I received the following this evening from my friend Denise Provost:
I’m writing today to let you know that I will not be seeking re-election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in November 2020. I have given my utmost to representing the people of Somerville for many years now, and it has been an honor to do so. Thank you all so much for all the support you have given me. However, this week sees the start of what will be my 15th state budget cycle, and I feel that it’s time for me to step aside.
I first ran for public office in 1993 and 1995 for the position of Ward 5 Alderman, coming close to beating two different old-school incumbents. I was elected to an at large seat on the Somerville Board of Aldermen in 1999, and was then re-elected to three more terms on the Board. I learned a lot from my years in local government.
During my tenure on the Board, I concentrated on adopting appropriate redevelopment plans and zoning for the then almost-vacant Assembly Square. I was a leading voice for human rights and civil liberties in Somerville, fighting, for instance, against an ill-conceived and unconstitutional “anti-gang” ordinance. I advocated for providing more and better parks and playgrounds in Somerville, and led successful opposition to the plan to build a new school in the middle of Lincoln Park, securing its future as a city park.
In November, 2005, I took out nomination papers to run for State Representative for the 27th Middlesex District, which had become vacant when Pat Jehlen was elected State Senator. I campaigned against a strong opponent, who had the support of much of the State Democratic establishment. Yet thanks to the hard work of my supporters over that winter, we handily won the election, and I was sworn into the Massachusetts House in February, 2006.
My work in the legislature has included environmental protection in the broadest sense; I was one of the first voices in Massachusetts government to raise the alarm over climate change. I have promoted environmental justice, advocating for legislation to curtail the negative health effects of polluted earth, air, and water. Besides the right to health and a stable climate, I have championed other human rights and civil liberties, advocating for women, children, persons with disabilities, immigrants, the poor and homeless, and LGBTQ people.
I fought for marriage equality from my first days in the legislature, and was the lead sponsor of the successful 2016 legislation assuring full legal equality for transgender persons. I authored important provisions of the 2009 transportation reform bill, the “Healthy Transportation Compact.” I also filed legislation which stopped a proposal to transport highly-flammable ethanol, in tanker cars, on two of the commuter rail lines which run through Somerville.
I want to emphasize that I am not resigning my seat, and will continue to work zealously for my Somerville constituents until my successor is sworn in, in January, 2021. I will continue to respond promptly to all requests for help, and to discuss pending legislation and other policy matters. My office can be reached at 617-722-2263, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for all the support and encouragement you have given me over the last twenty seven years. I couldn’t have done my best as an elected official without you.
I wish Ms. Provost the best of luck, and have hopes that she may perhaps seek a different way to serve us. She may, of course, have decided that it’s time to step aside. Ms. Provost has made a major contribution to Somerville and Massachusetts.
All of us will miss her progressive leadership in the House.