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Deysts' letter among 12 backing Friedman

This letter is from Mary and John Deyst, Arlington Town Meeting members. Letters for all candidates are welcome:

We first came to know Cindy Friedman when we were fellow Town Meeting members with her in Arlington. We had often discussed town and state issues with her and came to realize how wise and thoughtful she is.

Her progressive approach to assuring quality schools and good governance has always been the bedrock for positions she takes and fights for. We followed her career in the State House and especially when she became chief of staff to Senator Donnelly.

As Senator Donnelly's family has stated in their endorsements of Friedman, she played a significant role in his success as state senator. She knows how to get things done on Beacon Hill, and she will fight for the causes that the citizens of the 4th Middlesex District support.

There is no doubt in our minds that Cindy Friedman is the best choice for state senator, and we urge you to vote for her on June 27.

This letter was published Monday, June 12, 2017.

Hooper, Goodman declare support 

The writers of the following letter are Barbara C. Goodman, former School Committee member (1993-2005) and Gwen Hooper, founder and former director of Arlington Children Center 1971-2004:

At one time, Arlington Public Schools were in trouble. Our buildings were old and dilapidated. Proposition 2½ had set a limit on the town’s ability to raise revenues. This cap on the property tax, combined with a drastic decrease in state aid, led to massive cuts in our school budget. Teachers were laid off, and valuable programs disappeared.

Now, our schools have a great reputation. Arlington has become a destination for families with young children. While many people deserve credit for this transformation, Cindy Friedman was one of the first to tackle the issue. In 2001, as cofounder of SPOT (Schools are a Priority in Our Town), she helped put a “spotlight” on the needs of our schools, and organized parents to advocate for additional resources.

Cindy consistently stepped forward when educational programs were in jeopardy. She cofounded the Arlington Schools Foundation (ASF), now the Arlington Education Foundation, and served as its vice president. During the 2002-2003 economic recessions, our school budget had a $3 million deficit and teachers were laid off. In just two months, ASF raised $270,000 to rehire reading specialists. Over the next several years, ASF also funded a high school improvement plan as well as elementary enrichment programs.

To preserve school programs and town services, Cindy worked on campaigns to override Proposition 2½. She offered her home on Jason Street as headquarters and a place where dozens of volunteers came to make phone calls. She did the same when we needed to go to the voters for a debt exclusion to fund the rebuilding of our schools.

Cindy Friedman has a passion for education, a deep commitment to our town, lots of energy and a keen ability to think strategically. She has what it takes to be a great senator. Please give her your vote on June 27.

This letter was published Thursday, June 8, 2017.

Simon adds her voice

The following letter was written by Hannah Simon of Arlington:

On June 27 I will vote for Cindy Friedman in the Democratic primary for our next 4th Middlesex state Senator. I strongly support her because she is thoughtful, intelligent, informed and clear-headed, and she cares deeply about the issues that matter to all of us, especially to those whose needs are often ignored.

I have worked with her in all the years that I have been active in Arlington politics and have had a chance to get to know her as a mentor, a guru, an advocate for progressive values and causes. She was the one I turned to for advice on campaigns, on legislative matters and on how to approach various issues I cared about.  She was always responsive generous and wise in her advice. 

I was amazed at her grasp of and passion for the issues and at her intimate knowledge of how the state Senate works and of how one can successfully lead, collaborate and fight to enact meaningful legislation.  I saw how as his chief of staff she partnered with the late Senator Ken Donnelly and what a crucial role she played in helping with all the aspects of his job.  This was even more evident during the sad months of his illness.

After his untimely death, I knew that Cindy was devastated, but I also felt that she was the very best choice to continue the work that had mattered so much to both of them and to carry on his legacy. So though I felt really guilty doing this so soon after his funeral, I contacted her and urged her to run.  I knew that Cindy is not a career politician and that doing this would pull her out of her comfort zone, but I hoped she would run anyway.  I learned that many others, including Ken’s entire family had also asked her to run. I am so glad that she is doing so!
Finally, I strongly believe that women, who make up more than half of our population, should have equal representation in government. This is not the case in our state Senate. Women hold only 12 out of 40 seats!  Of course, I would never pick the woman over a superior male candidate, but fortunately Cindy is clearly the best. Thus, voting for her is a win-win situation!

This letter was published Friday, June 9, 2017.

Ex-state Rep. Paulsen adds backing

Anne Paulsen, a former state representative (24th Middlesex District), wrote the following.

I am writing in support of Cindy Friedman for the state Senate. I represented Arlington in the Legislature for 14 years and am well aware of the important role a state senator plays in developing and passing progressive policies that support the Massachusetts citizens. 

