METHUEN—Methuen Democrat Jessica Finocchiaro officially qualified for the ballot for the First Essex State Senate seat with 591 certified signatures, almost double the number of signatures required.
“The strength and prosperity of our community means a great deal to me. I’ve been fortunate to spend my life in the district. People are worried about the future, our families deserve leaders who will stand up and fight for the issues that matter most. My grandfathers worked and my father still works at a factory, my grandmother was a social worker at Head Start and a teacher, and my mother was a local real estate agent until she became disabled. My family knows the meaning of an honest days work, but we also know how financially devastating unexpected expenses are for families. My experience has been focused on supporting our communities—from families struggling with mental health issues to improving our schools. I’m looking forward to campaigning across the district, talking to voters about what is at stake in this election, and earning their support.”
Active throughout the Merrimack Valley for many years, Finocchiaro was elected to represent Methuen on the Greater Lawrence Technical School District Committee and serves as the Committee’s Vice-Chair. She has been an outspoken advocate for quality high school and adult vocational programs, citing the vital skills and training that attracts jobs that pay a livable wage to the area.
At the Department of Mental Health, Finocchiaro has worked to standardize mental health medication clinic practices to increase prevention and quality of care while cutting costs. Finocchiaro also serves as the President of a nonprofit that offers support, hope and recovery to individuals and families affected by mental health issues.
Finocchiaro earned Masters’ degrees in both Public Administration and Government from Suffolk University. She graduated from Presentation of Mary Academy in Methuen, and later served as a substitute teacher for Methuen Public Schools. Finocchiaro has more than ten years of local small business experience in the education, banking, accounting, and real estate industries.
Finocchiaro stated, “Collecting over a thousand signatures from all seven communities equally in the district was important to me. Often candidates have interns collect most of their signatures in the cities only, but my supporters and I went to grocery stores and knocked on neighbor’s doors so we could have a dialogue and give voters the opportunity to personally ask me about my experience and views. That went a long way with voters, and some even offered to volunteer on the spot. That sort of very direct interaction with voters is what all candidates should focus on, during the campaign but even more so after you get elected. Residents should always have regular and very direct access to their legislators.”
The First Essex includes: Amesbury, Haverhill, North Andover (Precincts 1-4), Merrimac, Methuen, Newburyport, and Salisbury. The Democratic Primary will be held on Tuesday, September 9th. Incumbent Kathleen O’Connor Ives first won her Democratic Primary in 2012 with just 38 percent of the vote.