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Melissa’s Story

On paper, Melissa Reilly handles database entry, record maintenance for constituent services and other administrative tasks as an aide in Senator Jamie Eldridge’s office at the Massachusetts State House.

“Not only does she take the job very seriously … but she’s really there to help anyone.”
Senator Jamie Eldridge, Massachusetts

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But Senator Eldridge, an Acton lawmaker, knows that her job description doesn’t explain half of what Melissa has brought to the table in her three years working for him. “The thing that I always say about Melissa is that she’s become my ambassador,” Eldridge says. “Not only does she take the job very seriously and is very committed to helping the constituents I represent, but she’s really there to help anyone.”

Reilly, a member of the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress’ Self Advocate Advisory Council, graduated from Acton-Boxborough High School and, in 2010, from the Transition Program at Middlesex Community College. In addition to her Beacon Hill job, she works as a classroom assistant at the Learning Program Boston.

She is also a top-flight athlete, having medaled in alpine skiing competitions, including taking home the silver for the USA at the Special Olympics in South Korea in 2013. Melissa is a public speaker in great demand, presenting regularly to medical students and physicians about her experience growing up with Down syndrome.