[MWDN] In 6th Middlesex, Maria Robinson becomes first Korean-American in Mass. House
In 6th Middlesex, Maria Robinson becomes first Korean-American in Mass. House
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at 10:04 PM
Updated Nov 7, 2018 at 1:53 PM
FRAMINGHAM – Democrat Maria Robinson made history Tuesday as the first Korean-American ever elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, winning the 6th Middlesex District race.
She is also the first person of color to hold the seat, which represents much of Framingham.
Robinson ran unopposed and earned 13,433 votes, according to unofficial election results. The district covers 11 of the city’s 18 precincts.
“I am exhilarated if not exhausted,” Robinson said Tuesday.
A public policy expert in the clean energy industry, Robinson was the only candidate officially on the ballot. Republican Tom Blandford, also of Framingham, ran a write-in campaign, but the number of write-ins was not available at presstime.
Robinson spent Election Day supporting other Democratic candidates in their competitive races, saying it was her duty because she did not have an official opponent. She said transportation will be her first priority starting day one on the job.
“We need to get transportation to work for the people of Framingham,” she said. “We can’t keep going on with the status quo.”Robinson beat Democrats Mary Kate Feeney, Michael Gatlin, and Mark Tilden for the party’s nomination in September. Since then, she said she’s been working with several key figures such as Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer and city councilors to ensure her transition into her new legislative position is seamless come January.
During the race, Robinson touted her experience in writing legislation as an energy expert. As a member of the Legislature, she said she will prioritize ensuring that Framingham gets its fair share of state funding to provide the best education and supporting access to affordable health care through a single-payer program. She also said she’d spent her career fighting for access to clean, advanced energy and would continue to do so in the Legislature.
She earned endorsements from MassEquality, Environmental League of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts chapter of National Association of Social Workers. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute Technology in 2009 and a master’s degree in law from University of Tulsa in 2016.
Maria Robinson 13,433
Tom Blandford (Write-in) Not available at presstime
Blandford acknowledged his candidacy was a longshot but said he thought it was important to give voters a choice. After the election, he said he is planning on forming a PAC to support disenfranchised voters.
“I was never taught to be a quitter,” said Blandford. “I was taught to be a fighter all my life. I want people to see what is possible. I believe that we live in a democracy and therefore voters should always have another option. That’s why it was important to stay in.”
City Clerk Lisa Ferguson called turnout “massive” Tuesday night. Unofficially, citywide turnout was 58.25 percent, with 24,175 votes cast.
“I am very happy and very proud,” said Ferguson.
The seat was last held by Democrat Chris Walsh, who died on May 2 at age 66 after a battle with cancer. In the primary election all candidates were write-ins, because Walsh died after the May 1 filing deadline. Blandford did not receive the required 150 votes to get his name on the General Election ballot.