State Sen. Harriette Chandler will not seek reelection

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Harriette Chandler speaks during a press conference at Worcester City Hall. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

NORTHBOROUGH – State Sen. Harriette Chandler announced on Wednesday that she will not run for re-election when her current term ends next year.

With this announcement, Chandler, whose district includes part of Northborough, will cap a career in the state legislature that has spanned over two decades.

Speaking at Worcester City Hall, Chandler called her time spent representing her district “the greatest job I’ve ever had.”

She said she would not be “actively supporting” any campaigns to replace her in the senate.

She added that she remains dedicated to continued service and advocacy for her district through the remainder of her term.

Career in politics began with service on Worcester School Committee

Chandler served on the Worcester School Committee in the early 1990s before then spending three terms in the state House of Representatives between 1995 and 2001.

She won her state senate seat in 2000, beating Joseph Early Jr., who is now the Worcester County District Attorney.

Chandler has remained in office since then, acting as the senate’s interim president between 2017 and 2018.

Chandler worked with Northborough officials

Chandler’s district has long included part of Northborough. It will expand for this year’s election, though, to encompass the whole town as a result the state’s legislative redistricting process following the 2020 census. Previously, three precincts were represented by Sen. Jamie Eldridge.

Chandler has appeared before numerous municipal boards and committees over the years, working with town officials on various matters.

In 2018, she specifically filed legislation to shift oversight of all Department of Agricultural Resources-registered compost operations to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Northborough leaders welcomed this effort, noting that it would address ongoing issues in town, including nearly a decade of legal battles involving S.A. Farm and its owner, Santo Anza.

Anza was convicted in 2013 on charges stemming from his operation of an illegal dump on his property.

He denied operating a composting facility, according to the Worcester Telegram, saying instead that organic materials delivered to his property were being used for farming purposes.

He was then held in contempt of court in 2020, however, after a new complaint from the town alleged that Anza was again operating an illegal composting facility.

Town Administrator John Coderre testified in front of state legislators late last year, asking for a legislative solution to these kinds of issues.

Legislation had passed in 2019, but it was vetoed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

Chandler has separately attended meetings with town officials and other legislators representing Northborough over the years, discussing everything from special education funding to tax rates.

Colleagues react to Chandler’s announcement

Chandler announced her press conference on Tuesday night, saying she would speak the following morning to discuss “the future of her career in public service.”

Reaction was then swift throughout the state as she completed her remarks on Wednesday.

“We’re losing a tremendous advocate for our district and an incredible state lawmaker,” Rep. David LeBoeuf tweeted.

LeBoeuf, whose House of Representatives district overlaps with Chandler’s, reiterated Chandler’s own vow to continue fighting for her constituents through the end of her term.

“We shouldn’t expect her to let up — she never has,” he said.

US Rep. Jim McGovern shared his thoughts, calling Chandler “one of the most tenacious, hardworking, effective public servants I know” in a thread of tweets.

State Sen. Michael Moore is Worcester’s other senator on Beacon Hill. His district also includes Shrewsbury and Grafton, among other communities.

He attended Chandler’s press conference on Wednesday and took to social media following her announcement.

“It has been an honor and privilege to have worked so closely with her over the years,” Moore said of Chandler. “She has left an indelible mark on the Senate and her presence in the chamber will be sorely missed.”

Chandler’s announcement sets up busy election season

Chandler’s departure now adds to what may be a busy election season for the region.

The same redistricting process that changed the bounds of Chandler’s district has created an entirely new district in the House of Representatives.

That will include parts of Northborough, Westborough and Framingham as well as all of Southborough.

Westborough’s Kate Donaghue has already announced her candidacy for that seat.

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