Juana is running for Congress because she knows people who are struggling to achieve the American Dream, and believes a rigged system run by political insiders has and will continue to ignore the needs of our working and middle-class families until they are represented by someone who knows firsthand the challenges they face.
Juana immigrated to the United States at the age of five in pursuit of the American Dream. Her family settled in Haverhill and her parents worked blue-collar jobs to make ends meet, eventually saving enough to open a small business. Her father spent more than 17 years at Polartec in Lawrence as a machine operator, and her mother worked for Central Metal Finishing as a precision finisher.
Their hard work and perseverance served as an inspiration to Juana and helped instill in her the values of integrity, empathy, courage, and responsibility. Juana believes in the significance of service to others, including one’s own community, to bring about social change and fix our government.
Juana obtained her first job at the age of 11 as a papergirl for the Lawrence Eagle Tribune. She ran paper routes both to save and to learn the importance of hard work and accountability. She used the savings to help pay for her first family vacation to the Dominican Republic.
Juana believes that opportunity for all is fundamental to the American Dream. She’s committed to ensuring that every child has access to a great education, regardless of their zip code, because she wouldn’t be here without Haverhill’s public schools. She sees the fight for immigrant rights, particularly of Dreamers, as personal. Juana is a strong advocate for universal health care for all Americans, and she is committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and to preserving Social Security and Medicare. She will fight against the Trump administration’s attempts to roll back gun safety laws, environmental protections, and the safety net of our most vulnerable citizens.
Juana attended public schools and through scholarships, loans, and part-time jobs, she paid her way through college and law school. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Boston with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice, and received a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School in 2014.
Prior to her service with AmeriCorps, Juana served the Lawrence, Lowell, and Haverhill communities as a social worker, where she assisted families and children who had suffered abuse and neglect. She provided foster children and foster parents with a wide range of support and social services. This experience further instilled in her that through service to others, she could have a positive impact in the lives of ordinary people, especially those in need.
Representative Matias burst onto the political scene in 2016 when she challenged the political machine and won a major upset victory against a long-time politician. She became one of the first Latina immigrant elected to the Massachusetts State House, and immediately became one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party.
As a State Representative, Juana has sponsored key legislation to make college affordable, increase the minimum wage, and expand opportunities for middle class Americans. When a horrific crime that included the kidnapping of a teenager and a lack of response shocked residents across Massachusetts, Juana stepped up to bring together local community groups, activists, and the local police department to find solutions and protect future victims. Importantly, she reached out to law enforcement leaders across the district to ensure that the response to the issue was comprehensive and took into account the day-to-day work of police officers throughout Massachusetts. Juana serves in several key committees and plays important roles in the Labor and Workforce Development and Public Safety and Homeland Security Committees.
Juana lives in Lawrence, and believes that it’s time we send someone to Congress who will put people over politics. She will fight to ensure every person has an opportunity to achieve the American Dream, including access to a first-class education, good paying jobs, and retirement security.