Less than four years after he walked across the Cistern Yard and exited through Porters Lodge, diploma in hand, Dylan Fernandes ’13 has joined the Massachusetts House of Representatives as one of the state’s youngest legislators.
Fernandes, who turned 27 on Dec. 25, 2016, was sworn in on Jan. 4 as the Bay State’s representative for Falmouth, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. His journey has been a swift one, starting as an undergrad working on Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 run for the U.S. Senate and the 2013 Congressional campaign of CofC alumna Elizabeth Colbert-Busch ’79.
After earning degrees in political science and economics, Fernandes worked in various positions for Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. After just a taste of working in advocacy and government, he knew he wanted to get into politics.
“Before running for office, I had worked on campaigns and in government positions that focused on social and economic justice and environmental stewardship,” he says. “I saw this position (as state rep) as an opportunity to continue that work while focusing on the region I love most in the world – Cape Cod and the Islands.”
And in his mind, being younger presented more advantages than challenges: He doesn’t have student loan debt, his financial obligations are limited and since he hasn’t started a family yet, he wasn’t forced to have to sacrifice time with children while on the campaign trail.
“I think that people under 30 should be more comfortable taking calculated risks because they have much less to lose than in other periods of their lives,” Fernandes says.
In the two months since his election, the CofC alum has been busy refining his agenda for the legislative session and hiring staff to help manage his work at the state house in Boston. He also held a listening tour across his district to learn about the issues important to his constituents.
As he embarks on his first 12 months in office, Fernandes has an ambitious agenda that includes focusing on clean water policies, combating the state’s opioid and heroin epidemic and creating better access to housing.
“Lack of affordable housing is driving young people, working families and the senior citizens who built our community out of the district, so I plan on making housing a top priority,” he says.
Don’t let his fresh face fool you. Fernandes is all business.