To my friends, neighbors, and constituents in the Lawrence community,
It is with my head held high that I write to you today. As you may already know, I will not be serving another term as your State Representative from the 16th Essex District. For the past few months, I have been reflecting on the time I spent as an elected official for my beloved Lawrence. I was first elected as a city councilor in 1999 and began my term in 2000. In the more than two decades of public service since, I have never been afraid of adversity – after all, that election in 1999 was my 5th time running for city council!
I find it remarkable how much this city, state and nation have changed in these 23 years. When I was elected as interim Mayor of Lawrence in 2001, I was the first Latino mayor in the history of the State of Massachusetts, and the first mayor of Dominican descent anywhere in the United States. Though my interim term was brief, I am honored that I had the opportunity to serve as an inspiration for the people of my beloved homeland. The connections to the Dominican Republic in Lawrence run deep, and I treasure the culture that has been created here by so many dedicated community members.
I must take a moment to thank my many friends, family members and colleagues who have helped me in this journey. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the constant and unwavering support of my wonderful wife Vicky and my four beautiful children Sally, Eva, Marcos Jr., and Lunara. You motivate me every day to make this community a better place for future generations, and you know I couldn’t have done any of this without you.
To the many councilors and mayors I served alongside, thank you for your dedicated service. Though disagreement is a necessary part of democracy, you made sure that any and all differences of opinion remained professional and respectful. There has never been a doubt in my mind that your service was principled on your love for the community, just as mine has been. To my current and former colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, especially my friends in the Lawrence delegation, I express my most sincere admiration.
Through some of the most difficult circumstances this state has ever seen, you showed true caring. Together during covid, we passed social welfare programs, approved federal assistance, and kept our offices functioning at full capacity during one of the most hectic periods imaginable. We expanded protections for marginalized and vulnerable populations and focused on civil rights and social justice during times when much of the country seemed to be moving in the opposite direction. I have never been prouder to call myself a State Representative.
Still, in all these thanks and congratulations I would be remiss if I didn’t pay special attention to the community organizations which I have had the pleasure of working with through the years. I believe real, permanent change in a community can only happen when grassroots effort is at the forefront of a movement. If that is the case, we certainly have a lot to be thankful for in Lawrence. My current district alone encompasses dozens of organizations who provide every service imaginable, from job training, addiction recovery, childcare and education to entrepreneurship funding, food assistance, environmental protection, anti-violence programs and much more.
If I thanked every organization big and small who has made their mark in Lawrence this letter would never end, so I’ll have to limit myself to just a few. Groundwork Lawrence, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Youth Development Organization, Food for the World, UTEC, and so many more like them are the foundation of our community, and we would be in a very difficult place without them. I am honored that I was able to secure state funds for them year after year. It is one of my proudest accomplishments.
And so, after all this, I am not saying goodbye. I still have more to give back to the community which has given me so much. Whatever capacity I may find myself in, I plan on remaining an active voice in the community. As long as I am able, I believe it is my responsibility to serve this city any way I can.
I would like to give one last thanks to you, the residents of Lawrence. Thank you for entrusting me for these past years with the solemn responsibility of being your voice in government. I fulfilled this duty to the best of my ability, and I am truly blessed that I have had the opportunity to serve you all.
With deepest appreciation,
Marcos Devers ◊