Election Series: Female Candidates for State Senate and Other Positions

In Blog, Community by Caroline Smith

This week, we’re covering the remaining female candidates in Massachusetts on the ballot for the primary election on September 4th– the candidates for State Senate, as well as other candidates throughout the state for miscellaneous state, municipal, or county positions.

While our She+ Geeks Out Panel featuring Ayanna Pressley, Brianna Wu, and Sam Hammar on August 21st is currently full, you can still sign up to be on the waitlist through our Eventbrite page.

As a reminder, you can register to vote online until August 15th, or mail in this form to register if you don’t have a Massachusetts ID. If you’re going to be outside of Massachusetts on September 4th, remember to sign up to receive your absentee ballot! Happy voting!

P.S. If you know a candidate we’ve missed, please email us at [email protected] and we’ll be more than happy to add them to the list!

Candidates for State Representative

Diana DiZoglio

1st Essex District

Diana DiZoglio is currently a Democratic State Representative for Methuen. After her public rebuke of House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, however, she is now running for State Senate, seeking the seat currently held by Kathleen O’Connor Ives (who is not seeking reelection). Before serving as a State Representative, DiZoglio worked for multiple non-profit organizations and as a legislative aide before serving as Chief of Staff to Edward A. Kelly, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM). During her third term as State Representative, she has secured funding for causes including outreach for veterans, addiction treatment, domestic violence intervention, and youth development.

Sam Hammar

5th Middlesex District

Sam Hammar is running for State Senate in the 5th Middlesex District. At the start of her career, she taught journalism and civics to graduating seniors at Boston Community Leadership Academy. Recently, she has worked for the City of Boston to develop its Innovation District in the Seaport area, helping Boston to expand and nurture entrepreneurial ventures in technology and the creative arts, which has brought more than 5,000 jobs to the area since 2010. In her own life, she found challenges supporting her two twin daughters while also working, and now wants to help address the challenges that working women face as part of her platform. She is also dedicated to increasing the availability of affordable housing and affordable childcare, appropriately funding higher education, increasing gun safety, and supporting reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights.

Katie McBrine

Plymouth and Norfolk District

Katie McBrine, M.D. is running for the Democratic nomination for State Representative in the Plymouth and Norfolk District. McBrine is a pediatrician and lifelong Democrat who has been active in various community public health initiatives, including ones on “The Dangers of Smoking” and “The Dangers of Vaping.” As a State Representative, McBrine wants to focus on single-payer healthcare and addiction services, high-quality, affordable education, accessible transportation, greater gun regulations, support for unions, civil rights protections for all citizens, and support for veterans. She is currently a member of the team at Scituate Pediatrics, where she works as a doctor.

Becca Rausch

Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex District

Becca Rausch is running for the Democratic nomination for State Senator from the Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex District. Rausch holds a JD from Northeastern University, and an LLM from UC Berkeley. Rausch has law experience in the public sector as an attorney at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and in the private sector at PerkinElmer Inc. She has also served as a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer in Law at the Northeastern University School of Law, and as an Elected Representative for the Town Meeting of Needham. As a State Senator, Rausch would champion voting rights, universal healthcare, affordable college, strong public education, labor advancements, and greater government transparency.

Deb Rudolf

Plymouth and Barnstable District

Deb Rudolf is running for State Senate, representing the Plymouth and Barnstable Counties. She holds a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, and has worked as an attorney in her own practice in Plymouth for over 15 years. She has served as Clerk, Treasurer and President to the First Parish Church of Plymouth, on the Board of Mass. National Academy  of Elder Law Attorneys (MNAELA), and as Liason to the Mass. Bar Taskforce on Same Sex Marriage. Her platform centers fair fiscal policy, growth and development of small businesses, being a voice for underserved populations, and fighting against corporate interest in politics.

Sue Chalifoux Zephir

Worcester and Middlesex District

Sue Chalifoux Zephir is running for the Massachusetts State Senate, in the Worcester and Middlesex District. Zephir is currently the Leominster City Councilor-at-Large and the Executive Director of Ginny’s Helping Hand, a nonprofit food pantry, and she has previously served as the Ward 4 City Councilor. A strong education advocate, Zephir has fought for quality public education for many years, advocating for funding for public schools and libraries. In the state senate, she hopes to combat the opioid epidemic, increase access to quality healthcare for all people (including women’s health services), advocate for investment in better Massachusetts public transportation, and reform the distribution formula for school funding. She has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, Mass Alliance, Massachusetts Nurses Association, Sierra Club, and many more.

Candidate Name District Against
Diana DiZoglio 1st Essex Open seat
Sam Hammar 5th Middlesex District Jason Lewis
Katie McBrine Plymouth and Norfolk Open seat
Becca Rausch Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex Open seat
Deb Rudolf Plymouth and Barnstable Open seat
Sue Chalifoux Zephir Worcester and Middlesex Open seat

Miscellaneous Candidates for State, Municipal, and County Positions

Eileen Duff

Governor’s Council – 5th District

Eileen Duff is up for reelection for the Governor’s Council, on which she has served since 2013. Duff has won many awards for public service, and received a presidential appointment by President Clinton in 1995 to work as a Confidential Assistant to Commissioner Rachelle Chong at the FCC in Washington, D.C. Her platform centers accountability and transparency of the members of the Governor’s Council to the Massachusetts citizens. She is endorsed by various Massachusetts publications and politicians, including the Gloucester Times, the Lowell Sun, Salem News, State Representative Colleen Garry, Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas, and Congressman Seth Moulton.

