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Shirley Owens-Hicks
of Massachusetts

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Sustained by the blessings of the Creator as well as the demonstrated support of her constituents in the Sixth Suffolk District, Shirley Owens-Hicks is beginning her ninth term as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Representative Owens-Hicks chairs the Committee on Local Affairs and Regional Government, which considers all matters requiring special laws for any city or town and all matters concerning counties. Formerly, the Representative chaired the House Committee on Federal Financial Assistance, which was responsible for overseeing over $1 billion in yearly federal funding for state programs. Representative Owens-Hicks has held a number of other leadership positions during her legislative career. She made history by serving as Chairwoman of the Committee on Education, Arts and Humanities, the first African-American and the first woman to hold this position. She was a member of the Legislature’s Redistricting Committee, charged with redrawing district lines. She has served also as Chairwoman of the Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus, the Special Commission on Long-Term Care Services for the Elderly, and the Task Force on Women in Poverty.

A former elected member of the Boston School Committee, Representative Owens-Hicks continues to draw upon the political insight, issues expertise, and concern for her constituents developed during that 1984--1988 tenure. She is consistent in her strong advocacy on behalf of African-Americans and other people of color, children, senior citizens, working families and the unempowered. The Representative’s legislative accomplishments include passage into law of the following: An Act Relative to False Impersonation, An Act Providing for the Observance of Lucy Stone Day, and An Act Relative to Violence Prevention Education Programs in Public Schools. During House deliberations on the Fiscal Year 2003 budget, she restored full funding totaling $15.1 million to the METCO Program, which is the largest and oldest, not-for-profit desegregation/integration program in America. Additionally, the Representative was able to restore funding totaling $6.1 million to the HEAD START Program, which serves over 13,000 pre-school age children throughout the state.

The Representative continues to work aggressively for the state funding of education, child care, housing, elderly needs, health care, mental health and youth programs, employment and economic development. In May 1994, she successfully got a law passed to redevelop the Boston State Hospital site, where future development will address many of the same issues that the Representative has championed throughout her public service career. She is a strong advocate for community-based organizations and has given special attention to the continued viability of community agencies and health centers.

Representative Owens-Hicks is a former President/CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and Counselor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. She attended Boston University and Harvard University Graduate School of Education, where she earned a Masters Degree in Education. She is the mother of two daughters and grandmother of four.

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