SPRINGFIELD — When polls closed at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Adam Gomez became the first Puerto Rican to be elected to the Massachusetts Senate.
“I’m glad to be a part of this great change. I cannot say enough how appreciative I am of having been a part of this grassroots campaign,” he said thanking his campaign staff, volunteers, his partner and his three children. “I am so deeply honored to be able to represent the Hampden District in its entirety.”
Gomez defeated five-term incumbent Sen. James T. Welchduring the September Democratic primary. On Tuesday, he secured 28,965 votes in an uncontested race. The term begins in January.
Gomez celebrated his win at a campaign office on Main Street in the Ward 1 neighborhood he grew up in and currently represents as a city councilor. He is the second Latino in Massachusetts to serve in the state senate, preceded by Jarret Barrios who served from 2002-2007 representing parts of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Everett, Revere, Chelsea and Saugus.
Springfield School Committee member Maria Perez met with Gomez and state Rep.-elect Orlando Ramos to congratulate them on their wins. Perez, a longtime community activist, was involved in the campaign of the first Latino ever to run for City Council, Miguel “Mike” Rivas, who died on Oct. 20 after a long illness.
“At that time there was no ward representation so he was a Puerto Rican man running for a seat representing the whole city in the 1980s. It was a tough battle, and he didn’t win, but he paved the way,” she said.
Perez said Gomez and Ramos’ wins give her hope.
“Now to see these young Latino men representing us in Boston, it feels like the result of all of the struggles we have gone through economically, educationally, socially. Their wins feel like a light at the end of the tunnel.”
State Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, D-Springfield, congratulated the two newest members of the Western Massachusetts delegation. Gonzalez ran an uncontested race and received 9,362 votes to secure his 10th Hampden District seat.
“I don’t want people to think of us as Puerto Ricans who are senators and state representatives, but as senators and state representatives that happen to be Puerto Rican,” Gonzalez said. “We will champion for you and fight for you whether you are in Indian Orchard, whether you are in Hill/ McKnight, whether you are in Boston or Springfield or Cape Cod because we are one Massachusetts, one Springfield, one community and we are ready to make sure that our voices are part of the conversation.”