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Friday, October 13, 2006

State Rep. Blumer dies -- Update

REGION

State Rep. Deborah D. Blumer (D-Framingham) died this morning after suffering an apparent heart attack while driving in Framingham, authorities said.

The news shocked fellow lawmakers and friends in Framingham and the surrounding area, where Blumer's political involvement began with the PTO and led her to Beacon Hill representing the 6th Middlesex District for the last six years.

Framingham police said Blumer's 2004 Acura ran off of Dudley Road near Loring Arena around 10:15 a.m. and struck a wooden guardrail. A Framingham police officer who was working a passing funeral detail for a retired officer was the first to arrive at the crash scene.

A second officer administered CPR and twice used an automatic defibrillator, said Lt. Paul Shastany, a police spokesman.

Blumer was transported to the Framingham Union Hospital, part of the MetroWest Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 11:35 a.m., having never regained consciousness, said hospital spokeswoman Beth Donnelly.

Fellow lawmakers said Blumer had worked hard on healthcare legislation, public education funding and social services during her three terms in the House.

"Debbie was probably the hardest working member of the House," said Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick, who campaigned with Blumer yesterday.

He said they held signs supporting Democratic gubernatorial nominee Deval Patrick outside Ken's Steak House in Framingham, where Republican nominee Kerry Healey was holding a campaign event.

"There was no spin with Debbie Blumer," Linsky said. "She told it like she saw it, and she had a lot of guts."

Linsky and others said Blumer, 64, appeared to be in good health.

"Debbie was very buoyant and in high spirits," said long-time friend Jerry Desilets, who attended a community meeting with Blumer Friday morning. "She was very excited about the upcoming elections. Debbie was totally dedicated to her causes and her candidates, and was very enthusiastic about the election season."

Blumer was running unopposed for a fourth term. Secretary of State William F. Galvin said in a statement Friday that Blumer's name would remain on the Nov. 7 ballot. Galvin said there wasn't enough time to allow the party to put forward a substitute candidate with some absentee ballots already mailed.

Galvin's spokesman, Brian McNiff, said whoever received the most write-in ballots on Election Day would win the seat. The seat will remain unfilled for the duration of the current session, he said.

Republicans and Democrats alike hailed Blumer as a conscientious lawmaker.

"Deb was one of the best friends we had on this campaign, often working all day to accomplish whatever tasks needed to be done," Patrick said in a statement. "She was an integral part of building our grassroots organization in the Framingham area and inspired others to do the same."

Healey called Blumer's passing a "terrible loss," saying "Framingham has lost a loyal public servant and strong voice on Beacon Hill."

-- John C. Drake

blumer2.jpg

(A photo of Rep. Blumer from her state website)

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