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  • Mary Ellen Gambon - Wicked Local Stoughton

Philips pushes onto the Hill

The 8th Norfolk District will have a new state representative as staff director Ted Philips is in line to replace his boss, Rep. Louis Kafka, who is retiring after 30 years in the role.

Philips, Kafka's longtime staff director on Beacon Hill, bested community activist Andrew Flowers, of Walpole, by a 52-48% margin, with some absentee ballots still to be counted, in the state Democratic primary Tuesday, Sept. 1.

“If it’s possible to be excited and exhausted at the same time, I am,” said Philips, a Sharon resident.

Philips still needs to win the general election in November, where he'll be running unopposed, as there were no Republican candidates on Tuesday.

Philips won on the strength he showed in his hometown of Sharon, while actually losing to Flowers in the other three towns in the district. The entire town of Sharon is in the 8th Norfolk, but only parts of the other communities are in the district - four precincts in Stoughton, two in Walpole, and one in Mansfield.

In total, Philips received 5,315 votes, while Flowers got 4,944. Sharon tipped the scale as 3,394 ballots went for Philips with 1,845 for Flowers. Flowers won majorities in Stoughton (1,481 to 1,383), Walpole (1,246 to 204) and Mansfield (372 to 334).

Philips said that, while the issues of the COVID-19 and racial equity in the wake of George Floyd’s death during a police arrest took precedence early in the race, he believes the electorate voted for him because they ultimately were looking for an experienced leader.

“But I think the overriding issues for voters were transportation and economic development, things that I have been working on already,” he said.

He called 2020 a “strange year that hasn’t been good for anybody,” noting that voters were looking for someone who could help them weather the storm.

He will be working with Kafka to help constituents who are trying to figure out what to do without the unemployment benefits they had been counting on from the federal government.

“I’m going to be right back at my desk on Monday helping out the people of the district,” Philips said the day after the election. “It’s been an honor to be working with Rep. Kafka for the past 15 years. And I am ready to serve as the next state representative for this great district."

“Then in January, I will be working on the joint rules reform that I have been trying to nudge through the process,” Philips added.

He also hopes to be assigned to the Transportation Committee, but he said the committee assignments will depend upon who will be elected Speaker of the House.

Philips also thanked the people of his hometown of Sharon for vaulting him to victory.

“They really came out big for me, and I really appreciate it,” he said. “I really want to thank everyone who voted for me. And for those who didn’t, I want to convince them that I will do a great job in serving them as their state rep.”

He added that he was impressed with the voter turnout of more than 5,000. This showed the impact of mail-in ballots as well as the importance of the race to the district.


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