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State Senator Karen Spilka eyes run for Congress

Posted by John Swinconeck  May 24, 2013 10:59 AM

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Massachusetts state Senator Karen Spilka has one more reason for supporting Ed Markey's campaign for U.S. Senate. If Markey wins the seat vacated by John Kerry in the special June 25 election, Spilka said she will run for Markey's seat in the U.S. House.

"I'll make a formal announcement that I'm a candidate, once I can call him 'Senator Markey,'" Spilka said in an interview Thursday. "I'm working very hard to get Ed elected, and I believe he will be elected."

Markey, a Democrat representing the Fifth Congressional District, is leading Republican Gabriel Gomez in the race, 41 to 35 percent, according to a WBUR poll.

Efforts to reach Markey's campaign office for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.

Spilka is on a growing list of potential candidates for Markey's seat if he wins the Senate race. Others are Middlesex County Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, state Senators William Brownsberger of Belmont and Katherine Clark of Melrose and state Representative Carl Sciortino of Medford, all Democrats.

Spilka said she has a strong track record in "fighting for the little guy" during her time in the Massachussets legislature, first as a member of the house, then as senator representing the Second Middlesex and Norfolk District, comprising Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway, and Natick.

If elected, Spilka would represent communities from Holliston to Winthrop.

Among her accomplishments, she cited the overhaul of the Children Engaged in Services, or CHINS, law, for handling children who consistently get in trouble at home or at school, including runaways and students who are habitually truant.

She said she also helped change state law to allow communities west of Boston to create or join existing regional transit authorities.

Spilka said she would be able to work in the U.S. House, an often fractious and partisan body. "My background is in conflict resolution," she said. "People are tired of hearing about conflict, bitterness, and divisiveness."

She was elected to the Massachusetts House in 2001, before becoming sworn in as Senator in 2005. In January, she was promoted to Majority Whip after previously serving as Assistant Majority Whip since January 2012. She also serves on the Joint Committee on Rules, the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules, and the Senate Committee on Steering and Policy.

Spilka lives in Ashland with her husband, Joel S. Loitherstein. They have three children and three dogs.

Contact John Swinconeck at johnswinc@gmail.com. Follow @johnswinc on Twitter.

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