: Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Author of Photo: United States Congress

Lori Trahan

  • Was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018
  • Member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus & Progressive Caucus

Lori Trahan was born on October 27, 1973 in Lowell, Massachusetts, where she grew up with her three sisters and working-class parents. She received an athletic scholarship to play volleyball at Georgetown University from 1991-1995 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Comparative and Regional Studies in International Relations.

Trahan developed an interest in public affairs during her time as a student at Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Following her graduation in 1995, she became a staff member of then-Massachusetts Democratic congressman Marty Meehan and eventually served as his Chief of Staff.

Disillusioned by the “increasing partisanship that served wealthy special interests” and the “deep polarization taking hold of Washington,” Trahan left the public sector in 2005 and took a job at a software company called ChoiceStream in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In January 2012, she became CEO of the Cambridge-based Concire Leadership Institute, a small consulting firm where she focused on increasing racial diversity and female representation within private companies.

In 2018, Trahan ran for a U.S. House seat representing the deep blue 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts. After barely securing the Democratic nomination by just 0.2 percentage points in a crowded primary field, she went on to win the general election by a 29-point margin over Republican opponent Rick Green.

Upon being sworn into office in January 2019, Trahan became a member of the Congressional Hispanic, Progressive, LGBTQ+ Equality, and Black Maternal Health Caucuses. Her official House website articulates her positions on the following key issues:

  • Addressing Racial Injustice: “The United States has a dark, painful history of racial injustice dating back 400 years to when the first African slave arrived on our shores. Once slavery was banned, discriminatory policies such as Jim Crow laws, redlining, and segregation persisted in many areas of our nation. While those policies have rightfully been relegated to history, racial inequality continues to persist in America. To this day, Black Americans continue to face glaring disparities in access to health care, good schools, a clean environment, a fair workplace, affordable housing, and a fair criminal justice system. As a community, a Commonwealth, and a nation, we cannot afford to ignore the consequences, some of which are fatal, of this inequality on communities of color. Congresswoman Trahan is working to ensure that the nationwide movement to end racial injustice translates to action at the federal level and permeates all of our policy discussions and legislative agenda that will create a more equal and more just America.”
  • Healthcare: “In the wealthiest nation on earth, no one should lack access to quality, affordable healthcare or worry that getting sick could mean bankruptcy for their families. Congresswoman Trahan firmly believes that access to affordable healthcare is a basic human right, which is why she is acting to make sure people with preexisting conditions and underserved minorities, like women, get the resources and treatment they need.”
  • Immigration: “Since its founding, the United States has been a nation of immigrants. […] Congresswoman Trahan … believes that we must reject nativism and instead pursue a just and compassionate immigration policy.”
  • LGBTQ+ Rights: “Recent years have brought extraordinary progress in the fight for full equality for our LGBTQ+ community. Like millions of others across the country, Congresswoman Trahan joined with friends and family to celebrate the numerous Supreme Court rulings that paved the way for same-sex couples to marry. But despite these joyful and historic victories, the fight for full equality under the law continues. Today, LGBTQ+ Americans continue to face discrimination in many states around the country.”
  • Voting: “[V]oter oppression and suppression still exists to this day … especially with the gutting of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.[1]  The Supreme Court’s decision to undermine this long overdue piece of legislation allowed states to disenfranchise millions of voters, particularly Black Americans and young Americans. Congresswoman Trahan … is committed to restoring the Voting Rights Act in full and building on its progress to make voting more accessible for all Americans.”

On the premise that the carbon emissions resulting from human industrial activity have set the stage for potentially catastrophic climate change, Trahan laments that “across the country, our coasts, forests, and farmlands have already begun to bear the brunt of extreme weather patterns and increasingly destructive natural disasters.” Along with more than 60 fellow Congressional Democrats, including  Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey, Trahan became an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal in February 2019. She claimed that this legislation would help put the United States “on the right track toward saving our planet” from the “existential threat” of climate change.

In March 2019, Trahan co-sponsored the Climate Action Now Act, a bill that would have required the Trump Administration to subject the United States to the strictures of the Paris Climate Agreement. Following her vote to uphold the Paris accord in May 2019, Trahan stated that “[c]ombating the climate crisis” by means of “bold action” was “a moral imperative.”

Supporting amnesty and a pathway-to-citizenship for illegal aliens currently residing in the United States, Trahan in February 2019 denounced President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border – a declaration that Trump used to justify the allocation of federal funds for the construction of a border wall — as a “clear abuse of power.” Trahan characterized the situation as a “fake national emergency” that did not require an “ineffective, wasteful wall.”

In March 2019, Trahan was an original co-sponsor of the Dream and Promise Act, which advocated a pathway-to-citizenship for beneficiaries of DACA, the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Describing such beneficiaries as “friends, family members, and neighbors” of Americans from coast to coast, she said: “It is time to do right by them and provide for their protection and a pathway to citizenship.”

In May 2019, Trahan was one of eight U.S. Representatives – among whom were such notables as Ayanna Pressley, Joe Kennedy III, and James McGovern — who issued a letter imploring Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to challenge the Trump Department of Homeland Security’s immigration policies by assisting local TPS and DED holders in renewing their driver’s licenses.

In early June 2020, Trahan joined 14 fellow Congressional Democrats in signing a letter condemning then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s recent remarks vis-a-vis the violent riots that were sweeping the country in the aftermath of the infamous May 25, 2020 death of African American George Floyd during an altercation with a white police officer. The letter said, in part:

“We are dismayed and gravely concerned regarding your recent statements and subsequent actions in response to the civil unrest in our nation…. This week you described American streets and communities as a ‘battlespace’ that must be ‘dominate[d]’. Our own military doctrine, developed over the history of our nation and to which you are entrusted with executing, states that ‘dominate activities’ are those that ‘focus on breaking the enemy’s will’ and ‘attacking weaknesses at the leading edge of the enemy’s defensive perimeter.’ In response to this, let us be clear: United States citizens are not the enemy and our military should not plan or execute attacks against them.

