Upstart challenger for state Representative Gerly Adrien of Everett has submitted enough certified petition signatures to appear on the ballot for the September fourth primary. Adrien is challenging incumbent Joe McGonagle who, as of Thursday, has not yet been certified to appear on the ballot.
Adrien didn’t just get more than the required number of signatures, she did so in a way that enables her to know exactly what voters are looking for. “I proudly got a majority of my signatures through door knocking [and] by listening to residents who say they want new leadership,” she said.
“I am very encouraged by the residents of Everett, who are waiting for a new vision and a real advocate for everyone at the state House,” Adrien said. “The past few days at events and at doors have been inspiring for me to continue working hard.”
Despite a published report saying otherwise, Adrien took out nomination papers for the 28th Middlesex District on Feb. 26th and is officially on the ballot as of March 9th—a period of just three weeks.
If McGonagle is eventually certified to appear on the ballot, it sets up a rematch against Adrien whom he in the Democratic primary in 2016. McGonagle bested Adrien by just more than 600 votes out of nearly 3,000 cast—an impressive showing for a first-time candidate against an incumbent in the Democratic primary in 2016.
To date, it seems McGonagle’s knock on Adrien is that she is educated—a curious strategy indeed. “You can have as many degrees as you want or claim to be the smartest person in the room, but what really matter are relationships,” McGonagle said at a recent Everett Democratic Party caucus. Adrien holds a bachelor’s degree from Bentley University and is currently a MBA candidate at the Boston University Questrom School of Business. It’s unclear if attacking his opponent’s education will be a continuing strategy for McGonagle.
“As the first in my immediate family to obtain a college degree, I know what these sacrifices look like firsthand, and will never forget my roots,” Adrien said in response. “I will never be ashamed of my education. I will always thank my parents, my mentors, my professors who gave me the courage to succeed and believed in me.”
Adrien no doubt comes in as the underdog with most of Everett’s establishment elected officials likely to close ranks around the incumbent. It’s that sort of insular thinking that leaves Everett without the type of dynamic, fresh and energetic leadership it needs.