HAVERHILL — State Rep. Andy Vargas is bowing out of the race for state Senate and instead will seek a fourth term as a state representative.
Vargas, D-Haverhill, had announced in August that he was running for the Senate seat currently held by Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, who is running for state auditor in the November 2022 elections. Several factors have since come into play, prompting a change of heart, he said.
“Over the past months, several changes have occurred in my life, primarily the blessing of a son on the way,” he said.
“This is what I most look forward to.”
Vargas is a three-term legislator and was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2017. He serves in the 3rd Essex District of the House — representing his home city of Haverhill.
He said another reason to bow out of the race is that he was running for state Senate in a district he said will no longer exist because a redistricting plan, which was approved last Thursday by the governor, will go into effect in January 2023.
Those elected to state and federal offices in the November 2022 elections will be representing the revised districts.
Redistricting takes place every 10 years based on census data that takes into account population growth as well as race and ethnicity.
“This year’s redistricting process split Haverhill into two Senate districts,” Vargas said. “I strongly disagreed with splitting our city. Moreover, it made my choice clear; I am running for re-election for the 3rd Essex district in the MA House to continue serving Haverhill.”
He said the revised 1st Essex Senate District will include Lawrence, Methuen, and a section of Haverhill that also includes a large minority and Hispanic population.
Vargas said he would like former State Rep. Juana Matias to run for the Senate seat and that if she decides to run, he would strongly support her candidacy.
“With all of Lawrence, all of Methuen and parts of Haverhill making up that district, Juana would be able to unite these communities,” Vargas said. “She grew up in Haverhill and represented Lawrence in the House. I think she would be a wonderful senator.”
Vargas said that under redistricting, Haverhill will go from four state representatives down to two and that it will greatly impact Bradford, which is currently represented by Lenny Mirra, Christina Minicucci and Linda Dean Campbell, whose district will become much larger in terms of population.
“Instead of four representatives for Haverhill we will have two,” Vargas said. “For future elections, voters in Bradford will have a greater impact as they are not diluted into multiple districts.”
Under the new maps, he said the 15th Essex District, currently represented by Campbell, would encompass most of Bradford and a large section of northwestern Haverhill, while the 3rd Essex District, which Vargas currently represents, would encompass the rest of Haverhill.
Vargas said that as he and his wife Rikelma plan for their growing family, they both agreed that they love what they do and that they love Haverhill.
Vargas lives in the downtown with his wife and their dog Merengue, who recently celebrated his first birthday.
“We enjoy serving in our current capacities and we are confident that we can continue this good work with baby Vargas at our side,” he said. “Also, we are looking to buy a house, and we are committed to raising our son here in Haverhill. It’s where we’ve built a village of support that we’re so grateful for.”
As he prepares to run for re-election to the House of Representatives, Vargas said he will build on the work that has already been accomplished in the areas of education, housing, economic development among others.
“Turning the page from this pandemic, we can write a new chapter that finally addresses the root causes of poverty and inequity and replaces them with opportunity and justice,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to serve and stepping into the most monumental role in my life – becoming a dad.”
In 2015, only months after graduating from Boston University, Vargas was elected to the Haverhill City Council as one of it’s youngest-ever members.
In the Legislature, Vargas serves as vice chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. Vargas stated in his campaign announcement that he has championed the issues of education, public health, housing, inclusive entrepreneurship, climate justice and public safety.
Vargas comes from a family of immigrants, his father and each of his grandparents having moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic.