Washington (March 1, 2023) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today announced Nika Elugardo will join his office as Chief Counsel. Having most recently served as Massachusetts State Representative for Suffolk District 15, Elugardo this summer will join the Senator’s staff in Washington D.C. to lead his justice portfolio, focusing on issues including immigration, the judiciary, civil rights, LGBTQ+ rights, electoral reform, gun safety, criminal justice reform, housing, and more.

“Nika is a remarkable combination of brilliant leader and fierce advocate, and I am honored to have her join my office as our Chief Counsel to continue implementing our justice agenda,” said Senator Markey. “As we enter a new session of Congress and build upon the progressive victories of the past two years, Nika will bring deep experience and unwavering commitment to the kind of intersectional policymaking and systems change we need to build and ensure a livable future. Nika leads a life fueled by love, family, service, and integrity, and we need more of that lived experience on Capitol Hill and in politics. I’m honored to have her join me in serving the families, workers, businesses, and cities and towns of Massachusetts.”

“I have long been inspired by the Senator’s history of boldly and loudly speaking challenging truths in the halls of power, even when it could hurt him politically,” said Elugardo. “Senator Markey’s rare political courage is matched by his integrity and focus on justice and equity. This is how he has motivated intergenerational voters of all races and genders to courageously engage our democracy. I am beyond thrilled to work for the United States Senate as Chief Counsel for Senator Markey. It has been the joy of my professional life to serve the Commonwealth as a State Representative, and I look forward to continued service in this new season and capacity. It will be an honor to join Team Markey and to support the Senator’s commitment to doubling down on his longstanding justice work and on his unyielding support for fellow legislators who are champions on justice legislation, especially young congresspeople who have lived experiences with racism, genderism, poverty, transphobia, or heterosexism. These extraordinary times call for extraordinary leadership, and I am especially grateful for the opportunity to serve with an extraordinary leader at such a time as this.”

Elugardo has a deep history championing innovative and effective community and economic development initiatives across Massachusetts for more than 20 years. As a State Representative, Elugardo focused on creating economic opportunity for vulnerable communities, dismantling the prison-industrial complex, expanding voting rights, and expanding public housing, having served on the Elder Affairs Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, and Housing Joint Committee where she worked to protect Massachusetts tenants and homeowners. She served as Senior Policy Advisor to State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, and prior to that, she worked at the National Consumer Law Center’s Foreclosure Prevention Project on low-income homeowner, consumer, and utility ratepayer rights; at the Emmanuel Gospel Center on community-based leadership development and systems thinking collaboration; and as the founding director of MassSaves.org, a multi-sector collaborative where she promoted economic justice in low-income communities statewide. Elugardo received a B.S. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School for Government, and her J.D. from Boston University. She and her partner Marcos Elugardo will be moving to Washington D.C. to join the Markey office staff this summer.

Elugardo will be taking over for Senator Markey’s longtime Chief Counsel Andrew Cohen, who is beginning retirement. Cohen, who first worked for then-Congressman Markey in the 1980s, will remain on staff part-time, heading up the Senator’s oversight and investigative efforts.