More women win­ning elec­tions for top Mas­sachusetts Of­fices

Woonsocket Call - - OBITUARIES/REGION -

BOS­TON (AP) — For all its lib­eral pre­ten­sions, Mas­sachusetts hasn’t al­ways been the most pro­gres­sive of states when it comes to elect­ing women to po­si­tions of po­lit­i­cal power.

That’s chang­ing.

On Tues­day, Mas­sachusetts vot­ers elected four women to the state’s 11-mem­ber con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion – the most ever. At the same time, vot­ers elected twice as many women as men to statewide of­fice on Bea­con Hill.

It wasn’t that long ago when women in high po­lit­i­cal of­fice were still a rel­a­tive rar­ity in Mas­sachusetts

Just a decade ago, in 2008, the only woman hold­ing statewide of­fice was then-At­tor­ney Gen­eral Martha Coak­ley, a Demo­crat. And the only woman on the state’s then 10-mem­ber con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion was Demo­cratic U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas.

The hard-fought shift didn’t go un­no­ticed Tues­day, when the elec­tion of women in Mas­sachusetts and other states be­came a fa­mil­iar theme.

The high­est-pro­file woman on the Mas­sachusetts bal­lot – Demo­cratic U.S. Sen. Eliz­a­beth War­ren – cred­ited women with lead­ing the fight against the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion dur­ing her vic­tory speech af­ter win­ning a sec­ond, six-year term.

“We’ve seen white women learn­ing from black women how to or­ga­nize and mo­bi­lize. Older women part­ner­ing with younger women to take to the streets. Mar­ried, sin­gle, straight, les­bian and transwomen, rich and poor women, build­ing al­liances with each other and, yes, build­ing al­liances with the men who also want to make real change in this coun­try,” said War­ren, who has promised to take “a hard look” at run­ning for pres­i­dent in 2020.

Bos­ton City Coun­cilor Ayanna Press­ley – who de­feated long­time in­cum­bent U.S. Rep. Michael Ca­puano in the Demo­cratic pri­mary – ran un­op­posed Tues­day to be­come the first black woman elected to the U.S. House from Mas­sachusetts. She will rep­re­sent the 7th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict.

Press­ley said black women face an added chal­lenge run­ning for of­fice.

“When it comes to women of color can­di­dates, folks don’t just talk about a glass ceil­ing. What they de­scribe is a con­crete one,” Press­ley said in her vic­tory speech. “But you know what breaks through con­crete? Seis­mic shifts.”

In the state’s 3rd Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, Lori Tra­han emerged the win­ner. Dur­ing her vic­tory speech Tra­han, who grew up in Low­ell, gave a shout-out to Tsongas, whose de­ci­sion not to seek re-elec­tion led to a mad scram­ble to re­place her.

Kather­ine Clark, who first won elec­tion to the U.S. House in 2012 to rep­re­sent the 5th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, also pointed to the gains made by women seek­ing of­fice in Mas­sachusetts, say­ing she was thrilled to wel­come Press­ley and Tra­han to the del­e­ga­tion.

“For the first time in our his­tory we will have a record num­ber of women rep­re­sent­ing the com­mon­wealth in Wash­ing­ton,” Clark said in a state­ment af­ter win­ning re-elec­tion.

At the State­house, vot­ers re-elected At­tor­ney Gen­eral Maura Healey, Trea­surer Deb Gold­berg and Au­di­tor Suzanne Bump – all Democrats – and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, a Repub­li­can. They also re-elected two men – Repub­li­can Gov. Char­lie Baker and Demo­cratic state Sec­re­tary Wil­liam Galvin.

The vic­to­ries for women can­di­dates weren’t lim­ited to statewide and con­gres­sional races.

In the Mas­sachusetts House, Demo­crat Tram Nguyen de­feated in­cum­bent Repub­li­can state Rep. Jim Lyons from a dis­trict that in­cludes An­dover, while fel­low first-time Demo­cratic can­di­date Becca Rausch from Need­ham Heights de­feated an­other Repub­li­can in­cum­bent – state Sen. Richard Ross.

And in Bos­ton, Rachael Rollins, a for­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor, won elec­tion to be­come the city’s first fe­male dis­trict at­tor­ney and the first woman of color to hold such a job any­where in Mas­sachusetts. Rollins ran on the prom­ise to help curb mass in­car­cer­a­tion and ra­cial dis­par­i­ties in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem while build­ing trust be­tween com­mu­ni­ties and law en­force­ment.

In an­other sign of the grow­ing po­lit­i­cal clout wielded by women on Bea­con Hill, 2018 marked the first time in state his­tory when an in­cum­bent fe­male Sen­ate pres­i­dent (Har­ri­ette Chan­dler) passed the gavel to an in­com­ing fe­male Sen­ate pres­i­dent (Karen Spilka).

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