Out and About – news and press

August 13, 2018

The Working Families Party Endorses Mary Ann Stewart

Stress that Mary Ann is “The Real Deal Progressive”

WFPlogoDemocratic State Representative candidate in the 15th Middlesex district, Mary Ann Stewart, receives the endorsement of the Working Families Party. The Working Families Party joins Progressive Massachusetts, Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts, Mass Alliance (a coalition of over twenty-five leading progressive advocacy organizations including LGBTQ rights, pro-choice, labor, and environmental groups), local progressive advocacy group Woburn Welcomes, and Mass Voters for Animals in endorsing Mary Ann.  In addition, Mary Ann has the national recommendations of Moms Demand Action and #VoteProChoice.

“I am proud to earn the endorsement of the Working Families Party,” said Stewart. “I believe the Commonwealth is hungry for bold leadership and it requires elected political leaders who put forward a vision of change, and energized people to prod them forward. I will fight for an economy and a society in which all people can thrive. That means creating good jobs at decent wages. Investing in public goods, from schools to roads and bridges to water systems to parks and defending the rights and safety of all people, including immigrants and people of color. By their endorsement, the Working Families Party understands that representation matters and can transform people’s lives.”

Of Mary Ann, New England Political Director of the Working Families Party, Georgia Hollister Isman said:

“Mary Ann is the real deal progressive. We can trust her to fight for economic and racial justice in the State House, because that is just what she has been doing already. We are proud to support her.”

The Working Families Party is a national political organization that is recruiting, training, and electing the next generation of progressive leaders to office. The WFP plans to work in more than 1,000 races this year, large and small, in an effort to elect more progressive leaders and end Republican control of Congress and in state houses.

The Working Families Party endorsement attests that Mary Ann is the standout progressive candidate with the values and credentials to enact and advocate for positive change, in the 15th Middlesex District race.

The Democratic Primary election will be held on Tuesday, September 4th, 2018. The 15th Middlesex district consists of all of Lexington and Woburn wards one and seven. For more information on Mary Ann Stewart’s campaign, voters can visit www.MaryAnnStewart.org.


Letter to the Editor, Lexington Minuteman.

I’m Voting for Mary Ann

I’m voting for Mary Ann Stewart because she has the values, commitment and experience to make a difference in the State House. Of the five candidates vying in the Democratic primary, Mary Ann is the one capable of effecting change.

A lot of good legislation was left on the table this session. Among the most egregious lapses were the failure of the State House leadership to advance the Safe Communities Act and overhaul the state’s education funding formula, as well as stripping important measures from clean energy and climate legislation, despite the senate’s unanimous passage of a comprehensive energy bill. In commenting on his disappointment at the compromise energy bill which ultimately prevailed, Senator Jamie Eldridge emphasized, “the influence of corporate, fossil fuel, and utility lobbyists on energy policy” … and concluded “there is a serious problem with democracy in Massachusetts,…”

We need a change in the House leadership. Mary Ann is the one who recognizes that need and is willing to fight for it. She understands the importance of harnessing the power of grassroots movements and will contribute to a strong Progressive Caucus.

She speaks and lives her values. She’s fought for education equity; advocated for minimum wage and paid medical leave. Her experience and commitment have been recognized by statewide coalitions.

Mary Ann has received the endorsement of Mass Alliance, Progressive Democrats of MA (PDM) and Progressive MA. She was appointed by Deval Patrick to the State Board of Education and was recognized for her progressive stance by being asked by Raise Up Massachusetts to be one of ten original signers of the Fair Share Amendment.

Please join me in voting Tuesday, September 4 for the Bold Progressive, Mary Ann Stewart.

Jeanne Krieger, Webster Road


Letter to the Editor, Lexington Minuteman.

Vote for Mary Ann Stewart for State Representative in the Democratic Primary on Tuesday Sept. 4.

Mary Ann Stewart holds to the principle that we share responsibility for public education, as we do for public transit, safe roads, public safety, and all the many services we rely.

My support for Ms. Stewart goes back to 2007 when she testified before the Joint Committee on Public Health. Talking about the impact of commercialism in schools, she spoke against moves to increase school funds that jeopardized the health of young people, such as having soda vending machines in school cafeterias. She called attention to boxtops-for-schools coupon programs that encourage consumers to buy boxes of brand-named cereals—a practice that benefits corporate profits whether or not it meaningfully benefits schools.

