Senator Flanagan was born and raised in the city of Leominster.  She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Boston and went on to get a Masters Degree of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Fitchburg State University.

Her political career started in 1995 as a Legislative Aide in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for the late Representative Mary Jane Simmons, and she then went on to become the Chief of Staff on four legislative committees. She served two terms in the House of Representatives and as Representative of the 4th Worcester district. 

Senator Flanagan worked in the mental health field as a counselor for young girls at You, Inc. This experience paved the way for a career focused on helping those who have mental illness and continues to shape the work she does today. 

In 2008, she  was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate.  Since being sworn in, Senator Flanagan has served the Worcester and Middlesex district of Massachusetts, including: Berlin, Bolton, Precincts 1 & 2 of Clinton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenburg, Sterling, Townsend and Westminster in North Central Massachusetts.

Senator Flanagan is on the Board of Directors for the nationally recognized Women in Government.  In addition, she serves as Chair of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators.  She is also a member of the Regional Transportation Authority Caucus, the Gateway Cities Caucus, the Non-Profit Caucus and the Foster Care Caucus.

She serves on the following boards in the community:  the SHINE Advisory Board and the Leominster Education Foundation.  She is an honorary board member of the Gardner Community Action Council.

Both in the House and Senate, Senator Flanagan had part in passing several key pieces of legislation relative to mental health. An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health 2008, An Act Relative to Mental Health Parity 2008, An Act to Improve Access to Mental Health Services 2008, An Act Improving Emergency Access to Mental Health Services 2010, and Strengthening Mental Health Parity 2012. 

In conjunction with her work on mental health policy, Senator Flanagan successfully passed two instrumental bills to address the opioid crisis plaguing the Commonwealth. The first, An Act to Increase Opportunities for Long-Term Substance Abuse Recovery, provides people with an opportunity to access treatment.  As well as, An Act Relative to Substance Use Prevention, which seeks to avert people away from substances. 

Senator Flanagan was appointed to serve on the following committees for the 2017-2018 legislative session: Chair of the Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery Committee, Chair of the Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Committee, and Vice Chair of the Public Health Committee.  In addition to being a member of the Public Service Committee and Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee.  Senator Flanagan is also the Chair of the Special Senate Committee on Opioid Addiction and has been appointed to the Special Commission on Behavioral Health. Bottom of Form