Region reflects on career of Sen. Harriette Chandler

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State Sen. Harriettee Chandler speaks during the Corridor 9/495 Regional Chamber of Commerce’s legislative breakfast last week. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

NORTHBOROUGH – Across the region, community members have recently been pausing to recognize the long service of Sen. Harriette Chandler, who announced in January that she will not run for re-election.

Chandler has represented the First Worcester district, which includes parts of Northborough, since 2001.

“I’m really going to miss working with you,” Northborough Town Administrator John Coderre said in a March 28 Board of Selectmen meeting with Chandler in attendance. “I wish you all the best in your well-deserved retirement.”

Northborough officials recognized Chandler’s work with the town during that meeting, with Schools Superintendent Greg Martineau saying she made an “impactful difference” to Northborough.

“You’ve been here for the 20 years that I’ve been here, working together,” Coderre continued. “I’ve spent quite a bit of time in your office in Boston.”

He recalled talking with Chandler on nights and on weekends, calling her staff “phenomenal” in following up.

Coderre recalled one memory from while Chandler was acting Senate president, a seat she held between 2017 and 2018.

Northborough has been working with Chandler for several years on legislation that would regulate agricultural composting programs. Coderre was once in Chandler’s office as she made phone calls.

“I loved watching everybody jump and scamper and run because you made the phone call,” Coderre recalled.

He continued, “But everything that you did for us — not just that day, but all the way through — it’s just always been in the best interest of Northborough and the best interest of public policy in general.”

Chandler retires after decades of service

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

Chandler announced her plans not to seek re-election at an event in Worcester City Hall in January, calling her years representing her district “the greatest job I’ve ever had.”

She previously served on the Worcester School Committee in the early 1990s before being elected to the state House of Representatives, where she served from 1995 to 2001.

Chandler beat Joseph Early Jr. to win a Senate seat in 2000. She’s won every election since then.

Chandler recognized by Corridor 9/495

Addressing her retirement, Chandler was also recognized during last week’s Corridor 9/495 legislative breakfast held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Westborough last week.

Chandler has been attending the legislative breakfast for years.

“I must tell you, I come every year, scared to death what you’re going to ask me,” she joked in her comments to assembled guests.

She said she will miss coming to the breakfasts.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for communities that are adjacent to each other and who share regional concerns to come together and understand the importance of cooperating with each other because basically you’re one community,” Chandler said.

She attended the breakfast along with Sen. Jamie Eldridge, Sen. Michael Moore, Rep. Hannah Kane, Rep. Meghan Kilcoyne and Rep. David Muradian.

Central Massachusetts legislators have always had a good working relationship, Chandler said.

“All of us work together — that’s what the Legislature is all about, whether we’re in the House or whether we’re in the Senate,” Chandler said. “We work together. Whether we’re Republicans or whether we’re Democrats, we need the votes.”

Retirement coincides with other change in legislature

Chandler’s retirement now leaves an open race for her seat.

Chandler’s district itself will also change this year to now represent all of Northborough’s precincts following redistricting due to the results of the 2020 census. Part of Northborough had previously been within the district of Eldridge.

Outside of the senate, three of Northborough’s precincts will be represented in the House of Representatives by the newly-created 19th Worcester District, while the fourth precinct will still be represented by Kilcoyne.

Several of Northborough selectmen noted this turnover in their March 28 meeting, which served as a legislative summit gathering all of Northborough’s state lawmakers.

“It’s unfortunate timing that we’re going to then lose most of you in terms of continued partnerships,” said Selectman Scott Rogers. “We certainly appreciate the partnerships over the years and look forward to some new personnel rotating in.”

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