Friedman will carry on in the tradition of Sen. Bob Havern and Sen. Ken Donnelly, both of whom were widely admired for their active roles in the Senate and their tenacity in getting the job done for their constituents. As Sen. Donnelly’s chief of staff, Cindy worked closely with him on all his legislative and district priorities and will continue that work.

She will be an independent voice when necessary; she will be well prepared, ready to stand up for her priorities both in committee work and on the Senate floor. Cindy is supported by members of the Senate who know her capabilities and are ready to work with her on issues important to Arlington residents —- education funding, transportation issues, affordable housing, criminal justice reform, homelessness, job creation and local projects.

Cindy knows that it is vital not only to cosponsor legislation, but also to be the spokesperson for issues that resonate in Arlington and the Fourth Middlesex District. She will be a listener and a leader; that is the way a senator has success.

In international, national and local politics, we see more than ever the importance of women’s voices in the debate about the future of our world, our state and our cities and towns. Cindy Friedman is well qualified to add strength and clarity to the state Senate. There are only 12 women in our state Senate; Arlington has the opportunity to add another woman’s voice.

I hope voters will take this opportunity to strengthen the Senate on June 27 by electing Cindy Friedman.

This letter was published Sunday, June 4, 2017.

Resident offers support 

Gerry Ricci of Arlington submitted the following letter to the editor:

Cindy Friedman has the best credentials to serve the 4th district as our state Senator. She brings sound judgment, experience and deep insight into the legislative process of the Senate.

Cindy gained her breadth of knowledge through a well-rounded professional life as a public school teacher, high-tech manager and for nine years as chief of staff to Senator Ken Donnelly. Cindy has been tireless in civic engagement as a Town Meeting member, cofounder of the organization that became the Arlington Education Foundation and other meaningful initiatives. (See her website 

I got to know Cindy when she led Deval Patrick’s campaign for governor in Arlington. She is very capable, well-versed and enthusiastically endorsed by the Donnelly family as the best candidate to serve in the role of state Senator.

Please vote for Cindy on Tuesday, June 27.

This letter was published Monday, June 5, 2017.

Foskett's support dates to days they were neighbors

The following letter is from Charlie Foskett, Precinct 8 Town Meeting member, vice chair of the town Finance Committee and chair of the Arlington Capital Planning Committee: 

First, full disclosure: Cindy Friedman her husband, John Page, were my family's next-door neighbors for more than 30 years; our children and theirs went to Arlington schools together. Over all those years, we never had a harsh word, a strong testimony to Cindy's humanity. We are close friends.

We often disagreed, Cindy, a progressive, and I, a conservative; in our two-family group, I was usually the odd man out, three against one.

But we listened to each other and learned new things. Cindy is always open to hear all other ideas and respectfully weigh them, just like her mentor, the late and loved Senator Ken Donnelly.

Long before she was the senator's chief of staff, Cindy committed herself to public service in Arlington, to making our community a better place. She has taken key roles in override campaigns and debt exclusions that resulted in improved Arlington services and enhanced education of our children.

She has worked on or led many of the nonpartisan campaigns that have produced a new generation of leaders in our town's government. Cindy is energetic and dedicated.

Cindy was a longtime Town meeting member, serving the interests of her precinct and Arlington's community at large. About 17 years ago, I lured Cindy onto a town committee I chaired; it turned out that this effort intensively consumed two and one-half years of our lives.

I learned in this work that Cindy has a mind like the proverbial steel trap: fast to learn, incisive on any issue and tenacious in the application of her core principles. Friendship never secured her support, only the merits counted.

I will not recite the typical list of what Cindy stands for or against; you can easily find that elsewhere ( 

From long experience and close proximity, I know Cindy's ethics, vision and courage. I know her open-minded approach to the world. I know her commitment to our community, our state and our country.

As senator, Cindy will be an invaluable asset to Arlington, our district and our state. Cindy has my support and my vote, I ask that you give her yours.

This letter was published Thursday, June 1, 2017.

Ex-School Committee member Bakey supports

The following letter is from Janice A. Bakey, a former member of the School Committee:

Cindy Friedman has been a compassionate and leading advocate for good government and transparent public institutions for many years. She knows that success demands good planning every step of the way, whether for our public institutions or parks, open space, good neighborhoods or programs.

In the early days, Cindy worked to improve our schools for every child. She was a cofounder of the nonprofit Arlington Schools Foundation, which worked with teachers and parents to set goals and then raised the money -- all for improving our students' education. She was a Town Meeting member. She led campaigns, and her home was often headquarters for good candidates running for office and for Proposition 2 1/2 overrides.

