Sunday, April 23, 2006

Looks like we'll have a race for state rep

According to the Sentinel and Enterprise, Claire Freda, my city councilor, has decided to run for state rep against incumbent freshman rep Jennifer Flanagan:

LEOMINSTER -- The race for the Fourth Worcester District state representative seat is on.

Ward 3 City Councilor Claire Freda has officially pulled papers to run for the office currently held by state Rep. Jennifer Flanagan, D-Leominster, according to Brian McNiff, a spokesman in the office of Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin.

"I've been thinking about it for a while," Freda said in an interview Friday. "There are a lot of issues facing Leominster right now. I don't think the state has been very responsive to us."

Freda pulled papers April 11 in a meeting at the Secretary of State's Boston office, she said.

"I am looking forward to a campaign," she said. "I have heard from a number of people that they will be supportive of my candidacy ... I guess peoples' approaching me made up my mind. I have had a lot of people calling me and telling me that they hope I run."

It's pretty clear to me that Freda is going to try to paint Rep. Flanagan as inexperienced (She's in her early 30s) and an "insider," since she was essentially a legislative aide with late rep Mary Jane Simmons for her entire adult career before being elected to the seat two years ago. More from Freda:

"That's probably one of my biggest issues," she said. "I've been involved in 18 different budgets in the city. Every year the state gives us less money, and we have needed to raise taxes to give people the quality of life they expect in the city."

She added that she and Flanagan, whose current office is her first elected position, differ on some issues.

"I think, as someone who has never served as an elected official, her priorities are not our priorities," Freda said. "They're not mine, anyway."


Freda is not enrolled with any political party, McNiff said.

The City Councilor switched her status from Democrat to unenrolled Feb. 28, according to City Hall records.

"I'm still a Democrat at heart," Freda told the Sentinel & Enterprise in March. "Some of the philosophies of the Democratic party seem to lean a little bit further (to the left) than where I am. It's just not the Democratic party that I grew up with."
So essentially, Freda is running as an independent because she doesn't think she can win a primary against Flanagan (where activists are more likely to vote), but she does think that she can win in a general election where, if she doesn't have a more conservative candidate on the ballot with them, she can appeal to the right.

I voted for Flanagan in the last election, and expect to again. We don't need to move backwards to "the Democratic party [Freda] grew up with."

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