Anna Callahan is a mom and software engineer dedicated to addressing the root problems in our State House. What is preventing us from passing legislation that is wildly popular among the residents of Massachusetts?
When Anna was in high school, her mother spent 70% of the family income on rent so that Anna and her sister could attend good public schools. Anna graduated with a BS in Math from the University of Michigan. As an adult Anna has lived primarily in housing cooperatives, where she gets to practice small group democracy on a daily basis. In the 90’s when she was a jazz musician she lived below the poverty line and understands the choices one has to make in that situation. She was illegally arrested and jailed in 2000 while attending a peaceful protest; this experience led to her deep concern about police brutality and incarceration and the racial disparities in our criminal justice system.
While living in LA, Anna was elected President of the Board of Directors for a multi-million dollar non-profit cooperative housing association. There she engaged in a two-year battle against an entrenched establishment. Told that others had tried and failed to change things for 10 years, she persisted, and in under two years succeeded in removing the bad apples.* Revenue increased by 37%, occupancy and tenure rose significantly, the physical infrastructure improved, and because residents’ quality of life improved, the institution continues to thrive to this day.
Anna moved to Somerville in 2003 and fell in love with the neighborhood and culture. She worked as a software engineer at a variety of startups, creating mobile apps in Objective C and web apps in Django. She got married and had her son in 2014. In 2016 (while living briefly on the west coast) she quit her job in software to get involved in presidential politics and then local politics. She helped elect a slate of progressives to the city council and mayor of Berkeley, CA. She was active in passing Berkeley’s public financing of elections law and served on the Fair Campaign Practices and Open Government Commissions.
In 2017 she spearheaded The Incorruptibles, which trains both grassroots groups and candidates in a new model of political organizing. She trained dozens of groups (in states including CA, OK, KS, PA, MA, RI) to build local power by creating coalitions and expanding the electorate. She is an active member of Boston DSA and Our Revolution Somerville. She also runs a podcast about Massachusetts state politics, where she interviews state reps and progressive organizations; the podcast is a quest to understand why the MA state house blocks us from passing laws that MA residents want, need, and deserve.
Anna understands that health care, affordable housing, and averting a climate catastrophe are not “nice to haves” — and that we cannot pass these without working to end the concentration of power currently in the hands of the Speaker of the House. We need more people at the state level who understand how these issues fit together. Anna will fight for our rights while building the movement we need to get real change in our state.
* Ask Anna about this story some time. It’s a good one.