State Senate Race in Methuen & Lawrence ~ Payano, Zeigler, and Rodriguez

Three Democrats are running in the September 6th primary to fill the seat vacated by Diana DiZoglio who is running for State Auditor.
Methuen City Councilor Eunice Zeigler, Lawrence City Councilor Pavel Payano, and Lawrence activist Doris Rodriguez are all seeking the Democrat Party’s nomination to go on to the November final election.

Despite having mostly the same positions on every issue, these three candidates come from very different backgrounds and have very different perspectives on leadership at The State House.

EUNICE ZEIGLER – Methuen City Councilor Eunice Zeigler represents the East District of Methuen and is in her third term on the council. She is term limited out and cannot run for reelection to the council next year.

Zeigler’s campaign has focused a lot on “racism” and “social justice.” During her zoom fundraisers she addressed multiple times what she will do about “systemic racism,” “antisemitism” and “white privilege.”
“We have to have those conversations,” Zeigler said. When asked on the Paying Attention Podcast if it’s the role of a state senator to tackle “racism” she said it is. When asked if she believes we will ever get rid of “racism” she said she absolutely believes we can.

She supports Black Lives Matter and brought the controversial anti-police group to rally in Methuen.

Zeigler has worked for the cities of Haverhill and Lowell.

Her website touts her local experience;

“Having worked in the Community Development Department for the City of Haverhill and currently at the YWCA in Lawrence, Eunice has served in all three communities in our district and knows their character and needs firsthand.”

Unlike most of her colleagues on the Methuen City Council, Zeigler does not get involved in the petty political fights and controversies that are a staple of those meetings.

“As your state senator, I will bring more resources to the First Essex District and champion our rights to affordable housing, a high-quality education, reliable transportation and safe roads, jobs that pay a living wage, a clean environment, and the right to live with dignity.

PAVEL PAYANO – Pavel is a Lawrence City Councilor At-Large (city wide) and has topped the ticket in the last three elections. The son of a Lawrence teacher and the product of the Lawrence Schools, Pavel served on the Lawrence School Committee before winning a seat on the city council.

This is Payano’s second run for State Senate, losing in 2014 to Barbara L’Italien.

Unlike the rest of his party, Pavel Payano supports the police and rejects the “defund the police” movement in his party. He has voted to increase police protection every year he has been on the city council in Lawrence.

Payano also breaks with his party on the issue of charter schools. The Democrat Party opposed charter schools, as do his opponents in this race. Pavel is a strong advocate for charter schools.
“Education and housing have to be our top priorities,” Pavel told The Valley Patriot.

Payano served as an Adjunct Professor at Merrimack College where he taught graduate classes in Community Development & Community Organizing. He continued to pursue his passion for education as a Math IEP Teacher for the Department of Youth Service where he helped dozens of incarcerated youths obtain the credits they needed to graduate high school and start post high-school training or education.

DORIS RODRIGUEZ – Political activist Doris Rodrigues is an attorney. She ran for mayor of Lawrence last year and was defeated in the preliminary election to Kendrys Vasquez and Brian DePena. She ran for state senate unsuccessfully in 2014.

“My goal is to make our education system much better than it is now,” she said not giving any details as to how she would do that.
She also says that she wants the state to turn control of the Lawrence schools over to the local officials. Lawrence Schools have been in state receivership for more than ten years.

She balked at the idea of lowering or eliminating the state gas tax saying she first needs to know the argument as to why the legislature defeated that measure earlier this year.

Asked if she supports more money for police, Rodriguez said that “When needed” she would vote to increase funding.

“Recently they installed the shooter detection system in the area, which is a camera that turns on when it detects a gunshot in certain neighborhoods. Now, that’s a great tool that we needed that I don’t know why it took so long to have that in place.”

Rodriguez says she doesn’t believe kids today are getting an inferior education compared to 1995 when she graduated from high school.◊