Latino Underrepresentation in Methuen’s Municipal Govt.

By: Tomas Michel – August, 2019

Municipal governments should embody the view of its constituency and promote inclusion of the different segments of its residents. Ensure that policies and procedures update as it does their population’s demographics, and viewpoints. Educate voters effectively about matters at stake. And lastly, to ensure the determent of consent and success, of the narrow interests to govern official structures. All of which can be attained by pursuing a proportionate representation between the residents of a community and their elected officials.

Jordan Normandia is running for Methuen’s City Council on Central District, to bring back operational balance to the public agencies, should he be elected. A 26-year-old Marine Veteran with a public administration background, currently working for the State of Massachusetts. He is concerned about the transparency of municipal operations and would like to promote a sense of community that provides a platform for younger generations.

As of today, Latinos possess no representation in Methuen’s city council body, despite being a 27.2% of the 47,255 residents, agreeing with the U.S. Census Bureau. Latinos are almost a third of this Essex County city’s population, yet not reflect with any of the nine legislators holding office. Our country may be based on a system where the citizens exercise power by voting —one we call democracy—, but Methuen is an utter example, that local governments may have flaws at reflecting a fair ratio between their population and their elected officials.

The Latino leadership hole extends to more of the states’ 351 municipalities, in which Lawrence and Chelsea, are the only two cities with proportionate political representation, relatively to their share of Latino residents, according to a research of the Mauricio Gastón Institute in UMass Boston by Bianca Ortiz-Wythe.

Seeking a healthy representative-constituent relationship, in which the constituent feels identified with the representative, is crucial for the upward development of a community; to generate a sense of trust in leaders. Normandia already counts with the support of East District’s Councilor, Eunice D. Zeigler, whom expressed “I want him to be successful” and has endorsed the young man’s platform.

Amplify Latinx is a non-partisan, collaborative movement, whose mission is to build economic and political power by significantly increasing Latinx civic engagement and representation in leadership across sectors, founded by Attorney Betty Francisco and Attorney Eneida Román. Based in Boston, this organization encourages Latinos to register for voting, applying for a public board or commission, volunteering or serving on a non-profit’s board, support a candidate or a campaign for public office, and even running a candidacy oneself.

One step at a time, they are being successful on accomplishing their mission, of redistribution of power by amplifying the voices of minorities.

Normandia wants to revitalize the community of Methuen and create a positive impact on the local economy, which he refers to as “sleepy”.

He would work with his team to develop and seek opportunities for small business owners, provide support to local entrepreneurs with their ventures, and develop strategies to help both sectors to become more innovative, marketable and competitive. In the best interest of his people he wants to work and bring back Methuen’s pride, a city in which he has lived his whole life.