News from the Campaign

Forum held in Framingham for Walsh’s seat

By Zane Razzaq 
Daily News staff 

Posted Jun 25, 2018 at 12:34 PM

Updated Jun 25, 2018 at 2:04 PM


FRAMINGHAM -- From climate change to vacant shopping plazas to immigration, the four Democrats running for the 6th Middlesex state representative seat had a chance to weigh in on issues facing the city during a forum at the Framingham Green on Sunday evening.

Mary Kate Feeney, Michael Gatlin, Maria Duaime Robinson, and Mark Tilden participated in the event, which was organized by the Framingham Democratic Town Committee. Beverly Hugo, chair of the committee, was the moderator.

Here’s where the candidates stand on the issues:


Blights in the community

Hugo asked the candidates how they would solve the issue of blight in the community, such as vacant storefronts downtown.

Gatlin, a local lawyer, said he felt the city has moved the needle on the issue.

“We finally have an investment in downtown Framingham,” said Gatlin. “There are cranes in downtown Framingham for the first time in 40 years ... I think we’re making progress.”

Robinson said there are specific steps lawmakers can take to move toward better results.

“You can find certain legislative actions that can be very helpful to force these landowners to ensure these spaces are safe, clean, and used for public benefit,” said Robinson.

Tilden said it is an issue he’s passionate about, calling for creative solutions.

″[Downtown] is the marathon route. It’s on the international stage once a year. Why don’t we have businesses there ... that make people who see it on TV think ‘that’s a place I’d like to visit?’” said Tilden, a local attorney.

Feeney said she’d collaborate with the mayor and city council to come up with ways to fill downtown.

“Solving blights doesn’t mean thousands of apartments,” said Feeney. “I’m not satisfied with what’s happening and neither should you.”


Clean energy

Hugo asked the candidates how they’d address clean energy, specifically how they’d treat Canadian hydro-power and off-shore wind initiatives as solutions.

Robinson, an engineer, said that Massachusetts needs to look for alternative solutions, like energy storage, in the face of a potential shortfall due to lack of natural gas pipelines.

“We can ask whoever is in the governor’s office to increase the amount of energy storage that we are able to procure on a year-to-year basis,” said Robinson.

Tilden said he was in favor of a hydro-electric pipeline coming from Canada.

“Continue to develop solar and wind, certainly, but right now we need to bolster our supplies of viable fossil fuels — people have to stay warm in the winter,” said Tilden.

Feeney said she did not support getting energy from Canada, instead saying legislators need to look for long-term solutions.

“We need to invest in our own clean energy jobs,” said Feeney. “We need to look long-term, which isn’t depending on fossil fuels.”

Gatlin said bolstering wind and solar resources would help provide more jobs for the community.

“We need to take advantage of resources that are available here in Massachusetts,” said Gatlin. “We’ll benefit from making that transition.”



The candidates all agreed in opposing the U.S.’s child separation policy at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The ICE agents need to get out. Courthouses should be a safe place,” said Tilden. “Our government needs to come up with a new immigration policy.”

Robinson said she was an immigrant herself, coming to the country from Korea. She said fear among the immigrant community makes the city less safe.

“When people are concerned about being picked up by ICE, they aren’t going to report local crime and that’s a real problem for us,” said Robinson.

Feeney called the policy un-American.

“That’s not our country and it’s certainly not who we are in Framingham,” said Feeney.

Gatlin said he was “ashamed” of the federal immigration policy.

“These people are not a threat to our livelihood,” said Gatlin.


The primary is set for Sept. 4. The seat was previously held by the late Christopher Walsh, who died on May 2. His seat covers much of Framingham.

As of Sunday, Thomas Blandford of Framingham is the sole Republican running for the seat. He pulled papers on March 8.

On May 20, the Framingham Democratic Town Committee voted to reject a caucus process and to instead go through with a write-in election to fill the seat.

Zane Razzaq can be reached at 508-626-3919 or and on Twitter at @zanerazz.


FRAMINGHAM, June 18, 2018

Maria Robinson Kicks Off Campaign for State Representative

Public event marks beginning of write-in campaign


On Monday, June 25, the Committee to Elect Maria Robinson will host a kick off celebration, marking the official start of her write-in campaign for state representative. The event is open to the public and runs from 6:00-7:30 pm at Scott Hall, 24 Vernon Street in Framingham. Please RSVP by emailing or responding to the Facebook event at


Maria Robinson is running for the Democratic nomination for state representative in the seat left vacant due to the unfortunate passing of beloved state representative Chris Walsh. With no candidates on the ballot, Maria is urging voters to write in her name for state representative.