When Cindy began working at the state level, in 2008, she brought with her this knowledge of finances and the needs and concerns of the people she had met and worked with.

Cindy is an excellent listener. She really hears and understands the help and support people and communities need from the state on issues of education, healthcare, transportation, jobs, equality and justice, to name just a few.

Please join me in voting for Cindy Friedman for state Senator on Tuesday, June 27.

This letter was published Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Attorney, assessor board member add backing

The following letter is from attorney Mary Winstanley O’Connor, who serves on the town Board of Assessors. 

The passing of our friend, state Senator Ken Donnelly, has left us with the need to ensure that all of the important and essential work he did for us in the 4th Middlesex District is continued. There is no doubt that Cindy Friedman, Senator Donnelly’s devoted former chief of staff, is the best person to continue his work and the person he wanted to continue his legacy.

Over the years, I have worked with Cindy on issues that impact us in Arlington and issues that impact all of us statewide. As a result of her decades of volunteerism and her years as Senator Donnelly’s Chief of Staff, in which she cultivated tremendous respect in the Senate, Cindy has developed a clear understanding and appreciation for the issues that impact our district, a strategy to work to obtain results in the Senate and an appreciation for those in our district, particularly those struggling to earn a living wage, those suffering from mental illness and those with substance abuse disorders.

Cindy also brings to the job private-sector experience from her years as an executive in the high-tech industry. This experience complements her years of community activism, volunteerism and legislative experience to ensure that the 4th Middlesex District has a senator with critical public and private sector life experience.
I am honored and delighted that my friend, Cindy Friedman, is prepared to accept the daunting responsibility of carrying on Senator Donnelly’s legacy for us. Please join with me, my family and friends in voting for Cindy on Tuesday, June 27, 2017.

This letter was published Monday, May 15, 2017.

Curro, Thielman, Susse endorse

The following letter was signed by Joseph A. Curro Jr., chair, Arlington Board of Selectmen; Jeff Thielman, chair, Arlington School Committee; and Jennifer Susse, immediate past chair, Arlington School Committee. 

We write to express our strong support for Cindy Friedman, who has thrown her hat into the ring to continue Ken Donnelly's legacy. We have known and worked with Cindy on issues of importance to Arlington for many years. She is smart, knowledgeable, and highly competent. She is also generous with her time and wisdom, warm, and genuine.

Cindy built and guided the staff that helped to make Ken Donnelly such an effective Senator. She knows Arlington, the Massachusetts Senate, and Ken's district intimately and would be an effective voice for us all.

It is no accident that Senator Donnelly’s wife and children have enthusiastically endorsed Cindy as the person best positioned to carry on Ken’s legacy. It is also no accident that most of our selectmen, School Committee members, and many others who serve our town are standing with Cindy. And it is no accident that numerous other senators and representatives who have seen Cindy in action have expressed a desire for her to serve as a colleague. Those who know Cindy best know that she is the best candidate to represent Arlington and the Fourth Middlesex District in the Senate.

Cindy has been particularly active in two areas particularly near and dear to our hearts: civil and human rights and public education. Cindy led an effort a decade ago to build a broad-based coalition promoting diversity and inclusion, which included police and other public officials, faith leaders, and residents. Cindy, a former school teacher and mother of three Arlington Public Schools graduates, was a founder of the Arlington Schools Foundation (now the Arlington Education Foundation).

Cindy served for many years in Town Meeting and was a member of the advisory committee that made many difficult decisions concerning the Symmes Hospital redevelopment project. She has deliberative experience and political savvy and connections that will serve us well.

When Cindy speaks, she speaks directly to the economic challenges faced by many families in our region. She speaks to the need to shore up our safety nets and supports for those battling physical and mental illness. She speaks of the dignity of work.

In short, when Cindy speaks and when Cindy acts, she does so with the benefit of a lifetime of experience and a deep understanding of the issues that matter to ordinary people.

We are pleased to support Cindy Friedman for Senate, and we urge you to join us.

This letter was published Thursday, May 11, 2017.

Former Selectman LaCourt supports 

The following letter is from Annie LaCourt, Town Meeting member in Precinct 15:

I will enthusiastically cast my vote for Cindy Friedman for state Senate on June 27. I have known Cindy for more than 15 years and worked with her on many different efforts to benefit the town of Arlington. Cindy and I sat together at Town Meeting for many years, we worked together to pass the debt-exclusion overrides that rebuilt our seven elementary schools and, as a selectman, I worked with Cindy and the late Senator Donnelly on the many issues that Arlington faced during my tenure.

