Sanchez Opponent Says District at Odds with DeLeo’s House

By Andy Metzger

BOSTON, DEC. 15, 2017….An attorney who has worked in non-profits and a state senator’s office wants to give Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez, a Jamaica Plain Democrat and chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, his first competitive primary since 2010.

Nika Elugardo, a former aide to Jamaica Plain Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, said she was dissatisfied by Sánchez’s alliance with House leadership and she thinks others in the district are too.

“In a primary you’re going to get very high-information voters that care a lot about whether progressive issues are being passed, and that aren’t impressed by a House leadership that requires loyalty, that aren’t impressed by what happened to Russell Holmes when he got demoted for standing up to Speaker DeLeo,” Elugardo said, referring to Holmes losing a vice chairmanship after he spoke openly about seeking a successor to Speaker Robert DeLeo. “I think that doesn’t just infuriate me. I think it infuriates a lot of the voters here.”

Elugardo said House leadership is too moderate, criticizing the legislative branch for how it handled criminal justice legislation, which would repeal some mandatory minimum sentences for street-level drug dealing while leaving other mandatory punishments in place for cocaine and heroin trafficking.

“Mandatory minimums don’t work, especially for non-violent crimes. There’s not any good reason to have them,” Elugardo said in an interview. Believing there are no areas where she is more centrist or conservative than Sánchez, Elugardo said she used to be an independent because “Democrats weren’t left enough.”

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