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Columnist Lindsay Sabadosa: Bring voice of people into government

  • Lindsay Sabadosa is a Democratic candidate for state representative in the 1st Hampshire District. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO



Wednesday, August 08, 2018

In February, our beloved state representative passed away and I spent a few weeks watching as various candidates jumped in the race.

I had long thought of running for office but first had to answer the question: What do I have to offer that the other candidates do not? Why me over someone else?

I have been involved in politics since I organized my first protest march at the age of 9, and I started working on political campaigns shortly thereafter. I have three decades of experience in organizing, advocacy and politics because my passions are government, policy and effecting change to dismantle the two root causes of all of our societal ills: economic inequality and discrimination.

On the day after the national nightmare that was Donald Trump’s election, I took my despair and turned it into positive action by organizing the Pioneer Valley chapter of the Women’s March on Washington, the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. I came home to continue that work, only to find people saying: “But Massachusetts is so blue and progressive. What can we possibly do here?” My answer is: We can do a lot.

I have years of experience building statewide coalitions, learning to navigate the Statehouse and creating alliances with the progressive legislators who share similar values but, most importantly, share the same belief that we need greater transparency in government and we need to return to the idea of people — ordinary people — being involved in the process. I am proud of the work I have done with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, and the ACLU of Massachusetts, to name a few, to pass legislation and bring people into advocacy work.

I am equally proud of my tenure on the board of Emerge Massachusetts, an organization that trains women to run for office, and the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts, ensuring that patients are able to access care.

You don’t need to spend very long at the Statehouse to realize it is a place where a very few hold a lot of power and make the bulk of the decisions — and this is especially true in the House, the more conservative body, despite it being primarily Democratic. Too often, legislation with widespread public support — Medicare for All, the Safe Communities Act — withers in committee. It’s time to change that.

I am that agent of change. I have relationships in the Statehouse, both in the House and the Senate, where we can build alliances and bring the voice of the people back into government. I am the leader who will make sure that our district never gets ignored and, most importantly, I am someone who understands that to be effective, we must work in coalition. I have spent years building those relationships, and I am well known across the state as someone who fights for the legislation that would best serve the commonwealth.

Not all Democrats are the same, and this year, we are fighting for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party: Do we want more of the same or are we willing to be bold and move a progressive agenda forward?

We live in a time where it is NOT enough for a legislator to vote the right way if and when a bill comes to the floor. We need legislators who are willing to fight for and champion legislation. We need legislators who are willing to do what is hard because it is right, and we need legislators who can say that if leadership is not willing to allow change, it is time to change leadership.

The people of the 1st Hampshire District have a crucial decision to make on Tuesday, Sept. 4. Our country — and our district — are at a crossroads. Our current political climate encourages and celebrates intolerance, but here in Massachusetts, we have the opportunity to be leaders for the rest of the country. Massachusetts has led in the past, and we can lead again, but only if we elect representatives who share our values and have a compelling vision for the future.

I am excited to do this work — to make real change in this state — and I am excited to do that with the people of the 1st Hampshire District. I hope to earn your vote on Sept. 4.

Lindsay Sabadosa is a Democratic candidate for state representative in the 1st Hampshire District.