By Molly Loughman
Democratic State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, won his fifth term as state senator Tuesday, out polling two rivals to retain a post he has held since 2009.
According to posted results, Eldridge tallied 55,268 votes or 64 percent; Republican Ted Busiek of Littleton garnered 26,756 votes or 31 percent and independent candidate Terra Friedrichs with 4,004 or 5 percent.
In Boxborough, Elridge received 1,983 votes, followed by Busiek with 727, then Friedrichs with 103.
“It is good to have competition,” said Eldridge during his campaign party Tuesday night at the Boxborough Holiday Inn. “I always make sure I’m getting out and hearing from concerned voters and what they care most about.”
State funding for education, protecting the environment and investing in transportation are the common requests from Eldridge’s constituents, he said.
“I think one of the major reforms that’s going to happen next session is criminal justice reform. I think we need to take steps to address transportation as more and more people are unhappy with the commuter rail and subway system. I think we need to talk about universal pre-K and making college education affordable,” said Eldridge, who also supports improving mental health serves across the state.
Eldridge, a 1991 Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (ABRHS) graduate, represents more than 160,000 people in 14 communities across the Middlesex and Worcester District: Acton, Ayer, Boxborough, Harvard, Hudson, Littleton, Maynard, Northborough, Shirley, Southborough, Stow, Sudbury, Westborough, the City of Marlborough and the Devens community.
“Whether at the top of the ticket to legislative races is the influence of big money in politics, of corporate money spending lots of money. You see that on the ballot questions, you see that in the presidential race and so I just think that unless we’re really serious about taking big money out of politics, we’re really not going to address a lot of the policies that I think a majority of the public supports,” said Eldridge.
Supporting Eldridge during the campaign party Tuesday night was Littleton resident John Hanson Mitchell, who referred to himself as “an environmental guy.”
“So Jamie, even if he were a Republican or independent or whatever, I would still like him because he’s got a very good environmental record,” said Mitchell. “But his other politics I appreciate. We’re always on the same side.”
“It looks like Sen. Eldridge is going to win re-election, which I sort of anticipated at the beginning of the race,” Busiek said Tuesday night after 11 p.m. “You get this sort of bubble around you that makes you think, ‘Who knows?’ Then election night comes and reality sets in.”
Busieck was at a Trump campaign party in Newton as the 2016 Presidential Election results came in.
“It’s jubilant. Either Trump is going to outnumber Romney or Hillary, we’ll take it… and it will still be a big win for the ‘deplorables,’” he said.
Busiek, former Acton resident and a 2004 ABRHS graduate who enlisted in the military in 2008, was stationed in Texas, California, Maryland and North Carolina. He earned an associate’s degree in Arabic from the Defense Language Institute. He went off of active duty in 2013. Recently, Busiek served as an Arabic translator in the Air Force before working for a sales and marketing firm on the South Shore. This year marks Busiek’s first time running for political office.
Throughout his campaign, Busiek said the state could begin tackling simple reforms “that ought to have bipartisan support,” such as deindustrialization, and unemployment and wage depression.
“I’m very blesses to live in a country where some jamoke like me can run for office,” Busiek said. “I feel grateful that I got to do this. I had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it.”
When asked about Election Night results, Friedrichs replied, “I win by running. The issues I care most about are in the news and my opponents are now talking about them, and the public is now demanding answers.”
Friedrichs moved to Acton as a teenager in 1974. After graduating from ABRHS, Friedrichs earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts in electrical engineering. She earned her master’s degree in finance at Bentley College. She served one term on the Acton Board of Selectmen.
This is Friedrichs’ first time running for senator. Initially inspiring her was former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who she said reflected society’s readiness for change.
“I’m so happy people turned out to vote for me and that I got so many votes,” said Friedrichs. “And I get to continue my work.”
Friedrich said anyone needing help leveraging municipal rights to get what their communities need can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.