About Denise

  • State Representative Denise C. Garlick represents the 43,000 people of the 13 Norfolk District, comprised of Needham, Dover and Medfield (precincts 1 and 2).  She currently serves as the Chair of Bills in Third Reading, which is the final committee legislation must pass before it can be engrossed. She is also serving as the elected Chair of the permanent funded Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and she is the only legislator serving on the Opioid Trust Fund Advisory Council.
  • Her career has been dedicated to public service and advocating for the rights of people in her town, state and nation. In addition to her official state duties, she is proud to be a mother, a nurse, a volunteer and known by all as a hard worker.
  • Currently Representative Garlick’s legislative focus includes championing local and regional public health, addressing workplace violence in healthcare facilities, efficient use of school resources, Medicare for all, and ensuring access to open meetings through remote options.
Legislative Background

During the 2019-2020 legislative session, Representative Garlick served as the Vice Chair of the House and Joint Committee on Ways and Means, which is responsible for crafting the state’s annual budget and considering all legislation affecting the finances of the Commonwealth. Starting in 2019, she was appointed to lead the Caring Collaboration for Vulnerable Children and Families. Throughout 2020, she was one of five members of the House of Representatives leading the COVID-19 response for the House and acting as a liaison between the members and the Massachusetts COVID-19 Response Command Center.

As a former Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery, Representative Garlick is the House author of the 2018 Opioid Bill (Chapter 208 of the Acts of 2018). And as Chair of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs she worked to change the Council on Aging formula, influencing services to older adults throughout the Commonwealth. Representative Garlick has also previously served as the Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Education and on the Joint Committees on Public Health and Healthcare Financing.

Representative Garlick strongly believes in working in coalitions with her community organizations and her colleagues.  She is a member of the Caucus of Women Legislators, the MetroWest Caucus, the Labor Caucus, the Caucus for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities, the Elder Affairs Caucus, the Biotech Caucus, and the Manufacturing Caucus. She also serves as a board member on the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum and previously served on the Harvard School of Public Health Occupational and Environmental Advisory Board.

Prior Board Memberships

Before serving in the state government she was a member of a number of elected and appointed boards. On Needham’s Board of Selectmen, she was responsible for municipal issues of education, public safety, public works and public health, and helped to manage a budget of more than $100 million.

She also served as the Chair of the Needham Board of Health and as a Town Meeting Member. In 2006, Denise founded and chaired the Needham Coalition for Suicide Prevention, which continues its work today and serves as a model for communities across the United States. She also chaired the Needham Senior Center Exploratory Committees, which lead the charge in constructing a $8.2 million Senior Center.

Professional Background

Denise is a Registered Nurse and values her wide-ranging experiences in both teaching and community hospitals, including union and nonunion systems, as well as community health settings.

She has had many leadership roles in her profession and the broader field of health care. Nationally, she has delivered lectures on health and safety issues for healthcare professionals.

Educational Background

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and recently completed Harvard University’s Healthcare Leadership seminar. Denise currently serves on the Harvard School of Public Health Environmental Research Center Advisory Board.


Denise and her husband, Russell, are long-time residents of Needham, Massachusetts. They are the proud parents of four adults.

Denise Garlick with her family