“More than 28,000 National Guard personnel are now deployed across 28 states and Washington, D.C., a greater force than the combined number of troops we currently have deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. The same military doctrine that defines our approach to our enemies states that activities which ‘enable civil authority’ to support ‘legitimate civil governance’ should be conducted through ‘agreement with the appropriate civil authority,’ ‘especially for operations within the US.’ It is imperative that any use of the National Guard or the armed forces adhere to these precepts, and our citizens are treated as Americans — not enemy combatants on the battlefield.”

Trahan’s fellow signatories were: Salud Carbajal, Gilbert Cisneros, Veronica Escobar, Ruben Gallego, Deb Haaland, William Keating, Andy Kim, Rick Larsen, Ted Lieu, Elaine Luria, Seth Moulton, Mikie Sherrill, Elissa Slotkin, and Jackie Speier .

In March 2021, Trahan voted in favor of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a Democrat bill that called for: banning police chokeholds; banning no-knock warrants in drug cases; establishing a “National Police Misconduct Registry”; ending “racial, religious and discriminatory profiling” by law-enforcement; designating lynching as a federal hate crime; and eliminating the “court-created qualified immunity doctrine.” After the House of Representatives passed the bill, Trahan claimed that the Senate had a “moral obligation to do the same.” She added that “[R]acism, discrimination, and injustice are not relics of our nation’s history. Rather, they infiltrate every facet of life.”

In September 2020, Trahan expressed her support for both the Strength in Diversity Act and the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act as vehicles by which to “desegregate public schools.” Citing the alleged “unequal access to a quality education [that] persists for Black and Brown Americans,” the congresswoman said that these two bills “will help fulfill our nation’s promise of equity in education.”

Trahan believes not only that the United States is systemically racist, but also that it discriminates unfairly against women. As one of her first actions as an elected representative, in January 2019 she joined Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro in introducing the Paycheck Fairness Act. Claiming that “women [are] still making only 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man,” Trahan stated that the proposed legislation would help “continue the work of those women and their allies who came before us in the fight for full equality.”[2]

In 2019 as well, Trahan voted in favor of the Raise the Wage Act, which aimed to raise the federal minimum wage to $15-per-hour over a six-year period.

Trahan endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren for president in 2019, citing the need to elect someone who could help “fundamentally reorient our economy.” Moreover, the congresswoman said she supported Warren’s efforts to “restore decency and a sense of our common values to the presidency and put a worker-focused economic agenda front and center.”

In March 2019, Trahan introduced the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions & Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019. “Access to quality, affordable health care is a human right for all, not a privilege for the few,” she stated. “The ACA [Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare] marked one of the most significant steps toward universal health care coverage of our generation, and it must be protected from further sabotage at all costs.”

Trahan supported the For the People Act of 2021, which, according to the Heritage Foundation, “would federalize and micromanage the election process administered by the states, imposing unnecessary, unwise, and unconstitutional mandates on the states and reversing the decentralization of the American election process.” Trahan described the legislation a “once in a generation opportunity to overhaul our electoral system and make sure that Congress is responsive to the people, not special interests.”

In 2019 Trahan was an original co-sponsor of the Equality Act, whose purpose was to codify sexual orientation and “gender identity” as protected characteristics akin to religion, race, and sex.

In March 2019, Trahan joined a number of Democrats in celebrating the “International Transgender Day of Visibility” by replacing the POW/MIA (Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action) flags outside their congressional offices with “transgender pride” flags.

Following the January 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump, Trahan voted in favor of legislation calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment in order to remove Trump from office. “The President of the United States incited a violent mob of his supporters to commit an act of insurrection meant to overthrow Congress and halt the count of Electoral College votes,” said the congresswoman. After subsequently voting to impeach President Trump during his final days in office, Trahan called upon the Senate to “vote to ensure that he [Trump] never spends another second as President of the United States” because “the future of our Democracy relies on it.”

After attending Joe Biden’s first presidential address to Congress in April 2021, Trahan claimed that “President Biden’s message tonight was clear: America is back.” Moreover, the congresswoman expressed her eagerness to fulfill the Democrats’ electoral “mandate” and to “build upon the progress” they had already made under Biden.

Footnotes

  1. As Justice.gov explains: “On June 25, 2013, the United States Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional to use the coverage formula in Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act to determine which jurisdictions are subject to the preclearance requirement of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Shelby County v. Holder […] Section 5 was enacted to freeze changes in election practices or procedures in covered jurisdictions until the new procedures have been determined, either after administrative review by the Attorney General, or after a lawsuit before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, to have neither discriminatory purpose or effect. Section 5 was designed to ensure that voting changes in covered jurisdictions could not be implemented used until a favorable determination has been obtained. The requirement was enacted in 1965 as temporary legislation, to expire in five years, and applicable only to certain [mostly Southern] states. […] Under Section 5, any change with respect to voting in a covered jurisdiction — or any political subunit within it — cannot legally be enforced unless and until the jurisdiction first obtains the requisite determination by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or makes a submission to the Attorney General. This requires proof that the proposed voting change does not deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. If the jurisdiction is unable to prove the absence of such discrimination, the District Court denies the requested judgment, or in the case of administrative submissions, the Attorney General objects to the change, and it remains legally unenforceable.”
  2. The premise that women are paid less than equally qualified males in equivalent jobs is false. For details, click here.