President, Lawrence City Council
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Young Leader of Today
Joven Dominicano Destacado en el Exterior
Dominican List Inductee by the DANR
By: April M. Crehan
Even before he could vote, Kendrys Vasquez was fully entrenched in the world of politics. At only 17 years old, he worked as a field organizer for Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.
“I worked with her campaign since the primary. I was given a lot of responsibility,” he said.
Vasquez was ready for the challenge. He’d been involved in community organizing since age 13, when he moved from the Dominican Republic and barely spoke any English, and started painting over neighborhood graffiti with friends and organizing food drives for the elderly.
Ten years later, at age 23, Vasquez became the youngest Dominican-American to be elected to the Lawrence city council. At first, his candidacy was met with resistance because of his age.
“People didn’t think that someone who had recently graduated college would be able to lead or manage the city,” he said. “I made it be about the issues that we face rather than the age of candidates.”
He set himself apart from other candidates with his experience growing up in Lawrence.
“It’s home. It’s the place that saw me grow up. It’s the place where I will continue to live,” he said. “Lawrence in reality is a city of possibilities; it is a city that welcomes you with open arms.”
Currently, Vasquez is focused on his reelection campaign with the support of his family—"my biggest cheerleaders”--which includes fiancé Denis Peguero, his mother in Lawrence, his father back in the Dominican Republic, and four sisters.
After the election, regardless of the outcome, he hopes to continue working for his hometown.
“I do see myself as someone who will continue to serve the city of Lawrence and the state of Massachusetts for many years. In what capacity I do not know. It all depends where the residents would like to see me.”
He also wants to encourage more young adults to run for office.
“It is our role and our responsibility to take charge and work hard and tirelessly for the next generation. It is important that we step up to the plate and challenge the system,” he said.