committee on Labor and Workforce Development and the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Jehlen, as chair of Elder Affairs, increased the Personal Needs Allowance for people in rest homes and nursing homes for the first time since it was cut in [http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/11/25/meeting_personal_needs_7280_at_a_time/ 1990] . She also got $6.2 million in additional funding for homecare, allowing 260 nursing home-eligible seniors to stay in their communities. Jehlen also successfully succeeded in bringing overdue adjustments to the needs of senior citizens, including an increase in their personal needs allowance, and to increase homemaker wages and the salary reserve for those who provide for the care of elders.
Her top legislative priorities are equitable and excellent education, universal and affordable health care, jobs with decent wages and benefits, and paid family leave.
Education and Experience
Jehlen, a former history teacher and VISTA volunteer, graduated from
Swarthmore College, received a Masters degree in teaching from Harvard University, and completed Master's course work in history at University of Massachusetts Boston. She currently teaches a course in Health Politics and Public Policy at the Boston University School of Public Health.
From 1976 to 1991, she served on the Somerville School Committee, as chairman in 1980 and 1988. She was among the founders of the CHOICE program, a public school alternative elementary program. On the state level, she helped found the Council for Fair School Finance, which brought the successful lawsuit which led to the education reform of 1993, and brought hundreds of millions of dollars in new state aid to communities.
Jehlen served from 1991 to 2005 in the
Massachusetts House of Representatives, where she served as Co-Chairman of the Progressive Legislator's Group (PLG), Co-Chairman of the Elder Caucus, and Vice-Chairman 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.
As chair of the Progressive Legislators Group and member of the Working Families Agenda in the House, Jehlen helped raise the minimum wage and won tax cuts for working families like increasing the earned income tax credit and adopting the senior circuit breaker
Awards in 2007
* The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health for "compassionate leadership on behalf of children, adults and families living with mental illness"
* Teens Lead @ Work, Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health for her work on child labor reform
* The Peggy Munroe Home Care Advocacy Award from the Massachusetts Council of Home Care Aide Services
* The John Philip Sousa Award from Somerville Cambridge Elder Services for "outstanding advocacy efforts on behalf of Cambridge and Somerville Elders"
* The Heart in Hand Award from CASPAR for helping obtain funding to continue their shelter program
Awards in 2008
*Ben Gill award from Mass-Care for activism for Single-Payer Health Care
Massachusetts Senate Delegations
* [http://patjehlen.org/- PatJehlen.org]
* [http://www.1000voicesarchive.org/video/109/A-Senator-with-Heart- A Senator With Heart]
* [http://www.mass.gov/legis/member/pdj0.htm- Patricia D. Jehlen Legislature website]
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