When Concord’s Mara Dolan learned at a young age of Shirley Chisholm running for U.S. President in 1972, she was excited at the prospect of the nation’s first female Commander in Chief. But when she heard that Chisholm might not garner enough votes because of her gender and skin color, Dolan immediately believed that something was amiss.
“I didn’t think that was right and ever since then I have felt a strong civic responsibility,” she told Patch.
After years of practicing law and involving herself in community efforts, Dolan officially threw herself into the race to replace Susan Fargo’s State Senate seat. Dolan joins a growing field including Weston’s Joe Mullin, Lexington's Mike Barrett and Chelmsford’s Alex Buck, as well as Waltham’s Tim King, who is mulling a possible run. But Dolan believes that she will stand out due to her strong political convictions, her work ethic and her dedication to the Third Middlesex district.
Finishing college as a single mom, Dolan made a promise to hold off on politics until her daughter was at least 18, choosing to focus on parenthood and her law career in the meantime. With Dolan’s daughter now a senior at Franklin Pierce College, Dolan believes the time is right to jump in and try to provide others with what she and her daughter were afforded previously.
“By living in Concord, I was able to give my daughter open doors at the library, a safe environment and good schools,” she said. “I want to give everyone in this district a chance to have that experience.”
Dolan, a registered Democrat, acknowledges that with a tough economy, such goals can be an uphill battle, but she related that she is more than ready to tackle the mission, believing that local jobs are one of the first places to start.
“The Republicans have wrongly run as the ‘good for jobs’ party, but they are really only protecting a small sector,” she said, referencing large corporations.
Dolan continued that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle currently look only at the surface of companies and what they produce. But she argues that people need to look deeper into how companies take care of their employees, whether or not they have deep ties to Massachusetts and are less likely to go elsewhere because of tax breaks, how much they give back to the community and other considerations that would support a local economy beyond buying and selling.
“A happy employee equals a more profitable business,” she said. “We need to recognize that a local business is not just about the money it makes, but that it is a part of the fabric of who we are.”
Dolan related that she would go after economic development on day one as State Senator.
“People need jobs and people deserve jobs,” she said.
As the host of Concord Community Television talk show Right Here, Right Now, Dolan is accustomed to speaking with guests about a wide variety of subjects and one hot button issue that she has followed closely of late is that of the MBTA’s proposed service cuts, which she calls “terrible.”
“We need to build on our public transit system, not tear it down,” said Dolan.
On the subject of outsourcing school buses, a subject that hits home for Concord residents, Dolan believes that families feel safer with a bus driver they know, someone who becomes a part of the community and knows the students well.
Dolan also believes that her experience in law will allow her to reach across the aisle and see situations from both points of view. However, she does not plan to be distracted by her current profession and said that she would be a full-time senator. Leading up to Election Day, she also hopes to debate the other candidates as often as possible.
“I want to listen to the constituents and represent the district in the way it should be represented,” she said. “For me, this is a labor of love.”