Boston City Councilor Pressley — Finalist for the EMILY’s List Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award

Boston, Feb. 10, 2015, — Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley was today announced as one of six national finalists for the EMILY’s List Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award. Named in honor of the dedicated and courageous Gabrielle Giffords, the Rising Star Award celebrates an extraordinary woman serving in state or local office. The award honors women who demonstrate the sort of commitment to community, dedication to women and families, and determination and civility that have been the highlights of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ career, in and out of office.
(from left)Councilor Pressley, Gilbert Ho and Zhaotao Li pose for a picture of at Chinatown Main Street’s 20th anniversary banquet(photo by Victor Chen).

“This is a humbling and extraordinary honor, particularly because of the profound respect I have for Gabrielle Giffords,” said Pressley. “Since being elected to the City Council, I have been unwavering in my commitment to address issues uniquely impacting women and girls and to advance policies that stabilize and strengthen our communities. It’s a commitment shared by many in our great city and across the Commonwealth to reduce and end all forms of violence and ensure economic opportunity touches all communities. It is wonderful to see EMILY’s List share our commitment and recognize our work.”

“Ayanna Pressley works tirelessly to promote healthy, safe communities for women and families, and she embodies the passion for community and dedication to women and families that we need from our leaders,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List. “The EMILY’s List community – now more than three million members strong – is proud of her achievements as a local leader in Boston, and is thrilled to nominate her for this award.”

The Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award winner is determined through online voting by members of the EMILY’s List community. Voting is open from Tuesday, February 10 at 4:30 PM through Friday, February 13th at midnight and available at the following link The Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star winner will be announced on March 3rd at EMILY’s List 30th Annual National Conference and Gala where Hillary Clinton will receive the We Are EMILY Award.

Ayanna Pressley’s career has been marked by history-making campaigns and a relentless determination to advance a political agenda focused on breaking cycles of poverty and violence. Pressley was first elected to the Boston City Council on November 3, 2009, becoming the first woman of color ever elected to the Council. In her subsequent 2011 and 2013 reelection campaigns, Pressley made history as the first person of color and the first woman in 30 years to top the ticket.

During her time in office, Pressley created and is chairing the City Council’s Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities. The Committee is devoted to the causes that she has always been most devoted to: stabilizing families and communities, reducing and preventing violence and trauma, combating poverty and addressing issues that disproportionately impact women and girls.

Pressley has earned local and national attention for her efforts to provide pathways to graduation for pregnant and parenting teens, ensure Boston high school students received comprehensive sexual health education and strengthen support services for families of homicide victims.

Understanding that neighborhood restaurants are community anchors, job creators, and engines of economic development, Pressley spent two years successfully advocating for reform to the State’s outdated liquor license laws. Last year, Pressleyadvanced a version of her home rule petition through the State Legislature, returning control of the Licensing Board to the City for the first time in more than 100 years and providing 75 new licenses to the City over three years.

In 2014 Pressley was named to Boston Magazine’s Power of Ideas list, was a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Ten Outstanding Young Leader honoree, and earned the Victim Rights Law Center’s Leadership Award. Pressley is an Aspen-Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership (Class of 2012) and was selected as a Truman National Security Project Partner in 2012.

Pressley’s political career spans more than 18 years, in various behind-the-scene capacities at the federal level of government. She previously worked as a Senior Aide for Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II and Senator John Kerry.

EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $400 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making it one of the most successful political organizations ever. They recruit and train candidates, support strong campaigns, research women’s issues, and turn out women voters. They’ve recruited and trained over 9,000 women to run, and helped elect over 100 women to the House, 19 to the Senate, 10 governors, and over five hundred to state and local office. Since its founding in 1985, almost one-third of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color – including every single Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic woman currently serving. During the 2011-2012 cycle, EMILY’s List raised a record-breaking $52 million dollars. With the help of a growing community — now more than three million members strong — EMILY’s List helped elect an historic number of candidates in 2012 including 19 new women to the House, six Senate incumbents, three new Senators, and 186 state and local officials. To learn more, visit