TEWKSBURY — Now that frontrunner Ellen Murphy Meehan is no longer in the running for the Congressional seat to be freed by Niki Tsongas, things might just be looking up for Senator Barbara L’Italien. Meehan reportedly decided not to run for the seat earlier this month, despite being a considerable democratic candidate with Tsongas’ support.
One week after Meehan’s decision, L’Italien came out with a statement announcing an exploratory committee as her next step.
“Our country is facing some of the biggest challenges we’ve ever seen…the working families of this district deserve someone in Washington who’s shown fearless, proven leadership,” the statement reads.
The Senator explained that this is the reason that she’s taking this important step that no one else in the race had.
The statement goes on to remind its readers of L’Italien’s hard work and leadership on the big issues: health care, public education, marriage equality, and senior and disability services. It also mentions her work to block the Kinder Morgan Pipeline from running gas underground through the whole state.
L’Italien has been in the Senate since 2015 representing Andover, Lawrence, Tewksbury, and Dracut. Before that, she served in the House of Representatives from 2003 until 2011. She’s been a chair of the Ways and Means committee, Elder Affairs and Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, and Municipalities and Regional Government. She’s been serving the people of Massachusetts since she was a social work case manager at Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley.
Despite releasing this statement and the committee to explore her option for running, this certainly does not mean that L’Italien is the only one in the running for the seat. Other Democrats interested include Lori Loureiro Trahan of Westford, who was Meehan’s ex-husband’s chief of staff; and state Senator Eileen Donoughue of Lowell, who the Boston Globe says may be hesitant after losing to Tsongas in a primary in 2007. Democrats Daniel Koh, Steve Kerrigan, Barry Finehold, and Mayor James J. Fiorenti are also considering.
Meehan’s dropping out also opens doors for a Republican candidate to run, and some of those getting involved so far are Rick Green of Pepperell and Kevin Wardrobe of Andover.
L’Italien will certainly not be letting her exploration get in the way of her work, however, as she has just announced a bill with Attorney General Maura Healey to strengthen the protection for consumers’ credit information, according to the latest statement from her office.