We’ve had an incredible adventure together. Since I answered what I heard as a call to serve by announcing this campaign in November of last year— this is some of what we have accomplished.
A year ago, no one but candidates with wealthy financial networks were supposed to get in this race. Then we jumped in, as did others. There were forums and debate stages that turned us away for not having raised hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars- until with our growing support, our campaign and our ideas couldn’t be ignored. A scrappy authentically grassroots campaign like ours was not even supposed to get enough signatures to get on the ballot. We got on the ballot, and got the chance to make our case to the voters.
Finally, there were those who said we couldn’t compete with the Big Money campaigns on Election Day. Well, we surprised them again.
Though we sadly did not win the overall primary election, we won the towns of Maynard and Stow outright. Those two towns and thousands of citizens voted to send a Russian-speaking lawyer and former Intelligence Community leader— who also happens to be a transgender lesbian woman — to Congress. They voted for this campaign despite us being out fundraised by other campaigns and their outside PAC and special interest group support by up to 35 to 1. Other candidates in our race directly credited us with raising the quality of the debate and focusing our conversation on service and solutions. Meanwhile we inspired a generation of LGBT youth, particularly transgender youth, at a difficult time for LGBT and especially trans equality in the Commonwealth and the country.
We also punched above our weight in our effectiveness as a campaign as measured by money spent per vote. The top vote-getters in this campaign spent from $44 to $175 per vote, not even counting their outside PAC support. We spent $29 per vote. That is how well targeted our voter contact effort was, and how we achieved what we did with so much less money raised than other campaigns. That is how hard our volunteers worked, knocking on over 11,000 doors, sending over 5,000 postcards to voters, and making thousands of calls.
You built an incredible campaign, of which I was privileged to be as the candidate only the messenger. You also answered a call to serve. I am so grateful for all of you, from Betsey Gardstein our Volunteer Coordinator to Lisa Arnold and Amy Baranoski our Postcard Coordinators to Nancy Matesanz our Phone-banking Coordinator to Angel Butts our House Party Coordinator, to incredible youth volunteers like Kim Eppling. There are hundreds of others, around MA3 and the country, who donated or volunteered- people like Kerry Lanzo, who wrote over 500 postcards for us herself. I thank all of you, and you’ll be hearing from me separately in coming days and weeks.
Our campaign team left nothing on the table— they gave it their all in strategy, ingenuity, and their very hearts: from Fred Rich LaRiccia our campaign manager to Lauren Young our deputy campaign manager, Ted Costigan our field director, Terry McGinty our finance director, and my brother Steven Chandler our treasurer. Isaac Wright, Kate Monson, and Carter Christensen gave us amazing advice, designed our logo and website, built our social media presence, and made our email and fundraising machinery work.
Remarkable public servants supported our campaign, from our first endorser Sarah Christopherson, former Washington director to Rep Tsongas, to State Rep Kate Hogan, former State Rep Walrath, and others. I’ll never forget the organizations that stood with our campaign, including the Trans United Fund, the National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund, and Common Defense.
Needless to say, I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of the rest of my family, especially my wife Cathy, our two little boys, and my parents. There are no words sufficient to what they gave and give me.
As I transition away from candidate to engaged citizen, I will still seek to serve without the job title of Congresswoman— which was never the point. Here are some of the ways I will do that.
Having learned what I have about the destructive role of money in politics and how it biases our elections and our policies to the benefit of wealthy men and very few women— I am going to focus on getting Massachusetts to say Yes on ballot question 2 in November, to create a commission that will consider an amendment to the Constitution to overturn Citizens United.
I will also actively support the Voter Choice Massachusetts movement to make Ranked Choice Voting the law of the land, to reduce the importance of money in politics and promote more civil campaigning. Our primary election and so many others may have had a very different result if voters had been able to vote their true preferences without fear of “spoiler” votes or “vote-splitting”.
To continue my commitment to be a voice for the vulnerable, I will also stay involved in the work of the Merrimack Valley Project on behalf of our immigrant communities, the poor, and all our neighbors who suffer fear and want in our society today.
Finally, as a transgender woman and a Steering Committee member of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, I will also work hard to get a Yes on 3, to ensure Massachusetts upholds anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in November. I’ll be speaking at my first townhall on Sunday for this movement— and it won’t be the last time.
These activist pursuits, in addition to supporting the eventual #MA3 nominee, catching up on time with my family, and getting a new day job other than “Candidate”, will be at the center of my efforts in the weeks and months to come.
Please continue to follow our campaign Facebook page for updates about my work on these issues and opportunities to join me in that work.
To answer a frequent question, I have no specific plans to seek elected office again, though I also do not rule it out entirely. My near term focus is on breaking the financial and process barriers in the system that hold back campaigns like ours and diverse candidates. However, I do know that we have future activists, candidates, and elected officials in our volunteer and supporter ranks. You have joined me in this campaign, to update Teddy Roosevelt, as the ones who are in the arena in a worthy cause. I look forward to joining youand supporting you in the arena as you embark on future efforts.
While I regret that I will not represent Massachusetts or serve our country in Congress, this campaign is a chapter in a longer story of renewing our country and its politics. This can provide perspective amidst the sadness of this moment— which I share. We will write many future chapters together in that longer story of renewal, I know it. Because answering that call to serve does not come with an expiration date, and this critical moment for our country, with peril and so much promise, demands it of us.
Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.
In service and pride,