Printed in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.
Following the resignation in August of Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, representing the Worcester Middlesex District, the campaign cycle is winding down and voters will finally choose her replacement Tuesday, Dec. 5. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Berlin, Bolton, precincts 1 and 2 in Clinton, Lancaster and Sterling. The district also includes Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster, Lunenburg, Townsend and Westminster.
With a primary held in November, the ballot is down to four choices: Democrat Susan Chalifoux Zephir, Republican Dean Tran, Green-Rainbow candidate Charlene DiCalogero and Unenrolled Claire Freda.
Susan Chalifoux Zephir
Chalifoux Zephir has been a former Ward 4 city councilor in Leominster, now serving as an at-large councilor. A former board member of the Leominster Education Foundation, she is executive director of Ginny’s Helping Hand, a nonprofit food pantry.
“I’m running for State Senate because we need to do more to address the big challenges facing the families of North Central Massachusetts. From investing in our roads and public schools, to tackling the high cost of prescription drugs and making quality health care more affordable, I’ve put forward practical, paid-for plans on the big issues we face,” she said. “I want to go to the State Senate to bring good 21st century jobs in clean energy and medical device manufacturing to our region, and to make sure that anyone seeking treatment for their addiction can get it.”
Chalifoux Zephir said she understands the needs of small towns.
“As the director of local food pantry Ginny’s Helping Hand, I’ve helped families from all of the towns in this district, and I understand the unique needs of our small towns, like the high cost of school transportation and the importance of protecting our open space,” she said. She has been endorsed by state representatives Harold Naughton and Kate Hogan, who represent Berlin, Bolton, Clinton and Lancaster in the district. “I have great working relationships with them, and in the State Senate I would have regularly scheduled meetings with them and with local officials to keep on top of each towns’ issues.”
Chalifoux Zephir outlined some of her issues going forward.
“As a city councilor, I’ve seen our kids suffer from the lack of state funding for our schools, and our roads and public transportation clearly need investment, too,” she said. “I enthusiastically support the Fair Share Amendment, which would tax the portion of a person’s annual income that is over $1 million and dedicate $2 billion each year to investments in education and transportation. That ironclad dedication would be in the text of our Constitution. As your State Senator, I would fight to pass the Fair Share Amendment, and work with local officials to make sure those funds reach our schools and our roads.”