In 2011, active with the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Mary Ann started advocating and testifying on behalf of media literacy, a truly major issue for our time. In 2013, she helped launch Media Literacy Now. MLN works in Massachusetts and nationally, and has been instrumental in passing six new laws in five states. Teaching media literacy—knowing how to think critically about media in all its forms—is a cornerstone of the Act to Promote and Enhance Civic Engagement. The act was endorsed by Department of Education and passed by the Massachusetts legislature this session.

We need Mary Ann Stewart in the State House. We need a bold yet pragmatic thinker as representative who won’t just work within the status quo, but will see what we need down the road and work to move people in power toward it.

Margaret Heitz, Marrett Road


Campaign Notebook, Lexington Minuteman.

Candidates for Lexington, Woburn legislative seat face off at IAL forum

With just one month remaining before Lexington and Woburn voters decide the next state representative for the 15th Middlesex district, the Democratic contenders gathered for a candidate forum at the Lexington Community Center on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Five Lexington residents – Michelle Ciccolo, Matthew Cohen, Joseph Lahiff, Mary Ann Stewart, and William Sweeney – are running to represent Lexington and Wards 1 and 7 in Woburn. Since no Republican will be on the November ballot, the Sept. 4 primary winner is all but assured of claiming the seat being vacated by state Rep. Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington, who is retiring at the end of the year. Write-in candidates for all parties will be allowed in the November general election.

About 80 people attended Saturday’s event, which was cosponsored by Indian Americans of Lexington and Getting Involved Group, a collaboration of Indian American Town Meeting members encouraging civic engagement in the community. Moderators Ravish Kumar and Sanjay Padaki posed a series of questions, including those submitted by audience members. Here are some of the topics addressed.

Gun laws

Candidates were asked about enforcing guns laws, preventing school shootings and 3D printing of guns.

As a former police officer and school resource officer, Lahiff said Massachusetts gun laws were “the greatest in the nation” and called 3D printing of guns “terrifying.” Lahiff favors funding for school services that would support students and encourage them to communicate their problems.

While 3D printing of guns is now on hold, Stewart noted that some people have already downloaded the instructions. Calling schools “underresourced” and “overpoliced,” Stewart favors mental health workers in schools, social and emotional learning, school counselors and resources for teachers to help students recover from trauma or other events outside school.

Cohen said 3D printing of guns is “absurd” and should be tracked. Cohen supports reviewing the assault weapons ban, noting that the current definition of an assault weapon leaves the state open to legal challenges. He wants to ensure proper gun storage and treatment for people with mental health needs.

Sweeney supports extreme vetting of everyone who wants to own a firearm and closing related loopholes. He said domestic violence is a leading indicator of gun violence, adding that the state has clues to keep guns “out of the hands of the wrong people.” Sweeney does not consider 3D printing of guns a significant issue, noting the technology has been available for years.

Ciccolo said “absolutely no to 3D printing of guns.” She said Massachusetts gun laws should be strengthened, including controlling how guns are stored. She favors mandatory insurance for gun owners and the option to sue gun owners whose weapons are misused in crimes. Noting the Board of Selectmen’s involvement in Lexington’s mental health initiative, she supports mental health and wellness programs for students.

Cremation services

As demographics of communities change, many ethnic communities need better access to cremation services. Candidates were asked whether they would support a measure providing incentives to communities to address “death with dignity.”

The Board of Selectmen is currently addressing this issue, Ciccolo said, looking into adding a crematorium at Westview Cemetery. Ciccolo also favors working with the surrounding communities on a regional approach.

Lahiff said he was not aware of the issue, would learn more about it and would support funding for death with dignity initiatives.

Stewart said she is committed to supporting constituents’ desires to die with dignity. She favors collaborating with Lexington’s state Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, and other neighboring senators and representatives to move in the same direction with the issue on the state level.

Noting that what happens after death is important to both Indian and Jewish cultures, Cohen said he would support a death with dignity initiative. He favors both broad regional partnerships and a state-level approach for all populations.

Sweeney said he supports death with dignity and cited the issue as an example of people coming together and having government work for them, adding that, as an atheist, he plans to be cremated.

