Eric Dahlberg admits he never dreamed of running for office.
But the fiscal conservative from Chelmsford has been so fed up with Beacon Hill, he decided to try and make a difference.
Dahlberg is the Republican candidate for State Senate, Third Middlesex District, which includes Precincts 1 and 4 for Sudbury.
"(Running for office) has been a phenomenal experience," Dahlberg said last Friday at Starbucks during a meet-and-greet with Sudbury residents. "I love public policy and I love to serve."
Among the changes he promises to make is reconnecting with the public. Dahlberg says he's heard complaints about incumbent Susan Fargo's lack of response to phone calls and e-mails, and pledges to change that if elected.
"She's non-responsive," he said. "We need someone to step up and do the job. I will get back to my constituents within a day unless I need time to research an issue. I will hold office in each town of the district at least once every two weeks. And it will be me, not someone on my staff."
Fargo's chief of staff, Don Siriani, who has held that position since 1997, snapped back by saying all members of the senator's staff respond to her constituents weekly.
"It's not unusual to refer to what an incumbent does not have enough of," he said late Thursday morning. "We respond to our constituents every day. The responses we get back are overwhelmingly positive.
"Our staff is smaller, and our expenses are smaller compared to a decade ago. But we are dedicated," he added. "We do more work. And we've made savings to our budget, especially after 9/11. When the senator travels she doesn't ask to be reimburssed. It's all out of pocket.
"We have a solid staff with a deep level of understanding of our constituents."
Dahlberg, who earned his bachelor's degree in history at Dartmouth College and his master's degree in public policy at Georgetown University, said he would also step down after three terms and not take a pension.
"And I won't take a dime from lobbyists and political action committees," he added. "I have already given back to the PACs that have donated."
Once in office, Dahlberg, who is currently a consultant in the health care policy industry, said he would lead by example. That would include a per diem only (he would refuse a salary), taking in the commuter rail, and reading every word of every bill before taking a position on it.
Dahlberg said once in office, he would fight to lower the sales and income tax rates, impose an immediate wage and hiring freeze across state government, repeal the anti-privatization of the "Pacheco Law," and empower cities and towns to make changes to their health plans.
"By giving cities and towns the authority to design their health plans, we could save $100 million per year," he said.
More on Dahlberg's campaign can be found at www.dahlbergforsenate.com.