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Jacqueline Franks - The Public Servant
Jacqueline being honored by the Boston City Council for winning a Gold Medal at the Special Olympics
Jacqueline being honored by the Boston City Council for winning a Gold Medal at the Special Olympics
Jacqueline Franks - The Public Servant

My sister Jacqueline has been my inspiration most of my life. She is a 28-year-old woman with Down syndrome and one of my best friends. Growing up, Jacqueline always found a way to connect with people - whether it was a family member, a neighbor, or a stranger she crossed paths with on the bus. She possesses a special ability to put a smile on someone's face. Like any older sister, I worried about what Jacqueline would do when she finished school. I remember having a conversation as she neared graduation and asking her what she wanted to do next. Without hesitation she said, "I want to help people like you." So, it comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever met her, that Jacqueline has captured countless hearts in her years of public service in Boston. Boston is a city that is rich with political history. The hallways of the State House and Boston's City Hall can be intimidating for anyone. But, Jacqueline knew intuitively early on that being successful in a political environment does not always boil down to who you know, but rather you will succeed if you treat everyone fairly and with respect. I know in my own career in politics, I have learned many lessons just by watching Jacqueline and the way in which she conducts herself. Not once has she ever let having Down syndrome stop her from pursuing her dreams. It wasn't always easy though. One of Jacqueline's first jobs was at the State House. The particular office she was assigned to was not a good fit, and she was terminated. I remember being so frustrated thinking - how could someone fire a person with Down syndrome? That didn't stop Jacqueline. She found new home working at Boston City Hall, currently for Councillor Mark Ciommo of Brighton - a public servant whom Jacqueline takes great pride in representing. She has thrived for the past six years first as a secretary and now as an executive assistant. Often times she's described as the "glue that holds the office together." Government and politics is often described as callous. That may be true. However, many people at City Hall can recount countless occasions when Jacqueline walked the halls, office to office, delivering the mail to one of her boss' adversaries during a time when a controversial issue was being debated. Her presence alone often lightened the mood and tension. I'd like to believe that she has affected some of her peers to realize that we're all after the same goal working in public service - seeking to help the most vulnerable, people like Jacqueline. If you too have been blessed to have such a special person in your life as a relative, friend or co-worker, then you know - they always find a way to touch your heart. I believe without a shred of doubt that a person with Down syndrome can do anything if given the chance to believe. Just look at my sister.

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Comments (1,000 character limit)

Pamela Davis, United States, MA
3/30/2011 1:59:26 PM
Jacqueline sounds like someone who could be successful where ever she chose to work. God bless her and the joy she spreads among her co-workers.

JoAnne Turner, United States, MA
3/23/2011 5:51:46 PM
I hope you win Jacqueline.

debbie cabezas, United States, MA
3/23/2011 4:25:37 PM
Amazing story Kristen, Ja-kay you are truly a gift to all who are blessed to know you. much love

diane bradley, United States, MA
3/21/2011 5:22:27 PM
Thank you for a beautiful story. Thank You!

Luanne Lowry, United States, PA
3/21/2011 11:07:48 AM
Hi there Jacqueline, What an inspiration you are to me. I will save this article for my 2 year old Grandson Brayden who also has Down Syndrome. I can only pray that he someday will be like you! Take care and keep up the marvelous work! Grammie Nu Nu

Britt Young, United States, MA
3/1/2011 10:34:17 AM
Great story! Great inspiration!

Stephanie England Floyd, United States, MA
2/28/2011 10:43:48 AM
What an inspiration!

Mike Welsh, United States, MA
2/23/2011 4:32:12 PM
Go JQ!

sarah welsh, United States, MA
2/13/2011 10:55:16 PM
Go Jacqueline!!!!

jacqueline franks, United States, MA
2/10/2011 1:48:28 PM
thank you very much for voting for me please vote again.

Caitlin Donahue, United States, DC
2/10/2011 1:46:07 PM
What a great story Kristen! I wish I had a Jacqueline in my office.

Tarah Provencal, United States, MA
2/11/2011 1:20:31 AM
Beautiful Story! There is nothing more special than a bond between sisters. Kristen, you are very lucky to have Jacqueline as a sister.

Dan Cence, United States, MA
2/11/2011 1:57:44 AM
Way to go Jaqueline

W. Kevin Cahill, United States, MA
2/11/2011 2:51:59 AM

zachary franks, United States, MA
2/11/2011 2:43:02 AM

paula A Flaherty, United States, MA
2/10/2011 9:52:50 AM
that was the best and we all love you Jacqueline, you are a dall good luck

Justene Spaulding, United States, MA
2/10/2011 9:46:54 AM
Great Story

Eileen Bickford, United States, MA
2/10/2011 10:09:22 AM
Inspiring story!

paula flaherty, United States, MA
2/10/2011 2:29:53 PM
nice job and good luck

Molly Martin Alvarado, United States, MA
2/10/2011 4:36:59 PM
Very inspiring! Congratulations!

Michael Gorman, United States, MA
2/10/2011 4:29:41 PM
What a great story!

Lisa Manfra, United States, MA
2/10/2011 3:57:07 PM
Very inspiring!

Mark H, United States, MA
2/10/2011 3:48:00 PM
Surprises me every day with her ability to communicate honestly and effectively. A valuable asset to our team and a good friend. The glue that holds us together!

Johanna Sena, United States, MA
2/11/2011 5:51:35 AM
Jackie is great to work with! She has a greta personality and always a smile on her face :)

Kate Crowther, United States, MA
2/11/2011 5:51:28 AM
So glad to know these amazing sisters!

John Swenson, United States, MA
2/11/2011 3:22:19 PM
Jackie is the best! Keep up the good work at City Hall!

Andrew Kenneally, United States, MA
2/11/2011 2:53:43 PM
Way to go Jackie!!!

Matt OMalley, United States, MA
2/11/2011 8:30:19 AM
Go Jacqueline!

Terry Crowley, United States, MA
2/11/2011 6:43:40 AM

Marilyn Carey, United States, MA
2/11/2011 5:18:34 PM
Congratulations Jaqueline!

Patricia Ryan, United States, MA
2/11/2011 8:32:00 PM
Way to go :)

Robert G. Falter, Ph.D., United States, MA
2/11/2011 8:11:38 PM
She is the greatest love of our family.

James Mazareas, United States, MA
2/11/2011 7:12:24 PM
Good luck Jackie!

Melanie Franks, United States, MA
2/11/2011 6:19:00 PM
Im so proud of you Jackie!

peggy lynch, United States, MA
2/14/2011 6:25:32 AM
I miss Jacqueline at Charlestown High, so happy you doing so well.

Hunter, United States, MA
2/14/2011 9:34:37 PM
Good Luck, hope you win!

Lisa Natale, United States, MA
2/11/2011 3:57:44 PM
Family Love!

Bill MacGregor, United States, MA
2/11/2011 5:39:49 AM
Nice job. A great story!!!

Bernadette Moarn Lally, United States, MA
2/11/2011 5:37:36 AM
Great story!

christine hughes, United States, RI
2/15/2011 4:43:21 PM
thank you for sharing

cynthia tuck, United States, MA
2/16/2011 12:57:37 PM
what a wonderful story

manuela jalonen, United States, MA
2/19/2011 8:05:51 PM
This is a really good story.

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