Autonomous vehicles

State agencies and 14 Massachusetts communities recently signed an agreement to facilitate autonomous vehicle testing. Candidates were asked about the 15th Middlesex district entering the agreement.

Stewart said she was not familiar with the testing program and would want to check with Lexington and Woburn officials for their thoughts. Noting the need to think about policies and legislation, she said she would be eager to participate in the process.

While supporting innovation, Cohen expressed concerns about public safety issues, especially hacking. He said it was too soon to put large numbers of autonomous vehicles on the road before addressing infrastructure, public safety and security.

Sweeney said artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning represent the new economy. He had not read the agreement but said the community should participate in the initiative, in part to have control over the how the program evolves.

Ciccolo said she suspected the suburbs lacked adequate GPS and mapping for autonomous vehicles, adding that she would ask technology companies to determine whether the area would be an ideal place for testing. She said autonomous vehicles could be a “positive gamechanger” for the transportation system, and she would want to be active in developing smart legislation.

Referencing a coworker who said true innovation “scares the heck out of everybody,” Lahiff said autonomous vehicles scare him. Noting that the vehicles could be a great boon, he said they could also hurt people. Lahiff said he wants to look more deeply into the topic, adding that he was intrigued.

Wicked Local’s coverage of the 15th Middlesex race is HERE.


Letter to the Editor, Lexington Minuteman.

Vote Mary Ann Stewart, State Rep

I am writing to urge you to join me in supporting Mary Ann Stewart in the Sept. 4 election for State Representative. Mary Ann is the candidate with a proven track record in providing the bold progressive leadership that I am looking for in Lexington’s representative in the legislature.

Many critical issues are confronting our state. And our legislature is too often dominated by “centrist” leaders and special-interest lobbyists who move slowly and modestly or not at all.

If you share my sense of urgency about these critical issues – from climate change to equitable educational opportunity for all to protecting our vulnerable populations to ensuring universal, affordable health care, and more – then I hope you’ll agree that what we need in the legislature is a bold leader who shares our values and who has a proven ability to build coalitions to put those values into action.

I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Mary Ann, both on local issues in Lexington and as part of statewide progressive coalitions, where she has consistently demonstrated both the values and the skills that I’m looking for in my representative.  

Deval Patrick recognized those same strengths when he appointed Mary Ann to the state Board of Education. The Raise Up Mass coalition recognized them in asking Mary Ann to take a leading role in the fight for the Fair Share amendment. Leading progressive groups, including the Mass Alliance and Progressive Democrats of Mass. recognized them in endorsing Mary Ann’s candidacy.

Mary Ann is the only candidate with proven ability to build the power of progressives and to advance a value-based agenda. Those are the skills we need in our state representative. Please join me in supporting Mary Ann’s candidacy.

Peter Enrich, Clarke Street


Letter to the Editor, Lexington Minuteman.

Mary Ann Stewart for State Representative

I am not only supporting Mary Ann Stewart for State Representative, I’m doing all I can to help her get elected. She has been a leader for progressive causes for 20 plus years and I’ve worked with her more than ten of those. She is value driven. She is never willing to compromise her beliefs, but is able to come to agreements with others on how to implement those beliefs into legislation. THE progressive in this race, she has been endorsed by Mass Alliance (a collaboration of more than 25 progressive organizations), The Progressive Democrats of MA, Progressive MA & Woburn Welcomes. She has been recommended by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and #VoteProChoice.

Despite 70% of the State House of Representatives being Democrats, just last week, Massachusetts became the last state in the country without a budget largely because Speaker DeLeo doesn’t want it to include Safe Communities Act provisions. English Language Learners and low-income students were cut out of a crucial education funding formula update. Also, the Senate Clean Energy bill, which would have been one of the strongest in the country, was watered down. We NEED people in the State House who will stand up to the Speaker and fight for education, immigrants, revenue, transportation, the environment and a new culture based on progress not fear. Mary Ann Stewart is that person in this race. She is the only one who has said publicly she will strengthen the voice of the progressive caucus and challenge The Speaker when appropriate.

And she is the only one who has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to fight for her values. Please join me in voting for Mary Ann on Sept. 4. Find out more about Mary Ann at MaryAnnStewart.org or read her blog MAStewartMA.blogspot.com

Bonnie Brodner, Trodden Path Lane


Letter to the Editor, Lexington Minuteman.

