In 2012, Marjorie Decker was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives representing the 25th Middlesex District, including parts of the Cambridge neighborhoods of West, North, Riverside, Cambridgeport and mid-Cambridge. Representative Decker is both humbled and proud to serve the diverse and vibrant citizens of Cambridge and help to make it the strongest community it can be.
Marjorie was raised in public housing and was the first in her family to graduate high school from Cambridge Rindge and Latin, following which she completed her undergraduate degree at UMass Amherst and her Master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Before joining the House of Representatives, Marjorie served seven terms on the Cambridge City Council, where she was the youngest woman ever elected to the Council. She has continued to be an advocate for housing and homeless families, labor, early education, and anti-poverty efforts throughout her career.
Most recently, she has been a strong spokeswoman for sensible gun laws and protecting our immigrant communities from the federal government's immigration policies. Marjorie’s extreme risk protection order (ERPO) or “red flag” bill, which allows family members and law enforcement to petition the courts to separate firearms from an individual found to pose harm to themselves or others, was signed into law by Governor Baker on July 3, 2018.
Representative Decker is also proud to have lifted the family welfare cap in the FY 19 budget, as a result of which thousands of children across the Commonwealth have access to cash assistance for basic items such as food and healthcare.She has been recognized by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Crittenton Women’s Union, Riverside Community Care, the Cambridge YWCA, the Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants, Transition House, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and the Greater Boston Food Bank.
As state Representative, Marjorie has continued to champion support for housing and homeless families, funding for early education and care, and a path for new significant revenues. She is the Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Rules and also sits on the Committees on Financial Services, Elder Affairs, and State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. Marjorie also serves on a number of caucuses that seek to address issues of labor, economic justice, and criminal justice reform. She most recently secured protections for survivors of domestic violence in accessing the Earned Income Tax Credit in the FY 18 final budget.
Prior to her time at the Kennedy School and on City Council, Marjorie taught first grade and was a special education teacher with Teach for America in Shreveport, Louisiana. She also served as legislative aide to former Representative Alice Wolf (D-Cambridge), her predecessor, as well as Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst), gaining extensive experience in the state legislature.
Marjorie’s drive to seek policies that ensure families have the tools they need to raise healthy, educated children with economic security and safe housing is deeply rooted in her family history. Both of Marjorie’s parents grew up in low income families and were raised in public housing.
Marjorie’s father, Timothy J. (Murphy) Decker, was orphaned at the age of seven and drafted to fight in Vietnam at seventeen. After serving two tours in Vietnam Tim, like many veterans, found it difficult to build a functional life due to trauma and the guilt of having survived the war. Tim spent most of his life unemployed and suffering from undiagnosed acute PTSD until he found himself living in a homeless shelter for Vietnam veterans.
Marjorie’s mother Catherine (Curley) Decker, the second of six children, dropped out of school in the tenth grade to care for her sick mother and siblings. She went on to work at a nursing home for most of her life, until the back pain that had accumulated over twenty years of working made it impossible for her to continue the physical labor of lifting patients. Cathy was also an active union shop steward with SEIU and helped to secure a victory for the overworked, understaffed, and underpaid nursing assistants. While the nursing home owners successfully retaliated over the years by creating unbearable work conditions for the staff, Cathy was the last of her colleagues to hold onto her job.
Marjorie is also the proud mother of two young children and lives in West Cambridge, with her husband Bahij.
Throughout her career, Marjorie Decker has been recognized as a tireless advocate for her constituents. She was the first woman to be honored by the Greater Boston Labor Council for her work on behalf of immigrants and workers, as well as the youngest woman to be inducted into the Boston YWCA’s prestigious Academy of Woman Achievers for her advocacy around affordable housing and economic justice. Marjorie has also served on the board of the Cambridge Anti-Poverty Agency and the Cambridge Peace Commission.
In 2003, she was appointed to the United Nations International Association of Peace Messenger Cities, which provided an opportunity for her to travel the world to address issues of mining exploitation, stateless refugee children living in detention centers and nuclear disarmament. She continues to serve on the executive board.