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I've known Natalie Higgins since she joined Pathways for Change Inc. (the local rape crisis center that covers North Central Massachusetts) as a volunteer hotline counselor and medical advocate in the summer of 2009. In March 2010, Natalie joined Pathways staff as a full-time teen counselor and community educator.
During the recession, Pathways suffered serious budget cuts and our four-person prevention team was reduced to just Natalie's position, but that did not intimidate her. She immediately began rebuilding the education and prevention program for teen students in 47 cities and towns across central Massachusetts, while also counseling teen survivors.
After leaving Pathways in July 2011, Natalie continued to fight to end sexual and domestic violence as a student at Northeastern University School of Law. She worked with Gov. Deval Patrick and the Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence; supported survivors seeking restraining orders in Northeastern's Domestic Violence Clinic; and worked in the Human Rights Law Network's Reproductive Justice Unit.
After graduating from law school, Natalie returned to Pathways on the board of directors and, after serving her first year, the Board unanimously elected her as Vice President. Last year, Natalie testified during a hearing on a bill to curb sexual violence on our college campuses, and helped us build a relationship with the bill's author, state Sen. Michael Moore. After multiple meetings and edits, we were happy to hear that the bill was passed by the Senate this session, and I cannot wait to have Natalie champion this in the House as a state representative next session.
A state representative makes government accessible for a community and makes sure that the community has the resources it needs. Natalie has been doing this for the last decade. Because of her experience as a community counselor and educator, as a lawyer, a policy advocate, and an executive director training future community leaders and advocates across the state, I could not imagine a more qualified, passionate and accessible state representative.
Worcester (Executive Director, Pathways for Change)
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