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Donnelly's longtime chief of staff announces candidacy for state Senate seat


Ken Donnelly, in 2007Donnelly

 Potential GOP hopeful decides not to run

UPDATED, April 29: Cindy Friedman, longtime chief of staff to state Senator Ken Donnelly, Democrat of Arlington, has announced her candidacy to succeed the senator, who died April 2.

"This has been a difficult time for all of us who worked with and admired Ken, his values and his work ethic," Friedman said in a news releas targeted for publication at noon April 24, "but after long talks with the senator's family, his close friends and my own family, I have concluded that I am best positioned and truly impassioned to continue the work Ken started nine years ago."

She has signed a lease to move to town from Cambridge, and changed her residency. She signs a letter to the editor sent by her staff with an Arlington address.

State Rep. Sean Garballey was first to announce for the seat April 18.

Meanwhile, Republican Marc Lombardo of Billerica has decided not to run. To a question from YourArlington, Lombardo pointed to an April 22 statement on Facebook

"I want to thank everyone who has urged me to run for State Senate. After careful consideration, I've decided not to run for the Senate. In the final analysis, I love serving and representing the people of Billerica."

The State House News Service has reported that an Arlington candidate has held the seat since 1983.

Cites background

In her release, Friedman continued, "My background as a public school teacher, as a manager of hardware and software development groups, as a community activist and parent, and especially as the chief of staff for Ken Donnelly in the State Senate for nearly a decade, has uniquely prepared me to hit the ground running if elected by voters to succeed the late Senator.”

Friedman went on, "Having traveled the district, I understand the needs of the people of the 4th Middlesex District and have answered their questions and helped resolve their problems for the past nine years. I have drafted and lobbied for legislation to protect working families and provide homeless children with early access to shelter; to increase access to services for and reduce the criminalization of those suffering from severe and debilitating mental illness and substance use disorders; to reform our criminal justice system; and to increase the availability of workforce training that would meet the needs of businesses and increase the economic stability of our residents.

"Further, I have worked side by side with the late senator to increase access to transportation and support for district schools and local governments. I strongly trust that after comparing and contrasting the backgrounds and experience of the candidates, the voters will conclude that I am best suited to carry on the work of Ken Donnelly and offer my contributions as a leader and legislative innovator. It would be my honor to do so."

She has engaged in many political, social and community activities over the past two decades, the statement said.

Service in Arlington

During the 32 years she lived in Arlington before moving to Cambridge, in 2012, she was a longtime Arlington Town Meeting member a member of the Symmes Advisory Committee and chair of the Symmes Advisory Committee community outreach subcommittee; founding member, SPOT (Schools are a Priority in Our Town); vice president and cofounder of Arlington Education Foundation; and chair of the Arlington No Place for Hate Committee.

She has been a sought-after leader for organizations and campaigns, the statement said.

"I am eager to share with voters the issues that Ken and I, with his staff, have been working on in order to improve the lives of all Massachusetts residents, especially those who are most vulnerable and without a voice," her statement said.

"I am running with the hope that the people of the 4th Middlesex District will allow me to continue and expand the important work that we have been doing the past nine years," she concluded.

Friedman is a graduate of Roger Williams University and earned a master's degree in special education from Lesley University. She and her husband, John Page, have three children and two grandchildren..

The state Senate adopted an order for an election Tuesday, July 25, to elect a successor to Donnelly, the Arlington Democrat who died April 2 from the effects of brain cancer. The Senate also ordered party primaries to held Tuesday, June 27.

Jim DiTullio of Arlington, Rosenberg's chief policy adviser, says he would support Friedman if she runs.

Potential GOP candidate

On the Republican side, Billerica Rep. Marc Lombardo is reported to have been urged to run.

Lombardo wrote April 13: "I've been flattered by those urging me to run. At this point, I need to speak with my trusted advisers and my family to determine if a Senate run makes sense."

Lombardo, 34, has served in the House since 2011 and previously served on the Billerica Board of Selectmen.

Facebook comments

Meanwhile, on Facebook sites April 15, before any potential candidate had issued a statement, Garballey drew support from Paul Schlichtman, School Committee member, and Friedman received backing from Clarissa Rowe, the former selectmen.

Also supporting Friedman, based on Facebook posts April 14, are Selectmen Dan Dunn and Steve Byrne. After that, Aimee Coolidge anniounced her support.

Selectman Diane Mahon is expected to support Garballey.

A minimum of 300 certified signatures are required for nominees. The deadline for submitting nomination papers to local registrars of voters or election commissioners for certification is 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 16. The deadline for filing certified nomination papers with the secretary of the Commonwealth is Tuesday, May 23.

The 4th Middlesex Senate District encompasses the Towns of Arlington, Billerica, Burlington; precincts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 in the Town of Lexington; and the City of Woburn, all in Middlesex County.

For state elections, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Friedman's website | Facebook site
April 13, 2017: Garballey announces run, as Friedman leans toward seat
April 8, 2017: 200 firefighters honor Donnelly at Town Hall before wake

This news summary was published Monday, April 24, 2017.

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