On March 19th, 2018, JCRC joined with 200 of our friends at the State House at our Legislative Reception to recognize our allies in government who go above and beyond to work side-by-side with us to make the Commonwealth a more perfect home and the shining state on the hill, reflecting its values across the Globe.
This year we honored four public servants who have worked with us on our wide array of policy priorities, have promoted the goals of our community and have been real partners in standing up with us and for us. Lon Povich (Governor Baker’s legal counsel), House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez, Senator Eric Lesser and Attorney General Maura Healey each personify those values in different but vitally important ways.
Along with those honorees, we were joined by a who’s who of state leadership, including Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem, Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka.
In politics, as in life, it is rare to get a room full of people agreeing on anything, but through our honorees, these leaders and our network of partners, a tableau of our communal values and priorities was elegantly presented. For those who read my messages each week, you by now know about our work supporting immigrants and refugees, promoting economic opportunity, demanding gun violence prevention and criminal justice reform and promoting a strong Israel/Massachusetts relationship. But, it is one thing hearing it from me, and quite another to hear it straight from the podium by these leaders framed by the JCRC banner, where speaker after speaker emphasized these very values.
I hope you will join us at our next Legislative Reception in 2019. In the meantime, please enjoy the photos, video clips, and other quotes from the event.
“What I find so inspiring about the JCRC is that … you work for more vocational education, you work for more job training, whether it’s Jewish kids or not, you work for that immigrant family, that person fleeing persecution, whether it’s someone coming from a Jewish community, or not. You work on behalf of justice, on behalf of Israel advocacy, not just because it’s good for Israel, of course it’s good for Israel, but because it’s good for our families in Massachusetts as well, because it helps create jobs, it helps foster trade, it helps spur entrepreneurship. It’s really been a motivating and inspiring thing to work with a group of people who are so committed to such an important group of universalist values, that frankly are under attack right now. And the way that we respond to that is by doubling down on that mission. Spread justice, tzedek tzedek, justice justice shall you pursue” – Senator Eric Lesser
“It’s great to work in public policy in MA because in the elected officials and the staff we have bright, hardworking, passionate people who can discuss ideas from all around the political spectrum, who can bring their intelligence and passion without the rancor we see at other levels of government or in other states. And of course the debate in MA wouldn’t be anywhere near as accessible if it wasn’t for interest groups like the JCRC who can bring passion and intelligence and hard work, without the rancor we see elsewhere. And the JCRC in particular can bring the values of the Jewish community into the public square to discuss so many important issues. And it’s not just [direct impacts on the Jewish community] that JCRC is so involved in as we know, it’s all the important issues across the social justice spectrum. They are key and important players in this debate.” – Lon Povich, Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Baker
“When we went into Jerusalem [with JCRC], to go into the old city and to see how the world is captured in that 2 miles radius with all these different people from all different corners, [JCRC was] right, it’s complicated! And despite all the challenges everyone has a love of others that I thought was extremely profound and really touched me and moved me in so many different ways. It was incredible to see the connection that exists between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Israel and we have to make sure to do everything to continue to strengthen those ties because there is so much good that is happening.” – Chairman Jeff Sánchez
JCRC | MAJF Legislative Reception
Co-Chairs: Lisa Danetz and Eitan Milgram
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and Massachusetts Association of Jewish Federations (MAJF) honored public officials dedicated to serving the needs of the Commonwealth.
Monday, March 19th, 2018, 3pm-5pm
Great Hall, Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA
We were pleased to present the following awards:
Excellence in Leadership Award
Attorney General Maura Healey, Massachusetts
Since January 2015, Maura Healey has served as the Attorney General of Massachusetts, leading the People’s Law Firm in the fight for fairness and equality. Since assuming office, Healey has focused on expanding economic opportunity by addressing rising energy and health care costs, tackling student loan debt, and ensuring fair treatment for workers and a level playing field for businesses. Healey has also gained national prominence for her leadership in combating the state’s opioid epidemic, including expanding addiction prevention training for young people. Healey is a graduate of Harvard College and Northeastern University School of Law.
Legislative Leadership Award
Senator Eric P. Lesser, First Hampden and Hampshire; Co-chair, Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies
Eric P. Lesser was elected to the Massachusetts Senate on November 4, 2014. He represents nine communities in the First Hampden & Hampshire District. Lesser has quickly earned a reputation as one of the hardest working public servants in the Commonwealth. During his first term in office, Lesser helped pass significant new laws related to substance abuse treatment and prevention, job training, and promotion of tourism and the arts. His legislative agenda focuses on the fight for greater economic opportunity and quality of life for Western Massachusetts, with initiatives around high-speed rail, a high-tech economy, job training, and innovation in government.
Elected at the age of 29, Lesser also spearheads the Senate’s agenda on millennial issues, including technology policy, student debt, and greater youth engagement in public affairs. Lesser is Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Senate Vice-Chair of the Joint Committees on Financial Services and Transportation, and Senate Chair of the Joint Legislative Manufacturing Caucus and the Gateway Cities Caucus. Lesser previously worked in the Obama White House, first as Special Assistant to Senior Adviser David Axelrod, and later as Director of Strategic Planning for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School, a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard College, and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar.
Legislative Leadership Award
Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, 5th Suffolk; Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means
Jeffrey Sánchez has served as Massachusetts State Representative for the 15th Suffolk District of Boston and Brookline since 2003. His district includes the Boston communities of Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, and Roslindale, along with Precinct 5 of the Town of Brookline. Throughout his tenure, Sánchez has worked on legislation in health care, life sciences, housing, and economic and infrastructure development. He was recently appointed as House Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, where he is charged with leading the House of Representatives to deliver a balanced budget and consider state legislative matters. Sánchez completed his undergraduate education at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and his Masters of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He currently has an instructorship at the Center for Public Health Leadership at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Executive Leadership Award
Lon Povich, Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Baker
Lon Povich is Governor Baker’s Chief Legal Counsel, responsible for the broad range of legal matters that come before the Governor and his senior team. Prior to joining the Baker-Polito administration in January 2015, Lon was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. Lon joined BJ’s in February 2007 after serving as General Counsel at The Boston Consulting Group; as a litigation associate at Goodwin Procter; as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Economic Crimes Division of the Boston Office; and as Deputy Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Weld. From 1996 to 2004, he was a director of MassHousing (Massachusetts’ low income housing finance agency); and from 2005 until 2010 he served on the Governor’s Judicial Nominating Commission. He has also sat on the Boards of the Greater Boston Food Bank, Greater Boston Legal Services, as an elected member of the Council of the Boston Bar Association, and has been involved in a number of local organizations in Wellesley. Povich graduated from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.
The annual JCRC Legislative Reception is the premier opportunity for leadership of the Jewish community to interact and develop relationships with state public officials, including members of the administration and the legislature. We focused on lifting up our community’s current work relating to:
- The Safe Communities Act which will help protect immigrants and refugees;
- The promotion of the Massachusetts-Israel relationship; and
- Advocacy in support of our social service agenda, in partnership with Jewish social service agencies.
Thank you to our generous sponsors:
Click here to register! For questions, contact Solon Arguello at or 617-457-8639.