My name is Jennifer Nassour, known by my friends, family and neighbors as Jenn. I’m raising my family in the incredible city of Boston, and I’m running to represent my neighborhoods and all of District 8 on the Boston City Council.
Anyone who knows my personality is not surprised to learn that I am the granddaughter of both Sicilian and Syrian immigrants. My grandmother came to the United States when she was only 10, and was left alone on Ellis Island for 30 days because she had bronchitis. She overcame that experience and taught herself to read and write English, eventually becoming a union Democrat in New York as a seamstress alongside my grandfather who worked as a bus driver.
Growing up, my family rented our home in Queens. Our lives changed drastically when, at age 39, my dad suffered a massive heart attack and died. My stay-at-home mom had to find her way back to work, and at age 10, my mom, brother and I moved in with my grandparents. My memories growing up were of my mom working 12 hour days and of the bus rides my brother and I would take to meet her for dinner as a family.
I began working as a cleaning woman for an elderly woman when I was 15. I worked as a cashier at a food store and then as a hostess, bus girl and waitress in the same restaurant for 10 years (through high school, college, grad school and even some of law school). When I was a sophomore in college my mom lost her job, and I moved my class schedule to two days a week to waitress more and took on a summer job at the office of our Village Recreation Department.
It was my mom who told me not to stop going to school and getting my education until there were no degrees left to get. I embraced education as a path to the American Dream. From public high school, I went on to earn my bachelor’s degree from SUNY Stony Brook, master’s degree from CW Post and my J.D. from St. John’s Law School.
Moving to Massachusetts after law school, I lived in the North End, then got married and settled in to start my family in Charlestown before moving to the Back Bay in 2011, pregnant with my third daughter. My three girls are now 15, 12 and 7 years old, and we have two insane labradoodles to keep us company.
I’ve practiced law and worked in political spaces for my entire career, most recently as CEO of ReflectUS – a nonpartisan coalition of the nation’s leading women’s representation organizations working to increase the number of women in public office. I have also appeared on WGBH, WBUR, NECN, NBC, CommonWealth magazine, and other media outlets as a political commentator. I describe myself as a social progressive and fiscal conservative. I’m pro-choice, pro-women, I am committed to equality and fight passionately for the causes I believe in.
Living and raising my family here in Boston has been an incredible experience. I make every effort to be involved in my children’s schools and this city’s incredible institutions. I sit on the boards of MassINC, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, the UMass Women Into Leadership program and the Union Club of Boston. I have previously served on the boards of Suffolk University, the Dorchester YMCA, Bridgewater State University and the Massachusetts Public Health Council. I have chaired incredible events such as Hill-o-ween and Mass General Hospital’s StoryBook Ball, MassINC’s Serious Fun II 20th anniversary, Newton Country Day School’s 200th Gala and the Park Street School Annual Fund. I help out with my daughters’ Girl Scouts troops and have also coached soccer through Hill House.
I work out at least 5 days a week, and my guilty pleasure is boxing. I also love running, cycling, weight training and Pilates. I walk almost everywhere, and am so grateful to live in a place where that’s possible. If you see me on the street, stop me. Let’s talk about what representation can look like for District 8.