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Getting to know Massachusetts Congresswoman Lori Trahan

U.S. Congresswoman Lori Trahan at WBUR's studios in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
U.S. Congresswoman Lori Trahan at WBUR's studios in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

We sit down with Congresswoman Lori Trahan for a wide-ranging conversation on her life, her work, and the things that inspire her political efforts.

Below are highlights from their conversation, which have been lightly edited.

Interview Highlights

On being rooted in her heritage:

"I think a lot of people in Lowell are very much rooted in their heritage. It's an immigrant city. It's one where many waves of people have kind of come through and and found their way.

"If I think about my grandmother, she was a mill girl, worked in a textile mill in Lowell. She worked in several in my lifetime. I've watched those mill buildings that, you know, was literally the start of our industrial revolution. And with so many women workers, I mean, you think about the strikes for, you know, fairer conditions, safer working conditions. Those were born from women immigrants who worked in these mills.

"And my congressional office today is in one of those mill buildings. And so I feel very connected to what my grandmother pursued when she came here and the nobility of her just wanting to provide a better life for her family and for future generations of her family."

On why she decided to run:

"I think my first look back at the Congress was when President Trump got elected. I was very concerned about what would happen to future generations. I was looking in the eyes of my two daughters who were very young at the time and then looked at the Congress as a whole and thought, 'Wow, there aren't as many women as I would have expected.'

"Well, little did I know that there were thousands of women having the same thought bubble across the country. And in 2018, when the opportunity arose, I'll never forget that moment. I was in a hotel room in Seattle, and I had just seen the news that Congresswoman Tsongas was retiring. No one, I think, was expecting her retirement. Certainly I wasn't. But I had a moment of clarity that, you know, you just don't get many of those in your in your life.

"And I called my husband immediately and I told him, I said, 'I'm flying home tonight, but I'm running for Congresswoman Tsongas, the seat I'm going to run.'"

On her work in office:

"I really want to make sure the United States continues to be a leader by example on climate, on health care, on equity, on making sure that women are, you know, paid and treated as fairly as men. I mean, I've got a long list of of goals, but I chip away at them wherever I can find a win. I will take that win and then reassert myself to pushing ahead. But yeah, it can feel daunting because there are so many things where we need to either catch up or lead. But I'm pretty long on energy."

On what she's most proud of:

"I'm proud of the fact that I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone a number of times. It's a hard thing to do. I did it when I left politics the first time to go to the tech sector. I did it again when I started my own company with two other women, the consulting company that was really at the end committed to getting more women into leadership roles. And I did it by putting my name on the ballot.

"And I don't believe ... anything comes easy in life. And I think that has been validated by the risks that I've taken, maybe career risks or the personal risks that I've taken in order to go where I've wanted to go.

"And along the way, if I can bring more women to the game, if I can elevate, women so that people see our power, if I can set the conditions so that women can thrive as casually as men have for centuries, I'm going to do that. And so whatever personal risk or personal sacrifice that I've taken on is hopefully something that women writ large benefit from and get a return on."

This segment aired on March 24, 2023.

Tiziana Dearing Host, Radio Boston
Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston.


Amanda Beland Producer/Director
Amanda Beland is a producer and director for Radio Boston. She also reports for the WBUR newsroom.



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