Cindy has deep roots in the Arlington community, and we are still benefiting from the fruits of her early work on behalf of Arlington’s schools. Cindy was one of the founders of what is now the Arlington Education Foundation, and she was a principal architect of AEF’s focus on funding innovation in our public schools. All that the foundation has accomplished since flows from the vision and leadership of Cindy and AEF’s other founding board members. She saw a future others could not imagine.

As a selectman, I worked with Cindy and Senator Donnelly on the issue of Arlington’s out-of-control health-care costs. “Worked with” is probably an exaggeration. I brought my woes and worries to Cindy, and she helped me understand the art of the possible in the state Legislature. Cindy and Senator Donnelly together made Arlington’s case on Beacon Hill and kept those of us staring at the town’s budget in the loop as solutions were developed.

So it’s more accurate to say that I fretted and Cindy worked. Arlington was able to reduce its health-care budget by $3 million in FY 2012 without reducing benefits, because we were allowed to add our employees to the state health insurance plan. The change in policy that allowed this was unlikely to have come about without the hard work of Senator Donnelly and Cindy as his chief of staff.

Cindy has a deep love for and understanding of the communities of the 4th Middlesex district. As others have said, she has the respect of many senators and their staff on Beacon Hill. She would step into office with a network of relationships that would allow her to be effective for the district from day one. But it’s important that people understand the depth of integrity and strength of character that have earned her that good will. Cindy is smart, hard-working and knowledgeable. She is tough but she understands the art of compromise. She has a passionate commitment to the welfare of the people of the district. Most important, Cindy is able to connect policy to the problems of real people and find pragmatic solutions. Good legislating takes a hard head and soft heart, and Cindy has both.

I urge the voters of Arlington to join me in supporting Cindy Friedman for Senate. Her experience, integrity, commitment and skill will be a huge benefit to Arlington and all the communities of the 4th Middlesex.

This letter was published Monday, May 8, 2017.

School Committee member Starks backs

The following letter is from Cindy Starks, Arlington School Committee member. Letters supporting all candidates in the state Senate race are welcome:

I am writing to urge Arlington voters to cast their vote for state Senate for Cindy Friedman.

The most important reason that I am voting for Cindy is that her past experience as a school teacher means that she cares about and understands education. I am both a School Committee member and middle-school teacher, and education is my primary focus. I know that she has firsthand knowledge of the challenges and needs that our education system is facing and that she will work with us to make the improvements and adjustments that are necessary to go from good to great.

 The second reason I am voting for Cindy is that in the nine years that she worked as Senator Donnelly's chief of staff she gained the experience and contacts necessary to hit the ground running. There will be no time lost in getting up to speed on the issues or how to get the job done. Instead, she can start in on day one continuing to champion the important work that she and Senator Donnelly had started.

The third reason I am voting for Cindy are the many years she and I worked together on a variety of local campaigns. Not only did she teach me a lot, but her enthusiasm and involvement inspired me to run for School Committee eight years ago. She taught me that it takes everyone working together to make government work, and I know she personifies that ideal in her work at the State House.

Last, but not least, I am excited that we have the choice to elect a competent and caring woman to our state Senate. I believe that we need more women elected to positions at every level of our government, and I cannot think of a better candidate for state Senate than Cindy Friedman.

Please join me and cast your primary vote on June 27 for Cindy Friedman for state Senate.

This letter was published Thursday, May 4, 2017.

Selectman Byrne tells why he supports 

The following letter is from Steven Byrne, Arlington Board of Selectmen vice chairman.  

I look forward to casting my vote for Cindy Friedman to be our next state senator on June 27. Like many of us, I was devastated when Senator Donnelly passed away. He was great mentor and someone I looked up to. Cindy is the best choice to extend his legacy and continue his work for the residents of the 4th Middlesex District.

For several years, I worked in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and had the opportunity to work with Cindy on many occasions. I witnessed firsthand the respect she has gained from other Senators and senior legislative staff. This, combined with her passion for progressive causes and in depth knowledge of the legislative process, will allow her to be an incredibly effective legislator.

As Senator Donnelly’s chief of staff, Cindy was able to develop a deep understanding of the 4th Middlesex District. She knows its constituents and its issues.

As a member of the Board of Selectmen, I was extremely impressed by her commitment to the Mass Ave. project. In conversations with MassDOT employees, I was told on several occasions how strong of a proponent she was for the project and how helpful she was in facilitating its completion. She has achieved real results for our community.

I hope that you will join me in voting for Cindy. Her experience in the Legislature and commitment to the district will benefit us all.

This letter was published May 1, 2017.

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