The people on your ballot
As I’m sure you’re all too aware, it’s election season. The presidential election is everywhere you turn. We all know more than we ever wanted to know about the personal and professional lives of Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump (and the choice is abundantly clear).
But what about the rest of the candidates down your ballot? As someone who spends time at the State House, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know the people behind the names (and lawn signs and mailers) in many of the state legislative races in Massachusetts. Here are my personal experiences with some of the candidates running for State Representative and Senator in Massachusetts:
Representative Marjorie Decker (25th Middlesex) sponsored a bill in 2015-2016 which would ban toxic flame retardants in children’s products and household furniture. I got to work with her as she fought for this important health protection for children and firefighters (along with many other important causes) with passion and energy throughout the session. Truly a champion of the people!
Senator Jamie Eldridge (Middlesex & Worcester) is one of the biggest hearted people I know and there is no one I know who is more committed to setting the world to right. I have seen him over and over again stand up, speak out and take action in support of justice and a healthy world. His stands are not always popular with “the powers that be” but (or perhaps I should say because) they are always principled and always based in a solid core of integrity.
Paul Jacques (candidate for State Representative – 4th Bristol district) is the legislative agent for the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts and I’ve gotten to work closely with him on the campaign to ban toxic flame retardants in children’s products and household furniture. Firefighters are some of the most self-less people I know (they run into burning buildings to help complete strangers, after all) and Paul is no exception. His commitment to the “greater good” is remarkable.
I’ve known Senator Barbara L’Italien (2nd Essex & Middlesex) since her days as a Representative in the early 2000s. She was originally motivated to fight against toxic chemicals in consumer products because of her experiences of a mom and she has been a passionate supporter of environmental health efforts ever since. Don’t ever underestimate the power of a mother concerned about her children!
A fun story about Representative Denise Provost (27th Middlesex district) and Senator Pat Jehlen (2nd Middlesex): In 2007 this dynamic duo from Somerville hosted an event in which Clean Water Action used an X-ray device to test children’s toys and products from people’s homes for lead, cadmium and other toxic chemicals. The event was lively and extremely well attended (thanks to their great relationships with their constituents) and these two sitting legislators were as hands-on as could be in making it go well and bringing this important information to everyone who came. I recall saying after the event “I’ve never sent a legislator for copies before!” – but in the midst of a crowd of constituents eager for information, they were ready to do whatever was needed, and that’s how they legislate as well.
These are just a few of the candidates that Clean Water Action has endorsed for state legislature in Massachusetts – make sure to check out the full slate. And if one of these wonderful people appears on your ballot on November 8th – please vote for them! I promise you’ll be glad you did.