A family tragedy pushed Liz Miranda into politics. After she lost her brother, Michael, 28, to gun violence in 2017, she decided to run for office and in 2018 was elected to represent a Dorchester district in the House. Since then, she has used the power of that office to advance racial equity and criminal justice reform.
Based on her passion for that mission, and the outcome so far, the Globe editorial board endorses Miranda in her bid for the vacant 2nd Suffolk state Senate seat.
Since 2009, the seat has been held by state Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, who is not seeking reelection after launching a Democratic primary campaign for governor that she ultimately decided not to pursue. The Senate district, which was recently redrawn as part of a redistricting effort, includes Dorchester, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Mission Hill, Roslindale, Roxbury, and the South End.
Miranda, 42, the daughter of Cape Verdean immigrants, was born in Roxbury. She is a Boston Public Schools graduate and graduate of Wellesley College. Youth programs and community work “saved my life,” she told the editorial board, and her brother’s death “shook me to my core.” But, it also inspired her to run for office. “I had been saving other people’s children … and I wasn’t able to save my little brother,” she said. “I decided I had to do more and better.”
After winning election to the House, she took her fight to Beacon Hill, where she used her life experience to define her platform as a legislator and very quickly established herself as a thoughtful, results-oriented legislator. In 2021, Boston Magazine named her “Best Politician” for her efforts on police accountability and gun violence prevention.
Miranda was a lead author on use-of-force provisions in the police reform bill that passed in 2021. She co-sponsored legislation that created a Racial Inequities in Maternal Health Commission, which seeks to evaluate how race plays a role in maternal treatment and passed unanimously in both chambers. Miranda has fought to end solitary confinement and, through her advocacy, said she was able to get the Department of Correction to publicly commit to ending all types of segregation and solitary confinement within three years. She also co-filed a bill to end life without parole after learning that Massachusetts is tied with Louisiana for the highest percentage of incarcerated people serving a prison sentence without that possibility. Through her advocacy, she said that Beacon Hill also committed $50 million of federal relief money to gun violence prevention and community reentry. On her campaign website, Miranda said that as a state senator, she will work to strengthen reentry services and break the cycle of incarceration by providing career preparation, job training, and support systems to those recently released from prison.
There are three other candidates in this race. They include the Rev. Miniard Culpepper, a former regional administrator at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and longtime civil rights activist, who would bring a strong focus on the critical issue of housing to Beacon Hill. State Rep. Nika Elugardo, a former policy adviser to Chang-Díaz, who won election to the House in 2018 by unseating an incumbent, is also running for this seat. So is Dianne Wilkerson, who represented the district for 15 years, but in 2008 lost the Democratic primary to Chang-Díaz amid allegations of unethical conduct; Wilkerson later pleaded guilty to bribery charges.
Miranda represents the future and will fight to put the issues that matter to her constituents at the top of the Senate’s agenda.
Editorials represent the views of the Boston Globe Editorial Board. Follow us @GlobeOpinion.