MARVIN L. VENAY
34, MARRIED, ROXBURY
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MASSACHUSETTS BLACK & LATINO LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS
The caucus Venay heads is an active one, advocating and strategizing on issues of importance to the state's minority residents — like CORI reform, which became law last session.
That's just part of Venay's community impact. He's an associate minister at Morning Star Baptist Church, an adjunct professor at Suffolk University, chairman of the Vine Street Community Center — and, for the past month or so, Faith Outreach Coordinator for the Obama campaign in Ohio.
He's also one of the best-dressed men in the State House, according to our panel: "Marvin knows how to combine forward-thinking politics with classic, dapper style."
Job title: Executive director, Massachusetts Black & Latino Legislative Caucus
Held since: March 2007
Marital/relationship status; children; pets: Married; 14-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son.
Originally from: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
What you do: I am responsible for convening members of the Black and Latino community to analyze and strategize on legislation impacting our communities.
Some days I can spend countless hours speaking with advocates about legislation they believe the caucus should support, or seeking their assistance in advancing caucus priorities. Other days I am representing the caucus at community meetings.
One experience that made you glad to do this work: The passing of CORI reform reinforced for me the power of a unified community voice and a legislative body doing the right thing. It took several years for this bill to come to fruition, and many believed it would not pass, but we all worked to ensure its passage.
Other jobs: Faith outreach coordinator, Obama for America-Ohio; adjunct professor, Suffolk University; political commentator, Callie Crossley Radio Show; associate minister, Morning Star Baptist Church; and former development associate, Freedom House.
Other activities: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc, Epsilon Gamma Lambda Chapter, President; Roxbury Preparatory Charter Schools Trustee; YPN Network of Urban League of Eastern Mass member; and, most recent, Vine Street Community Center Board Chair.
Path to Beacon Hill: I have always been passionate about my community, and working to ensure equality. As a child growing up in Pittsburgh, I saw how a disengaged community suffers from being under-represented and ignored.
When I moved to Boston, I found myself surrounded by others who shared my desire to see a change. I believed then, as I do today, that I could best serve my community by having the ear of those whose decisions directly impact our lives.
Personal style: I would say my personal style is upfront and honest. I'm passionate about seeing communities of color move forward, and at times that passion comes out strongly. However, if you know me you understand it comes from a place of concern, optimism, and compassion. I want no one left behind — God created us all with purpose.
Favorite thing about working in the State House: One of my favorite things is meeting the new legislators. Every two years we see new members come into the State House eager to make a difference, and determined to stand on the values for which they were elected. It's refreshing to see their energy and optimism. I enjoy seeing their success — it proves democracy can still exist.
One thing you would change to make State House work more "beautiful": The State House could be greatly enhanced by adding more diversity. In order to ensure all communities are represented we should do more to encourage and support people of color and women to seek state office.