WOBURN – City Council President Richard Haggerty became the second high-ranking elected official to declare his candidacy for the State House seat being vacated by State Rep. James Dwyer (D-Woburn).
Hoping to mirror Dwyer’s political trajectory in 2009 from a sitting alderman to new state legislator, Haggerty, 38, the longest serving City Council president in Woburn’s history, announced his entry into the race through a Facebook post, a copy of which was provided to The Daily Times Chronicle on Monday morning.
“There has never been a greater time for bold leadership, proven experience, and the ability to deliver results,” he wrote. “There is no one who is more passionate about our success than me, and I can’t wait to get started. I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail, meeting new friends, and earning your vote.”
“We rely on local aid for everything from fixing our roadways to funding our schools. We need to find a way to increase our funding. Local control is so important. We’ve got to challenge unfunded mandates and find a way to bring more back to communities,” later commented Haggerty, when asked during an interview this morning about his top priorities.
Haggerty, who is the general manager for DTC sister publication Middlesex East, will compete against at least two other Democratic Party candidates in a state primary election that will tentatively be held next September.
Late last week, Woburn School Committee Chairman Joseph Demers, who works as Dwyer’s legislative aide, announced he too is running for the seat being vacated by his boss. In November, Washington D.C. area native Darryn Remillard, also a Woburn resident, circulated notice of his candidacy for the legislature.
Dwyer, whose constituency includes voters in Woburn (Wards 2-6) and Reading (Precincts 2-5), officially revealed on Jan. 16 that he will not be seeking re-election.
Same role, different venue
The only Woburn alderman to serve as City Council president for three consecutive terms, Haggerty has consistently advanced legislative proposals aimed at instituting financial reforms and encouraging economic development in the community.
He contends that track record, combined with the council leadership credentials that have placed him in regular contact with Woburn’s Beacon Hill delegation over the past four-plus years, distances his candidacy from his rivals.
“I’ve been the guy making big decisions around the table with local leaders and state legislators for the past eight years. So this isn’t new to me. It’s just a new venue,” said Haggerty. “I’m going to be a full-time state representative. This is going to be my job, because that’s what this position demands.”
“Experience matters,” added the Leonard Street resident, who described Dwyer as a close friend and confidant. “We’ve had someone for the past eight years who has been a collaborative leader and effective legislator. We need to find people who can go to Beacon Hill and deliver results for the district, and I know this district better than anybody.”
A Woburn native, Haggerty is a WMHS alumnus who went on to the University of New Hampshire to receive his bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in foreign policy in 2002.
With deep roots in his hometown, the fifth-term alderman at-large, a confessed public policy wonk, became intimately familiar with Reading’s citizenry while managing Middlesex East Publications from its longtime headquarters 531 Main Street, Reading.
As a politician who began his career at a family-owned enterprise, the Woburn Historical Society member is a strong proponent of alleviating financial and regulatory strains on small-businesses, which the Beacon Hill hopeful argues is in dire need of expanded health care market access or other “cost-containment” legislation.
After working in the private sector for close to a decade, Haggerty decided to pursue his lifelong interest in local politics by running for the City Council in 2009 – the same year Dwyer moved from Woburn City Hall to the State House.
Capturing the open alderman at-large seat in his first attempt at gaining public office, the fifth-generation Woburnite was elected by his colleagues as council president in Jan. of 2014.
Earlier this year, he was unanimously and without challenge re-appointed to the leadership role for the third time. Haggerty proudly attributes that feat – a first in Woburn – to his ability to build a consensus, a skill he much admired in Dwyer during his tenure on Beacon Hill.
“Partisan politics is having a nightmare impact in our country in a lot of ways. We need to find a way to come together to stave off some of our biggest challenges. For a long time, we came together in this country to solve problems, and we need to find a way to do that again,” he said.
Cites familiarity with Reading
The candidates points out he is very familiar with Reading as the General Manager of Middlesex East, the 10-town regional section which was operated out of the Daily Times Chronicle office in Reading and is included in the newspapers each Wednesday. In addition he is well acquainted with the Reading leaders and many Reading residents through business and personal relationships built up over the years through working in Reading.
Haggerty says he will bring a common sense approach to the post and asserts that he is well versed in the operation of government and the interaction between local and State government through his experience on the Woburn City Council.
He understands the challenges facing Reading on fiscal issues which makes it all that more important to advocate for local aid for Reading at the State House. In addition the Chapter 40B housing issues facing Reading require the need to protect Reading’s neighborhoods and he would press for changes in the 40B law.
He looks forward to working together with local officials on economic development issues and said the Walkers Brook Drive area was a good fit for commercial development.
Protecting the MBTA funding and commuter rail service to Reading is also an important issue Haggerty said, the commuter rail is an vital part of downtown Reading and is a vital service for passengers and a great option for local commuters working in Boston.
(Reading Editor Al Sylvia also contributed to this report.)
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