Katie Forde

Register of Deeds – Suffolk County

Katie Forde is running to become the first female Register of Deeds in Suffolk County history. She is currently a senior paralegal at Todd & Weld, and lives in West Roxbury. She has a history of organizing for various progressive campaigns and causes, including organizing for Planned Parenthood, Mass Equality, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and more. She received the 2017 Activist of the Year Award from Jamaica Plain Progressives and Councilor Ayanna Pressley. As Register of Deeds, she aims to protect consumers from predatory loans, improve access to services at the Registry of Deeds, increase homeownership education and protections, and prioritize bringing resources to people of color as a means of addressing the racial wealth gap.

Andrea Harrington

District Attorney – Berkshire County

Andrea Harrington is running for District Attorney of Berkshire County, challenging current District Attorney Paul Caccaviello. After graduating from American University’s Washington College of Law, Harrington worked in Florida on overturning death penalty convictions, and since then has worked as an attorney specializing in various different concentrations, including criminal appeals, divorce litigation, and juvenile court matters. As District Attorney of Berkshire County, Harrington wants to work towards ending incarceration for non-violent offenses, ending the school-to-prison pipeline, prosecuting drug companies responsible for the opioid crisis, ending the war on drugs, seeking greater penalties for violent crime, and allocating greater funds towards programs geared at the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Alice Merkl

Register of Deeds – Essex (Southern District)

Alice Merkl is running for Register of Deeds in the Southern Essex District. She is a board member of her own self-managed condominium association, and currently teaches in her community in a small, family-owned business. She has volunteered for organizations such as the Salem Food Pantry, and has lobbied for Common Cause Massachusetts and Automatic Voter Registration. As Register of Deeds, Merkl promises to protect the interests of the homeowning citizens of Massachusetts.

Mary Olberding

Register of Deeds – Hampshire County

Mary Olberding has been serving as Hampshire County’s Register of Deeds since 2013, and is now running for re-election as the Democratic nominee. Before becoming Register of Deeds, Olberding amassed much professional experience in business, including working as HR Manager at Schott North America, Inc., and in record-keeping at Cross County Group in Springfield, MA. She has previously served as a delegate to the Massachusetts State Democratic Convention, and is a graduate of Xavier University. Her platform as Register of Deeds centers public accessibility of the office to all residents.

Donna Patalano

District Attorney – Middlesex County

Donna Patalano, J.D. is running for District Attorney of Middlesex County as a Democrat. After attending law school at Boston College in her 30s, Patalano started working as a prosecutor for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, an office she then returned to as the Chief of Professional Integrity and Ethics. She has appeared over 20 times in front of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and has been counsel of record for over 120 Appeals Court cases. As District Attorney, Patalano promises to work against mass incarceration, to protect immigrants, to prioritize the needs of victims of crime, and to increase public transparency and accountability of the District Attorney’s office.

Rachael Rollins

District Attorney – Suffolk County

Rachael Rollins is running for Suffolk County District Attorney. A graduate of Northeastern Law School and Georgetown University Law Center’s Master of Laws program, Rollins has law experience in public and private sector work, including consulting, MassDOT and MBTA counsel, and a position as Chief Legal Counsel to Massport. Rollins is dedicated to decreasing incarceration rates and racial disparities in the criminal justice system if elected, and has been endorsed by Progressive Massachusetts, Justice for Massachusetts Coalition, Massachusetts Women Political Caucus, Shaun King’s Real Justice, Jamaica Plain Progressives, Adam Foss, and many more.

Marian T. Ryan

District Attorney – Middlesex County

Marian T. Ryan is the current serving District Attorney for Middlesex County, running for re-election this fall. Ryan is Massachusetts’ only female District Attorney, and in her time in office, she has intensified efforts to combat the opioid crisis, and has worked to be aware of the needs of the immigrant community in Middlesex County. She also has a record of supporting the elderly through prosecuting crimes involving the physical and/or financial abuse of the elderly community. She lectures in Middlesex public and private schools on the dangers of prescription drug abuse, teen dating violence, sexual assaults, cyber safety, bullying, and distracted driving. She is a graduate of Emmanuel College and Boston College Law School.

Katie Toomey

Register of Deeds – Worcester County

Katie Toomey is running for Worcester County Register of Deeds as a Democratic candidate. She is a native of Holden, and has practiced as a real estate attorney in Worcester County for over 18 years. Since 2016, she has held her own law practice in downtown Worcester. If elected, she promises to help citizens avoid title scams and understand legal title. She also intends to hold seminars to inform the public of property information and their consumer rights, and to hold satellite hours in cities and towns across Worcester County to increase the accessibility of the Registry of Deeds office. She holds a B.A. in French from UMass Amherst, and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.

Candidate Name Position Jurisdiction Against
Eileen Duff Governor’s Council District 5 Incumbent
Katie Forde Register of Deeds Suffolk County Open seat
Andrea Harrington District Attorney Berkshire County Paul Caccaviello
Alice Merkl Register of Deeds Essex – Southern District Open seat
Mary Olberding Register of Deeds Hampshire County Incumbent
Donna Patalano District Attorney Middlesex County Marian T. Ryan
Rachael Rollins District Attorney Suffolk County Open seat
Marian T. Ryan District Attorney Middlesex County Incumbent
Katie Toomey Register of Deeds Worcester County N/A