Kennedy, Mair seek election to First Worcester district


Kennedy, Mair seek election to First Worcester district
Robyn Kennedy and Lisa Mair are running for state senate.

REGION – Democrat Robyn Kennedy and Independent Lisa Mair are vying for the First Worcester Senate seat.

The district is currently represented by longtime Senator Harriette Chandler, who announced that she wouldn’t be seeking re-election earlier this year. The district is made up of Berlin, Bolton, Northborough, Boylston and West Boylston and parts of Worcester.

The election will take place Nov. 8.

Democrat: Robyn Kennedy

Kennedy is a lifelong Worcester resident, but she said she’s spent time getting to know the five towns that make up the district over the summer.

Kennedy spent most of her career working in state government, including for former Sen. Ed Augustus and the PatrickMurray administration. For the last five years, she returned to Worcester and worked in the YWCA, which stayed open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve seen these challenges first-hand. I’ve seen how the pandemic has worsen them for so many,” Kennedy said. “I think my experience working at the state really helps give that lens of how to address some of these challenges and the look to the future of how we grow, not just solve the crisis in the moment.”

While campaigning, Kennedy said she has learned that although the specific issues of concern may be different community to community, the themes are the same.

For example, she noted the number of households made up of 20- and 30-year-olds living with the 50- and 60-year-old parents while canvassing in Northborough. In some instances, the children were caring for their parents or the grandparents were helping with grandchildren. However, Kennedy said that particularly the 20-year-olds shared that they wanted to live in the community, but could not afford to buy a home in the town they grew up in and there weren’t enough options to rent.

“Affordable housing — we think about Worcester, we think about the big cities and the challenges we’re feeling, but it’s certainly something [that’s] not exclusive to major cities,” Kennedy said. “It’s something that you have to have the ability to look at the nuanced nature of the issues.”

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Independent: Lisa Mair

Mair, who currently lives in Berlin, grew up in Holyoke. She received her bachelor’s in business administration and master’s in food science and nutrition.

Since, she has worked in nutrition and health in some way since. Currently, she works as a nutritionist and health coach specializing in functional medicine along with doing talks and group health programs in the community.

“Having grown up in Massachusetts [and] going to UMass Amherst, I was a liberal Democrat, definitely believed in the paradigm that Democrats care about people and the planet and Republicans only care about money,” Mair said.

Over the last few years, Mair said she came to realize that wasn’t true, and some of the approaches by Republicans may be better.

She said she noticed “red flags,” including calls to defund the police.

“People had to decide between taking a genetic injection that they didn’t feel comfortable with — and understandably so because it is brand new and there is no long-term safety data — they had to decide between accepting that or being fired from their job,” Mair said.

Among the issues identified by voters, Mair said the economy is on the top of people’s minds, noting concerns about the price of gas and prescriptions, for example. She referenced small businesses that closed during the pandemic, saying that the state needed to be more friendly to small businesses and reduce taxes.

Mair noted that while knocking on doors, one of the first questions she’s asked is what party she’s from.

“I think things might be a little different now because people are sick of the polarization, and I am sincere that I want to bridge that partisan divide. I want to make sure that we’re all getting to the facts and not just going by party line,” Mair said.

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