For state representative
January 30, 2008
Special elections for the state House of Representatives seldom generate the turnout that races for open seats in the Legislature should warrant. But in the 23rd and 32nd Middlesex districts, Democratic voters go to the polls to choose among House candidates on Tuesday, the same day as a Massachusetts presidential primary that counts more than ever before.
In the 23rd Middlesex district, which includes most of Arlington and parts of Medford, the Globe endorses Jeff Thielman, a lawyer who is also an Arlington School Committee member.
Thielman has an intriguing background. After graduating from Boston College in 1985, he spent three years in Peru teaching high school and helping street children, and later worked to establish Catholic high schools in poor urban neighborhoods. His experience gives him insight into the plight of the poor and an ability to see educational issues from multiple vantage points.
He seeks to replace Jim Marzilli, now a state senator.
Thielman caused a stir last year amid a complicated flap involving a popular principal who was fired; Thielman leaked e-mails that, critics say, were improperly obtained. Regardless, he has shown the energy, community involvement, and life experience to be an effective advocate on Beacon Hill.
In the 32nd Middlesex district, which includes Melrose and parts of Wakefield, Democratic primary voters would be well served by Katherine Clark. Clark, too, is a lawyer. She seeks to replace former representative Michael Festa, who is now the state’s secretary of elder affairs. She vows to work for energy-efficiency measures, and she is open to Governor Patrick’s plan to use destination casinos to generate revenues for the state.
As a member of the Melrose School Committee, Clark has gained valuable perspective on educational issues and on, as she puts it, “wringing every nickel out of these budgets.” And from her day jobs – first as general counsel for the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services and more recently in Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office – she has become versed in the mechanics of how goverment works on the state level. She has the preparation to serve constituents well.