From Leominster Champion
By David Dore
Leominster At-Large City Councilor Susan Chalifoux Zephir announced Thursday, Aug. 31 that she is running as a Democrat for the Worcester and Middlesex state Senate seat recently vacated by Jennifer Flanagan, who has joined the state Cannabis Control Commission.
“Cities and towns across our region each have their own unique strengths and challenges,” Chalifoux Zephir said in a statement. “I look forward to meeting as many people as I can, listening to their concerns, and earning their support. As an eight-year elected official in Leominster, I have consistently focused on attracting quality jobs to our communities and investing in our schools. Good schools and reliable transportation infrastructure are key to successful, sustainable economic growth and good jobs.”
Chalifoux Zephir cited addiction treatment and prevention as critical to the long-term health and vibrancy of the communities in the district, which consists of Berlin, Bolton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenberg, Sterling, Townsend, Westminster, and Precincts 1 and 2 in Clinton.
“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.”
Chalifoux Zephir ran for state representative in 2008 and mayor in Leominster in 2013. She rejoined the City Council in 2016 after a two-year absence.
She serves as executive director of Ginny’s Helping Hand, Inc., a community-based food pantry in Leominster, as well as a trustee for the Leominster Public Library and a board member of the Leominster Education Foundation. She previously served on the Board of Directors for Our Father’s House in Fitchburg, which provides emergency and transitional housing to those in need.
Chalifoux Zephir got her bachelor’s degree from Assumption College in Worcester and her MBA from Simmons College in Boston. She worked for many years at the WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston as a production and business manager.
Married to local business owner Ed Zephir, she is the mother of three grown girls and has a 5-week-old granddaughter, Winnie.
Chalifoux Zephir is the third Democrat to announce a run for the state Senate in recent weeks, joining Fitchburg City Council President Michael Kushmerek and former Leominster Planning Board member Mike Mahan. On the Republican side, Lou Marino of Fitchburg is the only candidate to announce as of Tuesday, Sept. 5.
Another at-large Leominster city councilor, Claire Freda, said last week she is running as an unenrolled candidate, according to reports. Freda did not return a text message sent Friday, Sept. 1 by the Leominster Champion about her campaign before press time.
Flanagan, a Leominster resident, resigned from the Senate Thursday, Aug. 31, eight days after Gov. Charlie Baker appointed her to the five-member board that will regulate the recreational and medical marijuana industries in Massachusetts.
The deadline to submit nomination papers to local registrars of voters for the Nov. 7 primary is Tuesday, Sept. 26, with the last day to fire certified nomination papers with Galvin’s office being Tuesday, Oct. 3. The special election to fill the seat will be held Tuesday, Dec. 5.