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Five freshman lawmakers to watch on Beacon Hill

Jon Santiago’s resume is the stuff of a job recruiter’s dream. He was a Fulbright Scholar and served in the Peace Corps. He attended Yale School of Medicine before becoming a physician in Boston Medical Center’s emergency department. And he said he followed a line of family members into service by joining the Army Reserves.


But there’s only one job that had direct roots in the representative-elect’s next role: State House intern, in the office, no less, of the man he would later challenge.


Yes, before beating 35-year incumbent Representative Byron Rushing in September’s primary, Santiago said he worked in the South End Democrat’s office. That experience in early 2015, he said, helped teach him that delivering as a legislator takes more than what “Schoolhouse Rock” cartoons would lead you to believe.

“It’s a complicated ecosystem of interests,” Santiago said. “It requires a lot of work, a lot of consensus building. It was all very fascinating to me.”


Now Santiago, 36, is diving back in as the Ninth Suffolk District’s incoming representative. The district, he said, is “ground zero” for the state’s opioid epidemic and its deadly fallout, which literally spills into Santiago’s day job at BMC.



“One job informs the other,” said Santiago, adding that he intends to keep one to two shifts a week at the hospital after he takes office. “The ER is essentially where failed public policy presents itself.”

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