Support of Mary Ann Stewart for state representative

On September 4, I hope you will join me in voting for Mary Ann Stewart as our new State Representative. For decades, Mary Ann has been working with a steadfast determination to support and improve public education. She started by serving on a local PTA, then led the town-wide Lexington School Committee, and now serves on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education where she was appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick. Mary Ann also knows that quality public education cannot be separated from the larger set of challenges facing families today: healthcare, affordable housing, public transportation, worker’s rights, and climate change. I am impressed that, in addition to her work on public education, Mary Ann has been a strong and informed public advocate for affordable housing and improved public transportation. We need representatives in our State House who understand the problems faced by our citizens, and who are not afraid to speak out and offer practical solutions. Based on my own experiences in town and state politics, I believe Mary Ann is the superior candidate and she has my strongest endorsement.

Glenn P. Parker, Spring Street


Campaign Notebook, Lexington Minuteman.

Mary Ann Stewart, her husband Duncan, and their three children have lived in Lexington for 24 years. Mary Ann was elected twice to Lexington’s School Committee, served as president of Massachusetts PTA, and is Gov. Deval L. Patrick’s appointed parent representative to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Mary Ann has 20-plus years of experience advocating for children, families, public schools, workers’ rights and environmental sustainability.

Endorsements

  • SEIU Local 509
  • Working Families Party
  • Mass Alliance
  • Progressive Massachusetts
  • Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts
  • Woburn Welcomes
  • Massachusetts Voters for Animals
  • Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Candidate Distinction
  • Recommendation of #VoteProChoice

Website: maryannstewart.org

Twitter: @MAStewartMA

Facebook: facebook.com/MaryAnn4Rep/

Instagram: @mastewartma


Campaign Notebook, Lexington Minuteman.

Candidate Statement

I’m running for State Representative to expand my call to service and to extend my leadership on critical issues we face in the 15th Middlesex and beyond.

I was raised in working and middle-class neighborhoods by parents who were teachers and liberal Democrats; from them I learned persistence, the value of hard work, the importance of service, and standing up for what I believe in. I’ve served in Town Meeting since 2006 and in PTAs at local, state, and national levels. I was elected twice to School Committee and served as chair during the worst recession of our lifetime; that experience taught me the value of earnest questions and a soft heart. Governor Deval Patrick appointed me to the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2014; from that experience I’ve learned what it takes to both advocate for progressive change and navigate the body to forward that agenda on the state stage.

My husband, Duncan was born and raised in Lexington and still had deep roots in the community when we chose to move here. When we moved in as a young family twenty-four years ago it was through the affordable housing program; we lived at Emerson Gardens for five years before purchasing our forever home. After the tech bubble burst, Duncan was laid off from his job. His generous severance package carried us for a while, but eventually, we were without healthcare. With three young children I was beside myself with worry. I negotiated healthcare coverage for our family from my employer, even though I wasn’t working full-time. I’ve learned to navigate a complex system of special education services for our daughter and I know the heartbreaking loss of a loved one to opioid addiction.

It’s my family’s story that motivates me to do what I do in the community and run for public office. I believe in representation that champions quality public services people need to overcome the challenges they face everyday.

I’ve been outspoken for education equity on the state board of education and haven’t hesitated standing up for our values and our concerns: reduced testing, safe schools for LGBTQ students, Media Literacy and Civics Education, improved METCO funding, social-emotional learning, and more.

I’m proud to be a longtime activist on issues that make a difference in our communities. I’ve studied revenue options with Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts, pounded the pavement for workers’ rights, better revenue, paid family and medical leave, then the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition asked me to take the lead on better funding for public education and public transportation. I believe we should tax millionaires at a higher level, so that they are paying more of their fair share.

We need everyday people with passion, relative experience, and common sense to govern and I have the proven track record advocating for our shared values of fairness, opportunity, and equality for all people to be that person for our district.  My activism has earned me the support of leading statewide progressive organizations Progressive Massachusetts, Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts, and Mass Alliance, a coalition of over twenty unions, LGBTQ rights, pro-choice, healthcare, and environmental organizations, in addition to local progressive group Woburn Welcomes. I have also been endorsed by Massachusetts Voters for Animals, as I recognize the importance of advocating for all of Lexington and Woburn’s creatures, great and small, and national recommendations by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and #VoteProChoice.

