by St. John Barned-Smith
Incumbents for both the 25th Middlesex and 29th Middlesex District seats in the legislature both face opponents in the upcoming November election.
Republican candidate Henry R. Irving and Independent Joseph P.Donnelly are challenging State Rep. Alice K. Wolf, D, in the 25th, which includes Porter Square and other parts of North Cambridge and Republican Keith Mercurio is taking on State Rep. Rachel Kaprielian, D, in the 29th, which includes the city’s Ward 9 by Fresh Pond.
Wolf's challenger Republican Henry R. Irving with his wife Kate
She has been a state representative for the last ten years. During that time, Wolf has focused on education reform, the environment and healthcare, she said.
Wolf said she began her career in Cambridge politics as a member of the school committee. She later served as city councilor, vice mayor and mayor before moving to the state legislature.
Besides the health care plan, Wolf helped raise the minimum wage to $7.50 by the end of this year, and then to $8.00 by the end of next year, she said.
She also hopes to enact legislation capping kindergarten class levels at 15 students, to help close the achievement gap, and champion environmental legislation to make the Charles River clean enough for swimmers, she said. “Environmental issues, from the crowding and constant clogged traffic, to keeping families in the city and making sure schools stay strong.”
“Cambridge’s most difficult issue is that we’ve always prided ourselves on having a diverse mix of people, but I think we’ve lost some of that because it’s so expensive,” she said.
Her opponent, Irving, said he entered the race after he spoke at a Cambridge Republican City Committee meeting. “I argued that committee members should try to fill as many ballot slots as possible Cambridge-wide. My suggestion didn’t get very far, mainly because those people, who have a lot more local-politics experience than I do, know how much work it takes to get a name on the ballot, not to mention to campaign. They did encourage me to go for it, though.”
Irving said he the Democrats in control of the legislature are unable to address the real problems facing the citizens. “My priorities are education, taxes, and finding out why it is so hard to get things done, even good works.”