From Sentinel & Enterprise
By Peter Jasinski
LEOMINSTER -- At-large City Councilor Sue Chalifoux Zephir is the fifth candidate to announce candidacy for the seat state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan who resigned today to become a member of the state Cannabis Control Commission.
"Cities and towns across our region each have their own unique strengths and challenges. I look forward to meeting as many people as I can, listening to their concerns, and earning their support," Chalifioux Zephir said in a statement she released Thursday.
An eight-year veteran of the City Council, Chalifoux Zephir has served as an At-large Councilor since 2015, served in the same capacity from 2009-13, and also represented Ward 4 from 2007-09. She also ran an unsuccessful campaign to unseat Mayor Dean Mazzarella in 2013, gaining 42 percent of the vote, and attempted a run for the state House of Representatives as a Democratic candidate in 2008.
She will run for the seat as a Democrat.
Chalifoux Zephir cited her experience in attracting quality jobs to area communities and investment in local schools and transportation infrastructure as qualifying her for Flanagan's senate seat.
She also referred to addiction treatment and prevention as being concerns of hers in her Thursday statement.
"As a mother of three girls, I know the important work begun by Sen. Flanagan must continue to ensure that people who need addiction treatment receive it," she said.
"Opioid addiction in Massachusetts is a crisis that threatens an entire generation."In addition to her work as an elected official, Chalifoux Zephir is also the executive director of Ginny's Helping Hand food pantry, a trustee of Leominster Public Library and a board member of the Leominster Education Foundation.
She holds a bachelor's degree from Assumption College and earned an MBA from Simmons College. Chalifoux Zephir previously worked in public television as a production and business manager prior to becoming an elected official.
Her announcement came just two days after fellow At-large Councilor Claire Freda said that she would also be running for Flanagan's seat. The two join Fitchburg City Council President Michael Kushmerek and Fitchburg State University and HealthAlliance Hospital Trustee Mike Mahan, both Democrats, who announced their candidacies last week.
Fitchburg Republican Lou Marino announced his intention to tun for the seat last year.
A primary election was set by Secretary of State William Galvin for Nov. 7, the day of municipal elections in Fitchburg and Leominster. The special election will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 5.