I ask for your vote on Tuesday, September 4. Thank you.


July 10, 2018 

Mary Ann Stewart attends forum in Lexington

State representative candidate Mary Ann Stewart attended the Candidate Energy and Environment Forum on June 27 at the Cary Memorial Library in Lexington. The forum was hosted by the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition and co-sponsored by Sustainable Lexington, Lexington Green Network, Mothers Out Front and The Sierra Club. Voters were in attendance to learn about Mary Ann’s progressive stances on key issues such as climate change, environmental justice and clean energy.

Stewart, endorsed by leading statewide progressive organizations Mass Alliance coalition and Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts, and local progressive organization, Woburn Welcomes, attests that “society has a moral obligation to leave future generations with a livable planet which urgently requires a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy in order to protect our health, clean air, clean water and stem the tide of global warming.” Throughout the debate Stewart affirmed her goals to work towards environmental sustainability through the acceleration of the adoption of renewable energy, ramping down of fossil fuels, grid modernization and an allocation of resources.

As coordinator of logistics for the debate, the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition aims to educate and raise awareness about climate change and its impacts. The group promotes actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the health of our planet for future generations.

The Democratic Primary election will be held on Sept. 4. The 15th Middlesex district consists of all of Lexington and Woburn wards one and seven.

For information: MaryAnnStewart.org.


May 31, 2018 — Lexington Minuteman, Mary Ann’s Letter to the Editor

Yes for human rights

This November, basic protections for our transgender neighbors will be on the ballot in Massachusetts. We must vote YES for fairness, respect, and dignity by upholding the law to protect the rights of transgender people in public spaces.

Right now it’s illegal to discriminate against a person simply because they are transgender. A small group of opponents wants to change that and take Massachusetts backwards. Their referendum question would repeal our state law that protects transgender people from discrimination in public places, including restaurants, stores, and doctors’ offices. If the current law is repealed, transgender people will no longer have explicit protection from discrimination in all places the public is welcome. A YES vote keeps the current law as it is.

This is about human rights. Transgender people have the right to the same basic protections as everyone else—to live their lives with safety, privacy, and dignity—as provided in our Constitution. Protecting people from discrimination, including people who are transgender, is about treating all people as we want to be treated.

The law protects transgender youth, who continue to face mistreatment and bullying; repealing our state’s protections would put them at even greater risk of harassment, discrimination, and even violence. Every young person deserves a fair chance to succeed in school, in their community, and prepare for their future—including young people who are transgender.

Our nondiscrimination law is working well and it’s time to turn our focus elsewhere. No one should fear for their safety because of the color of their skin, who they love, or how they identify. Massachusetts’ nondiscrimination law allows transgender people to live their lives free from harassment and discrimination. Join me in voting YES this November to defend transgender equality in Massachusetts.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018 — MassLive | See also: Boston Herald | Worcester Telegram

Teachers will not be armed in Massachusetts classrooms, education officials say

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted Tuesday to approve a resolution opposing arming teachers.

Such a resolution was proposed by board member Ed Doherty.

The resolution has no regulatory power but states the board’s belief that arming teachers would make classrooms in Massachusetts less safe. Board members added Tuesday that teachers are hired for their expertise in education not their “skills as a security officer.”

“Personally, I stand with Ed and with the many other educators who believe that arming teachers is not the right answer,” Jeff Wulfson, acting commissioner of elementary and secondary education, said in a memorandum released before the meeting. “Traditionally, the Board has declined to take positions on public policy decisions that are not directly within its purview. But this may be one of those rare moments where even a symbolic vote is important. Massachusetts leads the nation in so many aspects of elementary and secondary education, and I would be proud to have us play a leadership role on this important issue.”

State lawmakers passed an act in 2014 prohibiting anyone beyond law enforcement officers from carrying a firearm, loaded or unloaded, on school grounds without written authorization of the board or the local school resource officer.

Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which took the lives of 17 people, a handful of lawmakers have proposed legislators to arm teachers.

President Trump supported the position during a White House meeting last month, suggesting offering a bonus to teachers who bring their firearms to school.

“You give them a little bit of a bonus, so practically for free, you have now made the school into a hardened target,” Trump said during the meeting.

A sheriff’s deputy was at Stoneman Douglas at the time of the deadly school shooting but video footage shows he never entered the school to confront the shooter. He later resigned from his position.

