Service vs. Celebrity

I've been posing for a lot of photos lately. It's just a thing that happens when you run for office. My kids sometimes roll their eyes at how much they're seeing mom's picture these days, and I struggle with it a bit myself: It's a sudden low-level celebrity, and at this point it feels very undeserved. I know it's part and parcel of a political campaign, so I've made uneasy peace with it, but it has also made me consider the power, and danger, of the "photo op"-- and the important difference between striking a pose and getting real work done. Continue reading

Our Legislature has a Spending Problem

Late Thursday night, while many of the taxpayers in the Commonwealth slept, the Massachusetts Senate pulled a few fast ones. First, and expectedly, it tacked on another $76 million in spending to an already bloated budget. No spending plan is rich enough for the Legislature these days, so  Continue reading

Leadership Is a Full Time Job

LEADERSHIP IS A FULL TIME JOBA little more than three months have passed since I formally launched my campaign to represent Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Hampden and Monson in the Second Hampden District of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. During this time, I’ve had the chance to meet hundreds of people and gain a lot of new perspective on the issues confronting families across the region. Some of those challenges don’t surprise me: lack of economic opportunity, the burdens of health problems and paying for healthcare, growing strains on municipal budgets and school resources, and the impact of the opioid crisis on individuals, families and communities. Continue reading

We Need Sunshine - on our Legislature

We Need Sunshine - on our Legislature One of the many reasons people are frustrated with politics today is because they see politicians holding themselves to different standards than the people they are paid to serve.  They impose health care laws on everyone but make themselves exempt, they give themselves a 40% pay raise while the average salaries have remained stagnant for years, and they drive around in cars with custom license plates denoting that they are somehow special and should be treated differently than the rest of us.   A prime example of this here in Massachusetts is a 2016 update to our Open Meeting and Public Records laws that failed to address the fact that our Legislature is exempt from universal transparency laws.  This means that these transparency laws – often referred to as “Sunshine Laws” - apply to all city and town governments across the Commonwealth, but do not apply to our House and Senate.  When they were reforming the laws, instead of ending the exemption they created a “Special Legislative Commission” to study the issue. The report was due at the end of 2017 and to no surprise to anyone they extended their own deadline to December of this year.  Continue reading

The Case for Competition

The Case for Competition in Our ElectionsI was disappointed but not surprised when I saw the recent news that many local legislators are runningunopposed in the coming election season. We are all justly proud of our state, but too often, Massachusetts legislators are getting a free pass when it comes to job performance. Continue reading

“Fiscal responsibility and social responsibility don’t have to be at odds.”

Former MassLive President announces candidacy for state Rep. