They’ve yet to lodge a single vote or be assigned an office. But Beacon’s Hill incoming class of lawmakers has already sent reverberations through the Massachusetts political scene with surprising victories and, in some cases, blunt commentary.
Door-knocking in Whitman one day, Alyson Sullivan said she quickly found reaffirmation for why she sought the Seventh Plymouth District seat. A woman who answered the door recounted how it was Sullivan’s father, former Plymouth District attorney Michael Sullivan, who sat in her family’s living room years earlier when the woman’s brother was killed by a drunk driver, promising his children that he would fight for them.
“People remember, even if it’s for a small thing,” said Alyson Sullivan. The woman, she said, “couldn’t wait to tell her mom” that she met the daughter of the prosecutor they so fondly remember. “It’s those impacts that my father had, that I hope one day I’ll have,” said Sullivan, an Abington Republican.
It’s part of what drove Sullivan, 30, to run. Her father once held the same seat before serving as district attorney, then the US attorney for Massachusetts, and running for US Senate. This year, he led fund-raising efforts for his daughter, currently a student at New England Law, as she sought the seat held by fellow Republican Geoff Diehl.
Diehl’s decision to not seek reelection and mount an unsuccessful challenge to Senator Elizabeth Warren opened a path for Sullivan, who ran on lowering taxes, advocating for infrastructure funds, and fighting the opioid crisis.
She is one of just three newly elected GOP lawmakers in the Legislature, and the only woman Republican entering her first term. Given her father’s experience, serving in the public arena is a path for which she’s long prepared. “It’s something I’ve thought about my whole life,” she said.
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