The idea of arming educators was popularized following the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Following the attack, which left 20 children and six school staff dead, CEO of the NRA Wayne LaPierre said, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”


Thursday, March 15, 2018 — Lexington Minuteman, Mary Ann’s letter published in the Minuteman, written as former School Committee Chair

School walkouts over guns are ‘teachable moments’

From labor protests at the turn of the 20th century to civil rights demonstrations and war protests of the 1960s and 70s, walkout demonstrations are a familiar part of American history.
Often stirring, sometimes effective, and always disruptive, it’s especially unsettling when the group walking out is youth and the place they’re walking out of is school. To many adults, this can be scary because we worry about their safety.
At the February meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Acting Commissioner Jeff Wulfson said, “We talk a lot here at this Board about the importance of teaching students about civic engagement and how democracy works. Well, this is it. This is as real as it gets. If this is not what we call a teachable moment, I don’t know what is, and I hope our educators take advantage of this opportunity to help model and teach their students about how we bring about change peacefully in a democracy.”
School is about teaching and learning and a priority for all at LHS and in all Lexington Public Schools. Research shows that activism correlates positively with their political participation, civic engagement, and commitment to their communities later in life. Will we assess ways to turn the LHS walkout into a teachable moment for students, staff, and the community, reminding everyone that student activism is a part of the learning process?
All of our nation’s schools should be safe havens, free of crime and violence. When violence disrupts that, we need to equip our students, teachers, and community with the tools necessary to continue making learning relevant.
On gun violence one thing is clear: we’re not going to change our students’ minds, they’re leading on this issue. Now, it’s up to us to listen.

March/April 2018 — Colonial Times Magazine (p.43/56)

Mary Ann Stewart announces for State Rep

Mary Ann Stewart, a longtime activist and Lexington Democrat, has announced her candidacy today for State Representative for the 15th Middlesex District. The district is currently represented by Jay Kaufman, who announced last month that he will not seek reelection when his term ends.

“We’ve been boldly represented by Jay Kaufman for more than a generation, and I heartily thank him for his service,” she said. “It has been our good fortune that Jay has been an effective leader who has tirelessly stood up for our values. His impact will be felt for many years to come.”

The 15th Middlesex District is comprised of nine precincts in Lexington and Wards 1&7 in Woburn.

“The causes Rep. Kaufman supported, and the issues we face in our district and beyond, still need a courageous leader who isn’t afraid to speak up and make change.”

Stewart says she will champion three causes for the community:

  • Fair and adequate education funding for each child.
  • Responsible energy policy that protects and sustains our environment and natural resources, as it reduces the impact of climate change.
  • Social justice and equal opportunity for economically disadvantaged, incarcerated, and vulnerable populations regardless of gender, religious identity, race, place of origin, or sexual orientation.

Stewart has been called upon to play a leadership role in key areas. After holding office in local, state, and national PTA associations, and on the Lexington School Committee, Governor Deval Patrick appointed her in 2014 as the parent representative on the state Board of Education. The Raise Up Massachusetts coalition asked her to serve as one of the lead signers of its Fair Share Amendment initiative, which establishes a new “millionaires’ tax” to provide needed funding for education and transportation.

“Serving as a state representative will allow me to further extend my leadership on issues of critical importance to our families and our future,” Stewart says. “After consulting friends, neighbors, and my family, I am energized and ready to accept this challenge. With the help of voters in the 15th Middlesex, I can succeed.”

Mary Ann Stewart has been an elected member of Lexington’s Town Meeting for the past 12 years and worked on the Revenue Working Group of Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts beginning in 2007. She has been a prominent voice in education, serving on Governor Deval Patrick’s Whole Child Subcommittee, as a twice-elected School Committee member and Chair, and president of Massachusetts PTA. She is currently serving as Governor Patrick’s Parent Representative appointee on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and completed a two-year term as the Northeast Area Director for the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), to which she was nominated by her State Board colleagues and elected by Northeast Area State Board peers.


