Leominster’s Higgins Prevails in Rep. Race Over Challenger Palmieri
LEOMINSTER -- Incumbent Democratic state Rep. Natalie Higgins has announced her victory over Republican challenger Rich Palmieri, who conceded roughly an hour after polls closed Tuesday.
“The community is better together,” Higgins told a crowd of excited supporters Tuesday evening. “We will not be scared of voting for the future.”
Higgins made her announcement at about 9 p.m., shortly after receiving a call from Palmieri saying he conceded.
Ballots are still being tallied, however early indicators showed Higgins up by a little less than 3,000 votes.
This marks the first re-election win for Higgins, who first won her seat at the age of 28 when former Democratic state representative Dennis Rosa announced he would not seek re-election during the 2016 election.
She would go on to serve on the House Committee on Technology and Intergovernmental Affairs, as well as the Legislature’s joint committees on Community Development and Small Business, Higher Education, and Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery.
She found her opponent this year in the form of Rich Palmieri, a political newcomer and retired military police officer who was encouraged by Republican state Sen. Dean Tran to run for state representative in Leominster.
Higgins said Tuesday that she congratulated her opponent on making the decision to run for office during his call to concede.
“It’s hard for folks to put themselves out there as a candidate, especially today with social media,” she said.
An attorney and former executive director of the nonprofit Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts, Higgins listed her top three priorities if re-elected as improving access to affordable education, promoting economic development through improving public transportation, and improving local access to health care.
Local and statewide issues spanned a variety of topics leading up to Tuesday’s election with Higgins nearly always on the opposite side from her Republican opponent.
As far as ballot questions, she said publicly that she was a “yes” vote on limiting nurse-to-patient rations, creating a citizen’s commission to limit the influence of money in elections, and retain a current law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in places of public accommodation. Palmieri said he was voting “no” on all three.
Higgins’ supporters were out at the polls Tuesday, including Leominster resident Dennis Lyddy who, despite voting Republican in the state Senate race, said he liked what Higgins has done so far.
“Natalie has been very good at her job,” he said. “The things she’s taking up, I think, are very good for our local representation.”
While acknowledging that not all of Tuesday night’s races might turn out in their favor, Higgins encouraged her supporters to keep working in the future.
“This is where hope has to come through,” she said. “I want to thank you all. We have a lot of work to do and we’re not done yet.”
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