Thanks to a groundswell of community support, Maria Robinson has quickly built a strong team of volunteers, and she is eager to spend time with voters across Framingham to learn more about their legislative priorities.


A former Town Meeting member, Maria is a clean energy policy expert and advocate, who has spent the last decade helping state policymakers and public officials throughout the country to address climate change through renewable energy and energy efficiency policies. She has extensive experience working in state policy, including drafting and passing legislation.


To learn more about her campaign, please visit


FRAMINGHAM, May 17, 2018

Today, Framingham resident Maria Robinson announced her candidacy for State Representative in the 6th Middlesex District.


A former Town Meeting member and member of the Framingham Democratic Town Committee, Maria is a clean energy policy expert and advocate, who has spent the last decade helping with state policymakers and public officials throughout the country to address climate change through renewable energy and energy efficiency policies. Maria has held leadership roles in campaigns in Massachusetts, most recently Setti Warren's bid for governor and Robert Case's run for Framingham City Council.

Her statement is below:

"Today I humbly announce my candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 6th Middlesex District. With my experience working across the country with different states, I have seen first-hand how government can be a force for good - or not - in people's lives. I am dedicated to serving and protecting ALL of Framingham, regardless of socioeconomic status, sexual or gender identity, country of origin, or race.

A life-long Democrat, I am the child of public servants and union members, who taught me the value of hard work and giving back to my community. I am in this race to genuinely work to improve the lives of our city's residents -- not for personal gain or glory.

While we are still mourning the loss of the irreplaceable Chris Walsh, it is important that his successor shares his values of community, commitment to education, and ensuring all Framingham residents can live in comfort, health, and safety. I know that Chris's shoes cannot be filled, but I intend to protect his legacy of fighting for Framingham each and every day."


Maria is a graduate of MIT with a degree in chemical engineering and has a masters degree in law. She lives in Framingham with her wonderful family, including her husband, Matt, her two children, her parents, and their too friendly dog, Guinness. 


Please contact for more information. 

May 17, 2018

Framingham Democrats meet Sunday to discuss Walsh seat

By Zane Razzaq 
Daily News staff 

Posted May 16, 2018 at 7:53 PMUpdated at 12:32 AM


FRAMINGHAM — The Democratic Town Committee will meet Sunday and vote on whether to fill the 6th Middlesex state representative seat formerly held by the late Christopher Walsh by holding a caucus or to instead let a write-in process take place ahead of the regular election in November.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Framingham Green, 136 Maynard Road.

Walsh, who had represented Framingham in the Legislature since 2011, died May 2 at age 66 after a battle with cancer.

The Framingham Democrat represented the state’s 6th Middlesex District, which covers much of the city. Walsh was seeking his fifth term in the fall general election, and had been the only Democrat to pull papers by the May 2 deadline.

Beverly Hugo, chairwoman of the Democratic Town Committee, said the conversation planned for Sunday is sensitive.

“This is a huge loss, we all miss him. He was the really the glue that held the fabric of Framingham together. No one can fill Chris Walsh’s shoes. But we know that he would have wanted the best for Framingham,” said Hugo.

If the Democratic Town Committee membership votes to hold a caucus, 18 delegates from Walsh’s district will be selected to vote on the new representative. The delegates do not need to be members of the committee but do need to be registered Democrats.

A caucus process would not officially start until May 29.

Hugo said several people have stated their interest in the seat, but many have not announced publicly.

Thomas Blandford, a Republican, took out papers to run for the position on March 9, but did not turn in 150 certified signatures before the deadline. He plans to continue fighting for the seat and said he hopes there is an election.

“Everyone should have a chance to vote ... it ain’t over till it’s over,” said Blandford, adding that he already has signs made up.

Maria Robinson, a Democratic Town Committee member, took out papers for the seat on May 10.

In a statement, Robinson said “I am running for state representative because I believe that all of Framingham’s communities deserve to be heard and respected at the state level. Together, we can ensure that Framingham continues to be a safe and healthy place to live, work, learn, and play.”

Either Secretary of State William Galvin or one of his designees and Democratic State Party Chairman Gus Bickford will be at Sunday’s meeting to answer questions and facilitate discussion.

There will be a campaign training session run by the Elizabeth Warren campaign prior to the meeting from 5 to 6 p.m. A remembrance ceremony for Walsh will be held at 6 p.m.

Zane Razzaq can be reached at 508-626-3919 or and on Twitter at @zanerazz.