By Keith Spencer
The first woman to be elected from her district, Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein succeeded her father, the late William G. Reinstein following a six-month battle with cancer. Now serving her seventh term, Reinstein holds the fourth highest-ranking position representing portions of Revere, Chelsea, and Saugus.
While the political landscape was familiar, it was simply unattractive to Reinstein who was a twenty-seven year old recent graduate of Emerson College’s Graduate School of Communication at the time she was sworn into office.
“I guess you could say I sort of grew up in this,” Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein explained during a recent interview. “I always loved it, but I always loved the background stuff the most. The civic engagement and socialization with the people of Revere and my father’s district.”
Just a week after her father’s funeral, she found herself at the forefront of a campaign she had assumed would be her father’s, and was a newcomer to the field.
“Despite the deep loss I felt when my father passed and recalled quite often along the campaign trail, it truly was a great experience. My father had a lot of good will towards people, and there was this outpouring of support from people.”
“They wanted to pay it forward somehow, and it was such a special time. I was so lucky to have the friends that I had because they were all in it together.
Reinstein had planned on moving to Washington, DC to pursue a career working on and around Capitol Hill.
“I ended up on Beacon Hill instead, right here in Boston, in a position that I never planned or thought I would hold, but am so proud to have now represented these constituents and their needs.”
RoseLee Vincent is her chief of staff who also worked for her father during his years in office. According to Reinstein, Vincent’s strong ties to the Hill and its power players as well as her relationships with constituents of the district provided tremendous ease during the transition into her new position.
“We are always getting calls from outside of the district, asking for direction and guidance, but our priority obviously remains with the residents of Revere as well as Saugus and Chelsea who I also represent. RoseLee and Joan really allow our office to provide top-notch constituent services for our district’s residents like no other.”
Reinstein currently serves on the House Ethics Committee, and is the Second Assistant Majority Leader and Assistant Majority Whip.
During her tenure in the House, she has served on many legislative committees including the Joint Committee on Public Safety where she helped research and revamp existing fire safety statutes and regulations.
The passage of House Bill # 4550 was considered landmark legislation across the Commonwealth, and is the single most comprehensive piece of fire safety legislation signed into law in more than 60 years.
Reinstein also considers her work on women’s contraception, gay marriage, and the Metropolitan Beaches Commission as major accomplishments during her tenure. As co-chair of the beaches commission, the group looked at the conditions of beaches throughout the region, identified the best management practices, and made recommendations to Governor Deval Patrick who had just been elected into office at the time of the report.
“The Revere Beach Partnership has active programming on the beach 10 months out of the year, and it goes beyond the wonderful sand castle contest that draws in hundreds of thousands of visitors.”
In honor of this work, she was the recipient of the Senator William M. Bulger Award for Outstanding Creativity in Solving a Major Problem of the Boston Harbor by the Boston Harbor Association in November of 2007.
Reinstein has also successfully fought against the establishment of trash transfer station in Revere, and continues to fight expansion of trash incinerator on the Saugus/Revere line.
In July of 2010, Speaker Robert DeLeo appointed her to the conference committee which reconciled the differences between the House and Senate bills, and was eventually signed into law by Governor Patrick.
Reinstein has been a longtime advocate for expanded gaming with two of the state’s four racetracks located in her district, Wonderland and Suffolk Downs.
“When my father was in the House, he was a proponent of expanded gaming as has been many members of the community for a very long time, so I obviously consider my work on the legislation and its passage a major personal achievement for the Commonwealth.
Reinstein admitted she has worried and questioned many times over the years whether or not she’d even be on the Hill when gaming legislation finally passed.
“With the passage of the casino legislation and a potential license at Suffolk Downs, it’s clear that the City is going to get the shot in the arm it needs, and we know this development will lead to the redevelopment of other blighted and long-abandoned properties across the community as well.”
Reinstein described the level of community engagement as so beyond belief that it often was exhausting, however, felt reassured by constituents’ desire to take part in the process.
“Revere is so close to Boston, and I think we are looking at this process playing out of the next several years. This is something that needs to be done right in order to ensure that the pros will far outweigh any of the cons.”
“You don’t work this long to rush through and implement the legislation inappropriately or inefficiently. This place is a very special place to me, and I would never want to do anything to hurt it.”
With gaming legislation passed, Reinstein has branched out to new legislative initiatives, including researching potential ways the legislature can ensure that education is accessible, affordable, and available to low-income families, especially single-mother heads of households.
“I’ve been attending conferences, reading research, and really delving into this topic because it is an area that is seriously affecting many of the constituents of my district and the surrounding areas. As someone at a recent conference put it, ‘When we educate a mother, we educate a family. When we educate our families, we educate a neighborhood.’”
She has also recently announced that she will be seeking re-election to an eighth term, and will be hosting a complimentary campaign kickoff at noon on Sunday, April 15 at the Beachmont VFW in Revere.
“I hope the constituents of my district understand how much I care for them and the community that we both call home.”