About jamie belsito
Jamie Belsito has been fighting for progressive policies on issues from women’s rights to increased educational opportunities to immigration reform and has been a consistent voice for the underrepresented her entire career. She has been a leader for Massachusetts’ 6th Congressional District and will continue working to ensure that our families and communities are once again prioritized.
Here is her story.
My Great-Uncle Richard Fitzgibbon was the first casualty of the Vietnam War.
A Technical Sergeant of the U.S. Air Force, he was killed in Saigon in 1956, years before an official war was declared. His name was not originally included on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington upon its dedication in 1982. It took 43 years for the US Department of Defense to acknowledge his death in that war.
In 1962 my great aunt, Alice Fitzgibbon DelRossi, addressed a Congressional committee to support bills for the aid to the elderly.
In 1963, her testimony before the U.S. Senate was instrumental in passing the G.I. Bill of Rights. In 1967, she became the first female Chairman of the Board of Selectman in Stoneham and was re-elected three consecutive years.
In 1968, Aunt Alice was the original sponsor of the Massachusetts Bonus Bill for Vietnam Veterans. That year, she ran for State Representative and topped the ticket in the primary with more than 19,000 votes.
I was a first-generation college graduate.
I pulled a perforated application form for Salem State out of a magazine in my student counseling center at Reading High. I typed it up in the basement of the law firm where I worked every day after school. For four years, I commuted to Salem and worked full time to pay the bills.
I entered corporate America and became an immigration specialist.
Working with Senator Kennedy’s office, I worked on two bills, which helped businesses recruit on the H1-B visa while providing funding for workforce training in the U.S.
Aunt Alice succeeded in getting her brother’s name added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The U.S Department of Defense acknowledged him as the first casualty of the Vietnam War and etched his name into the wall, Memorial Day, 1999. My family worked for years to make sure the significance of his death was not forgotten.
Laid off at 8 months pregnant, my family faced a crisis.
The loss of a job, no health insurance, the never-ending maze to find health services, I laid awake at night figuring out how to keep a roof over our heads. I know the challenges that can make or break you. I know many in our district face similar challenges.
I experienced severe postpartum depression after the birth of both daughters.
In 2013, police shot a woman while driving erratically near the White House. She had a toddler in the backseat. That news shook me. I knew she had postpartum depression. That day, I called my state senator, Joan Lovely. She came to my house and we talked about the need for this state’s healthcare system to address mothers.
On Beacon Hill…
…where postpartum screening bills had gone nowhere for six years, our Ellen Story Postpartum Commission succeeded. The Baker Administration announced that MassHealth would cover screening.
Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening Act (BABES Act)
Our first year, my work brought relief from TSA, which had been forcing moms to dump their breast milk prior to traveling. The bill requires TSA to better support air passengers traveling with breastmilk, formula and infant feeding equipment.