UPDATED: Sabrina Heisey Announces Democratic Primary Challenge To Rep. Colleen Garry
Feb 09, 2018 06:03PM ● Published by Bill Gilman
School Committee member Sabrina Heisey is launching a campaign for State Representative
For the past several days, there had been a persistent buzz in Dracut political circles that longtime Democratic state Rep. Colleen Garry might be facing a primary fight in her campaign for re-election this fall.
The rumors were confirmed Friday, as Dracut School Committee member Sabrina Heisey officially announced her candidacy for state representative for the 36th Middlesex District.
"I respect the representative's 23 years of service to our district, but I have spoken with many residents in Dracut and Tyngsborough who think it's time for a new voice and a fresh perspective on Beacon Hill," said Heisey, in a press release announcing her candidacy. "I think voters want an advocate who is committed to tackling relevant issues such as education and health care."
Heisey is a relative newcomer to politics, having been elected to the Dracut School Committee in her first run for office, in 2017.
In responding to Heisey's announcement, Garry speculated that her opponent may view the state representative's seat as a political stepping stone.
"(I'm) not sure if this is the seat that she truly wants, seven months ago it was school committee," said Garry. "Where will her ambition lead her beyond this? How long would she serve in any capacity until she impulsively seeks another elected office that she perceives as bigger and better. I made a commitment to the people of this District to serve as State Representative. Although I have been approached by people to run for higher office, I remain committed to this seat and to the citizens of Dracut and Tyngsborough."
Heisey and her husband, Zebulon, are the parents of six children. She works as a research administrative supervisor at Boston Children's Hospital. In addition, she volunteers with the Massachusetts Adoption Research Exchange, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Horizons for Homeless Children and is a local Girl Scout troop leader.
Garry will be seeking her 13th term in office this fall. She was first elected in 1994 from what was then the 39th Middlesex District. She narrowly defeated Warren Shaw and Nikcolas Lambros in the Democratic Primary before defeating Republican Shaila Richardson in the general election.
Redistricting moved Dracut and Garry into the 36th Middlesex District in 2002.
Since first being elected, she has faced a primary challenger just once. That came in 2004, when she routed Barry Myers (64.0 - 35.9 percent).
Garry ran unopposed in 2016 but had defeated Republican Cathy Richardson in both 2012 (58.6 - 41.4 percent) and 2014 (53.7-46.3 percent).
Heisey said she understands the uphill battle associated with taking on a long-term legislator in a primary fight, but said she is looking forward to the challenge.
"I'm looking forward to meeting with the voters of the 36th Middlesex District and better understanding their concerns so I can better address them on Beacon Hill," she said, in her announcement.
For her part, Garry said she stands by her record and said Heisey's positions are far to the left of center.
"I stand proudly by my record of fiscal responsibility and public service to our District. My commitment to Dracut and Tyngsborough is unparalleled," she said. "I believe (Heisey's) agenda is to win the seat for the ultraliberals of the Commonwealth rather than represent the interests of the majority of people of Dracut and Tyngsborough."