City Councilor, Haverhill, MA
Recipient of Scarlet Key Award from Boston University
By: Tim Estiloz
Andy Vargas is making his mark to improve Haverhill from the inside out as the first Latino ever elected city councilor in that city. Elected at the age of 22, Vargas brings a shot of youth to a council with an average age of 63.
This impressively talented and community oriented young individual is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those that are underserved and underprivileged in his city.
“From a young age, I got involved in activism,” said Vargas. “When I was 17, I was part of an organization that drafted and filed legislation at the State House to reintroduce civic education as a graduation requirement at our high schools across Massachusetts. That bill received 48 co-sponsors but narrowly failed. However, that entire process just captivated me. That experience at a young age definitely cemented the idea that I wanted become politically involved.”
Vargas went on to study political science at Boston University where he was the recipient of the prestigious Scarlet Key Award given to students who take on multiple extracurricular activities all at once, while maintaining high academic grades. He also made his mark in Washington as an intern at the White House for President Obama, helping to develop traditional and non-traditional strategies to reach out to Latino audiences.
“My principal issue is education,” said Vargas, “because I think if we can fix education, we can fix a variety of other issues. If we are talking about climate change, immigration or Citizens United, we need an educated populace to be able to understand those issues and organize around them.”
Vargas realizes he has a heavy responsibility but he’s up for the challenge. Indeed, beyond his traditional role as city councilor, Vargas wants younger people to be civically responsible and learn how to get involved and be part of changing the community.
“What motivates me in my work is the desire to change the perception of what people think about when they think of a politician,” said Vargas, “and I’m proud of the fact that other Latinos are thinking about public service and running for office themselves. As for me, I would eventually like to move up into a position where I could implement more change and have more influence on policy… and how we can make lives better.”
“It’s a real honor to be part of the El Mundo Boston Latino 30 Under 30,” said Vargas, “and I look forward to staying in touch with them, because I know they are going to do great things.”