Kim Driscoll for Lieutenant Governor
By: Frank Morris Lopez
Awards & Recognitions
2019 Truman Scholar
Huntington 100, Northeastern University
Juan Gallego sees power in political organizing — and others are taking note of his passion.
“I think for most of my adult life, including college, I’ve really prioritized organizing and amplifying the voices of communities like the one I grew up in,” Gallego said.
Born in Colombia, Gallego has lived in Chelsea for most of his life. In the past six years, he’s worked in politics at the local, state, federal and even international level. He was a campaign manager for Chelsea City Councilor Damali Vidot; a legislative intern for Massachusetts state Senator Sal DiDomenico; a statewide Latinx organizing manager for U.S. Senator Ed Markey during the 2020 campaign; and a visiting researcher at the United Nations Office at Geneva.
In 2016, Gallego was successful in getting the city of Chelsea to create a Human Rights Commission, after he witnessed racist attitudes toward Latinos during that year’s presidential election. He was appointed one of the commission’s inaugural members.
“Based on my own lived experiences, I’ve seen politics, policy, organizing and advocacy as a way to empower and amplify the issues of Latinos here in Massachusetts,” he said.
Gallego attended Northeastern University, where he studied political science and was named to the Huntington 100, a yearly award highlighting 100 of the school’s most influential students devoted to academia, public service or entrepreneurship. He also was a student assistant to former Democratic presidential nominee and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.
“It was a very surreal experience. I worked with him for about a year and a half, and having that relationship with him really influenced my career in politics,” Gallego said.
Gallego has also done nonprofit work with Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, where he explored public-private partnerships to help address home ownership gaps and financial literacy in communities of color.
In 2019, he was recognized as a Harry S. Truman Scholar for his work in organizing and advocacy for Latinos across Massachusetts.
While he may have accomplished a lot in a short amount of time, Gallego says he wouldn’t be where he is today without the support from so many.
“There’s a line that says, ‘I am because of others,’” he said. “That’s something I’m trying to remember.”
As far as what he’s most proud of, Gallego says, “I can look at my mom, look at my family, and have them be confident that their son is working, not only to better their lives, but to better the lives of their neighbors, friends and family across Massachusetts.”