January 29, 2018 — South Coast Today | Additional coverage from Worcester Telegram; Boston Globe; WBUR; Bay State Banner; Bay State Parent | I voted for Angelica Infante-Green, who was a breath of fresh air (and represented an opportunity unlike any we shall soon have again), but I support the vote of the Board, going forward, and congratulate Jeff Riley as the next commissioner of education. He brings certain strengths from working in the field (and he’ll need a lot of support to reset from the field to the state level, namely, legislative and policy work) but he knows where he needs to grow and where he needs to fill in around him and says he’s committed to that work. With time, he’ll be shaped by this role and be a fine commissioner. I wish him well.

Jeff Riley, the superintendent and receiver of Lawrence Public Schools, is on track become the state’s next education commissioner after an 8-3 vote by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Monday.

The board broke for a recess after its vote to recommend Riley for the post. Riley beat out fellow finalists Angelica Infante-Green of the New York State Department of Education and Penny Schwinn of the Texas Education Agency.

Board member Martin West said the decision was “a very close call,” with Riley “a notch stronger.” He said Riley was “able to articulate more than the other candidates a coherent vision for the role of the state education agency.”

Riley will succeed the late Mitchell Chester, who served as commissioner until his death last June. Chester tapped Riley as Lawrence receiver in January 2012.

Before that, Riley was academic superintendent and chief innovation officer at Boston Public Schools. He has also worked as a teacher in Baltimore and served as principal of middle schools in Boston and Tyngsborough.

Education Secretary James Peyser described Riley as an innovative thinker and someone who can build bridges, calling him “one of those very unusual people who can anger and please all people at the same time.”

Peyser said the decision was not based on Riley, the sole local finalist, being a known quantity but being the “right person in the right place at the right time.”

Peyser, West, Chairman Paul Sagan, and board members Katherine Craven, Ed Doherty, Michael Moriarty, James Morton, Hannah Trimarchi voted to recommend Riley as the next commissioner. Amanda Fernandez, Margaret McKenna and Mary Ann Stewart voted for Infante-Green.


December 26, 2018 — Lexington Minuteman

Stewart for State Representative

As a longtime activist and Lexington resident, I announce my candidacy for state representative for the 15th Middlesex District.

We’ve been boldly represented by Jay Kaufman for more than a generation and I heartily thank him for his service. Jay has been an effective leader who has tirelessly stood up for our values. His impact will be felt for many years to come.

The causes Jay supported — and the issues we face in our district and beyond — still need a courageous leader who isn’t afraid to speak up and make change. I will champion:

— Fair and adequate education funding for each child

— Responsible energy policy that protects and sustains our environment and natural resources

— Improved healthcare for all

— Social justice and equal opportunity for economically disadvantaged, incarcerated, and vulnerable populations regardless of race, gender, religious identity, place of origin, or sexual orientation

I’ve been called upon to play a leadership role in key areas. Beginning in 2007, I worked on the Revenue Working Group with Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts. After holding office in local, state, and national PTA associations, and on the Lexington School Committee, Governor Deval Patrick appointed me as the parent representative on the state Board of Education. The Raise Up Massachusetts coalition asked me to serve as one of the lead signers of its Fair Share Amendment initiative, which establishes a new “millionaires’ tax” to provide needed funding for education and transportation.

Serving as a state representative will allow me to further extend my leadership on issues of critical importance to our families and our future. I am energized and ready to accept this challenge. With the help of voters in the 15th Middlesex, I can succeed.


November 13, 2015, NASBE (National Association of State Boards of Education)

Massachusetts’ Mary Ann Stewart Becomes Northeastern Area Director of NASBE’s Board of Directors

Alexandria, VA–Mary Ann Stewart, a member of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, was elected northeastern area director of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) at the association’s annual conference in Baltimore last month.

Stewart is a champion of children, youth, and families. Her experience in organizational development and passion for advocacy and creativity has increased engagement in professional and volunteer settings alike. A parent of three, Stewart was appointed in 2014 by Governor Deval Patrick to serve as the state board’s parent representative.

Stewart is also an elected representative to Lexington’s Town Meeting (since 2006) and a twice-elected member and chair of the Lexington School Committee (2009-2014). From 2010 to 2012, Stewart served as president of the Massachusetts PTA and remains a member-at-large on the state PTA board. She also serves as a member of the National Advisory Council of Media Literacy Now.

“I’m excited to participate in the governance of NASBE,” said Stewart. “It’s an honor to have been elected by colleagues of the northeast member states, and I look forward to liaising on their behalf to the leadership and management of the association.”