City, News, Politics

Special election announced for Mass. Rep. Walz

The June 25 special election this year won’t just see the election of a new U.S. senator, but will also determine who will fill the Eighth Suffolk district seat currently held by Mass. Rep. Martha Walz.

The official dates were announced Thursday for the special election. A primary is scheduled for May 28, and the special election for the seat will be June 25, the same day as the special election to fill Secretary of State John Kerry’s former seat in the Senate, said Brian McNiff, spokesman for Mass. Secretary of State William Galvin. Walz was hired Jan. 30 as president and chief executive officer of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. She plans to step down from her seat mid-February.

McNiff said no candidates have submitted their nomination papers yet.

“It’s still too early for that [to submit papers],” he said. “Candidates have until April 16 to submit their papers to their respective registrars, and then they have until April 23 to bring their nomination papers to the Secretary.”

Candidates need at least 150 signatures to participate in the primary and three Democrats have already started collecting the necessary signatures, McNiff said.

Jay Livingstone, a criminal defense attorney, said he was running to fill the seat.

“I have known Marty Walz for a number of years and when the announcement came up, I thought it was a great role to fill and continue the progressive leadership that she showed,” he said. “I view the state representative position as a great platform for what I am already doing.”

Livingstone said he would focus on schools in the district and zoning effects on the community if he were to win the election.

“I want to try to minimize any diverse effects on the community that large development can bring. There can be change, but it doesn’t all have to be bad,” he said. “Marty has been doing that and I will do the same.”

If the voters elect him to be the state representative, Livingstone said he would be happy representing the eighth district for the remainder of his life.

Nils Tracy, a research analyst at the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, said he also took papers out to collect signatures to be in the Democratic primary.

“Public office is very important and I’ve wanted a legislative role for a while now,” he said. “As a candidate, I can offer a voice to the younger population and independent-minded population. I’m a voice of the community. I’m new to it and I’m not an insider like other politicians.”

Nils said he wanted to focus on bringing better access to food in his community and promoting small businesses to open in the city.

“I am very confident in my candidacy, and right now I am just looking at the state representative position,” he said. “I really just want to represent them to the fullest and hold this seat for a while.”

Joshua Dawson, Ward Five Democratic committee chair, took out nomination papers as well, McNiff said.

Dawson was not available to comment. McNiff said special elections are not a rare occurrence due to the natural flow of legislators.

“There are special elections almost cyclically, about every two years, when somebody leaves office,” he said. “However, this is our second

U.S. Senate special election in 3 years and that is unusual. But for positions like this [Walz’s seat], these happen more often than you would think.”

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