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The Two E’s: Navigating the Fork in the Road

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Hosted by Berry IOP Fellow Tomás Gonzalez

Join the Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics from 1:30-3 pm on Thursday, March 21 for this interactive workshop on understanding the differences between being an Elected Official and being an Employee, or staffer, for an Elected Official. During this event, distinguished guests will explore the unique challenges, responsibilities, and opportunities that come with each path. These valuable insights will help you navigate the fork in the road as you prepare for an impactful career. This event will be in-person in Starbucks and Viking 123 in Charlotte Forten Hall (formerly Viking Hall) on Harrington Central Campus.

Speakers include:

  • Andy Vargas, Massachusetts State Representative
  • Julia Mejia, Boston At-Large City Councilor
  • Calvin Feliciano, Political Operative


RSVP to this event.


Andy X. Vargas, Massachusetts State Representative 

State Representative Andy X. Vargas represents the 3rd Essex District (Haverhill) in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He serves as the Vice-Chair of the Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee. He also serves as a member of the following committees: Ways & Means, Education, and Public Health. He is the Vice-Chair of the MA Black & Latino Caucus. Rep. Vargas was previously elected to the Haverhill City Council, where he served as the city's first Latino elected official. He grew up in Haverhill and his family origins are from the Dominican Republic. He is a proud graduate of Haverhill High and Boston University. Rep. Vargas is also an alumnus of the Obama White House and previously worked for Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), helping entrepreneurs start their businesses. Some of his legislation successfully signed into law include: mandating civics education, boosting housing production, universal school meals, and creating a new gun violence prevention program within the Department of Public Health. He currently resides in Haverhill with his wife Rikelma – an educator and unfortunately a Yankees fan. They are parents to a happy boy named Rubén and an energetic Goldendoodle named Merengue.


Julia Mejia, Boston At-Large City Councilor

Councilor Julia Mejia, the first Afro-Latina to hold a seat on the Boston City Council, chairs the Government Accountability, Transparency, and Accessibility Committee. Her journey from the Dominican Republic to Dorchester at age 5, raised by a single, undocumented mother, instilled in her a commitment to advocacy. As a graduate of Boston Public Schools and college, she became a community organizer, empowering individuals across diverse spectrums to engage in political processes. Winning her first term by a single vote, she has since led the passage of 15 pieces of legislation and secured millions for Boston's communities. Notably, she established the Government Accountability Committee to address issues in education, housing, and transportation. Now in her third term, Mejia remains dedicated to informing, influencing and inspiring political participation for #allmeansall inclusive representation. Connect with Team Mejia on social media @Juliaforboston (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for ongoing updates.


Calvin Feliciano, Political Operative

Calvin Feliciano is a husband, father, organizer, and political operative. At age 39, he has 21 years of electoral experience, working on over 100 campaigns in a senior advisor capacity. Calvin has experience throughout the state including Boston where he is from and expanding to Lawrence, Brockton, Worcester, and Springfield among many other Cities and Towns. Calvin recruits, and mentors many BIPOC candidates running for office as well as campaign operatives who want to run campaigns.


Tomás Gonzalez, Berry IOP Fellow and Political Strategist

Tomás Gonzalez is a dedicated advocate for social justice and empowerment in Boston, with an impressive track record in political, electoral, and social campaigns spanning over 30 years. Born and raised in Boston, he is deeply rooted in the community and committed to driving positive change. He has held multiple influential roles within Boston's local government such as Deputy Director for the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services (MONS) and Assistant Commissioner for the City of Boston's Inspectional Services department. Gonzalez served as the political director for the Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN) and the founding member and executive board member of Raise Up Massachusetts (RUM). Currently, Gonzalez works as the Director of Community & Advocacy at Amplify Latinx and is the co-owner of SEED Cannabis Dispensary located in Jamaica Plain.

When 3:00pm
Viking Hall, Central Campus
71C Loring Avenue, Salem, MA 01970
Viking 123
Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics

For access and accommodation information, visit our page on access or email

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