By: Tom Duggan – May, 2016
14th Essex District State Representative Diana DiZoglio will have a challenger for the Democratic Party’s primary in September.
She is North Andover attorney Phyllis Jones, who says that she is “disappointed” in the incumbent’s lack of transparency and refusal to support gay marriage and “transgender rights”.
Originally from New York, Jones has lived in North Andover for 11 years and is a licensed attorney. She has been married for 22 years and has two children (Carly 13, Zachary 8) and is a “legal assistant by choice”.
“I can’t say anything bad about Diana as a person,” Jones told The Valley Patriot. “In terms of politics, I have assessed her after asking some tough questions in past. But, she gave me one answer then did something different. I look where she stands politically, and I’d have to say I align myself with a more liberal view of things. I think I have something more to offer. I’m married with children and that brings a different perspective to the office. So I’m just looking to give people a real choice.”
“Even though I supported Dave Torrisi four years ago, I was hoping when she won that she would do a good job. I sit back and look at what’s being done in the district, for the district, and I believe I have a better voice for people of the 14th Essex.”
Phyllis Jones says she is more liberal than the incumbent and said DiZoglio’s refusal to take a position on progressive issues like gay marriage and transgender rights are part of the reason she is running against her.
“I’m passionate about gay marriage and gay issues,” she said. “Before Diana was elected, I asked her the same question I asked David concerning gay marriage. She didn’t want to take a stand because, she said it has already been decided. I asked David where he stood and he gave me a whole litany of reasons he supported it. The one thing I want in an elected official is that they will take a stand and be transparent about it. Civil rights issues are never done deals. If they were, we wouldn’t still be arguing about Roe vs Wade (the Supreme Court decision that made abortion on demand a constitutional right).”
“So, my basic platform is this: I will take a stand on an issue and let you know what that stand is. If I don’t have a position on something I will just admit I don’t know. I will go out and educate myself, and come back and explain, ‘this is the stand I am taking and why.’”
“In her first session [as a Rep.] there was legislation that would have allowed committee votes and hearings to be more transparent. Diana voted against it. I want to know her votes in committee and on the floor. I want to be able to pick up the phone if it’s not online and find out how she voted. What I get now is ‘we can’t give you that on the phone, but you can come in…’
“I work. I have kids. I have a life. I can’t get into Boston to start researching votes, and I bet most people can’t do that either.”
“The real work in the legislature is done in committees. If it’s not about national security, the public needs to know everything. If you are not going to let us in the committee hearings, at least release the committee votes.”
WORKING WITH ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT
Jones says that as a representative she won’t do what other representatives do when called by their constituents about local or federal issues.
“Sometimes people call their reps and ask about potholes or some other local issue. I don’t want a rep who says ‘that’s a local issue, you have to call your local town hall.’ I want a rep. who is going to pick up the phone, call town hall, take care of the problem. That’s constituent services and that’s the kind of rep I will be.”
“We have to do more to protect jobs and workers. I learned recently in terms of job protection and job security from living through it, that a prospective employer is not mandated to tell you in a ‘help wanted’ ad that it’s an independent contractor position, as opposed to an employee who gets a W2. Employers should be mandated to list in ‘Help Wanted’ ads if it’s a position as a contractor or an employee.”
Jones is a former White House intern in the Clinton administration who graduated from American University. “Because of my work on the Clinton-Gore campaign, the White House called me to try and get 12 boys and girls to help out. I recruited a dozen kids and we read letters, and did administrative tasks. The only reason I didn’t get a credited internship was because I came back and went to Mass School of Law, but several kids I recruited went on for accredited internships.”
Jones supports Hillary Clinton for president, because of her international relations experience in the White House. “Bernie is a strong man, very intelligent, his heart’s in right place. He’s been in the Senate for a long time. He’s a fixture. But, he doesn’t have the international relations experience that Hillary has.”
Jones says she has been involved in politics since she was 9 years old, passing out donuts at campaign events for Ted Kennedy when he ran against Jimmy Carter for president in 1980. She also worked for John Kerry.
WHAT DO YOU WANT VOTERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOU
“I just want people to know that I’m fair. It’s the attorney in me. We may not always agree but at the end of the day, I at least want to hear what you have to say. No one side has all the right answers. Nine times out of ten it’s not the left or right, it’s somewhere in the middle. How far into the middle you are willing to go and still keep who you are is the real problem today. That won’t be a problem for me.”