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April 12, 2014

Finocchiaro and Toohey eye Massachusetts state senate bids

A political neophyte is challenging freshman state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives for the Democratic nomination this fall.

Jessica Finocchiaro, 27, of Methuen, drew nomination papers and is gathering signatures for the primary ballot on Sept. 9. She won her first election as a write-in candidate for an uncontested seat on the Greater Lawrence Technical School Board in November.

At the same time, Haverhill Republican Shaun Toohey, who is president of the School Committee, decided to take a second shot for the seat. He lost the general election to O’Connor Ives in a four-way race in 2012.

“Working families deserve strong leaders who will stand up and fight for the issues that matter most,” Finocchiaro said in a statement. “I’m running to bring that level of leadership and dedication to the State House – to continue my lifelong commitment to our communities.”

She is vice chairman of the Greater Lawrence Tech board, and is a coordinator for the Department of Public Health, she said.

Toohey said he is focused on gathering signatures to appear on the ballot. “I certainly want to finish what I started,” he said. “I look forward to campaigning and serving my community and the district. I have a lot to offer still. I worked hard last time and will work just as hard this time.”

He said the dominance of one party in the state Legislature has to end. “Certainly we need to end one-party rule,” he said. “There needs to be debate and challenge. Four (Republicans) out of 40 Senators isn’t good government. To be fiscally prudent you need debate and challenge.”

O’Connor Ives, who served as a Newburyport City Councilor before running for the Senate, said she brought “a balanced approach” to her term.

“I’m proud of my record and look forward to asking voters for their support again so I can continue this momentum,” she said. “I’ve advocated for and secured increases through the budget in local aid, public safety, for seniors, veterans and health and human services.”

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