Juana Matias is fast on her way to becoming the first Latina state representative for her district in Lawrence, Massachusetts — and, at 29, one of the youngest on record.
Matias became the presumptive representative after beating Juan Pascual and the incumbent Rep. Marcos Devers in the Democratic primary. She enters the general election without a Republican challenger.
Matias, whose Dominican Republic family set roots in the U.S. in the 1980s, will represent Lawrence’s 16th Essex District, which according to the 2012 census is 73 percent Latino.
The social worker turned lawyer says she wants to be “a voice for the people who have no voice in the State House.”
“The fact that I’m an immigrant means a lot here,” she told Fox News Latino. “I saw the struggles firsthand. I understand what it means to reach the American dream, and I’m hoping my victory will encourage other Latinas to get in to the process,” Matias said.
Matias said a big part of his agenda is also to invigorate and energize the millennials living in her district. The median age in the 16th district is 31.
“When you’re dealing with millennials [you can see] they’re disconnected,” she told FNL. “But Trump and Hillary have created a strong motivation. Some are Sanders supporters that aren’t happy about either candidate, but we've really been reaching out to them, and I think we're going to see positive results,” she said.
Marias spent the past few months attending a lot of events with local organizations, learning about what they need and meeting with other representatives.
“I know what it is to have a job that pays minimum wage. I know what it is to have parents who don’t understand English, who are trying to navigate the system,” she recently told the Huffington Post.
“I’ve seen many families go through those similar challenges, and a lot of those experiences were really what inspired me to be involved in public service.”
As for being the first Latina heading to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, she hopes to lead by example.
“You have a lot of young professionals who’re first generation, bicultural and bilingual and I hope to inspire and teach our youth about civic engagement,” she said.
“I hope that people know that politics aren’t all bad and some politicians actually care about them."
Rebekah Sager is a writer and editor for FoxNews.com. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebekah_sager.