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Friedman wins, sworn in: Senate seat stays Democrat, in Arlington

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UPDATED, July 26: Cindy Friedman of Arlington has won the seat of her former boss, the late Sen. Kenneth Donnelly. 

The former chief of staff to Donnelly on Tuesday, July 25, received 7,785 votes of 8,833 ballots cast, according to town clerks in Lexington, Arlington and Billerica as well as campaign poll-watchers. Green-Rainbow party candidate Ian Jackson received 817 votes. Turnout was about 14 percent. 

She becomes the 13th woman serving in the state Senate. 

She became the newest state senator after she took the oath of office Wednesday, July 26, in time to cast her first votes.

Friedman was sworn in by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito in the Governor's Council chambers just after noon with Senate President Stanley Rosenberg at her side.

Rosenberg thanked Secretary of State William Galvin's office for expediting the vote certification process to accommodate the "unusual circumstance to move as quickly as we are" to make Friedman eligible to take part in formal sessions Wednesday and Thursday -- the final two session before the August recess.

The council voted to certify the vote and Polito then swore in Friedman. "Congratulations. You have work to do already," Polito said, joking.

June primary background

The Democrat will fill the 4th Middlesex Senate District seat, which includes Billerica, Burlington, Woburn, Arlington and parts of Lexington.

For details first reported by the Lowell Sun on July 25, click here >> 

Friedman won the Democratic primary June 27, beating state Rep. Sean Garballey by 776 votes. He won Arlington and Woburn, but lost elsewhere. Friedman was particularly strong in Lexington, likely reflecting the support of state Rep. Jay Kaufman.

Results in June showed Friedman with 7,075 votes and Garballey with 6,299. Mary Ann Stewart came in third. No Republican ran.

Friedman is the first woman to be newly elected to the Senate since Sen. Barbara L’Italien in 2015, and the 41st female state senator in Massachusetts history.

The state Senate seat has been held by an Arlington resident since 1983.

Globe reports what led to run

The Boston Globe on July 26 added comments and backgroundadded comments and background:

School Committee Vice Chair Kirsi Allison-Ampe said that when she made her annual State House appeal to argue for upping school funding, she said it was often Friedman who listened to her concerns.

Such an equal relationship between senator and chief of staff was unusual on Beacon Hill, Kaufman, a campaign cochairman and longtime friend, told The Globe.

In a Globe interview earlier this month, Friedman's voice softened as she spoke about losing Donnelly, 66, who was treated for brain cancer for eight months before he died.

"I think without the incredible support and urging of his family and my husband, I wouldn’t have put myself in this race because it was too overwhelming in a way," she said. "This is a huge loss for me. This was somebody that I loved dearly; we were completely partners in what we did."

Running for office didn't feel natural at first, Friedman told The Globe. For her, public life felt like a radical departure from backstage political organizing.

Friedman moved to the area from Philadelphia when she was 19. She is now 64 and had lived in Arlington for 30 years before moving to Cambridge in 2012 because of a family issue. She returned to town this spring and is buying a home here.

She founded several education-advocacy groups, cochaired Donnelly's campaign for Senate, ran former governor Deval Patrick's campaign in Arlington and managed Don Berwick's campaign for governor in 2013.

In an interview between Globe reporter Joshua Miller and U.S. Representative Katherine Clark, Clark urged women to run for office -- and that encouraged her to run.

She's "an unapologetic progressive," Kaufman told The Globe.


Friedman's website | Facebook site  

May 28: Eyeing funding for prekindergarten, health care

May 19, 2017: Friedman's signatures accepted, placing her on ballot

May 11, 2017: Kaufman, Donnelly kin among 125 launching Friedman campaign

May 5, 2017: Donnelly family endorses Friedman for state Senate

April 24, 2017: Donnelly's longtime chief of staff announces candidacy

This news announcement was published Tuesday, July 25, 2017, and updated July 26.

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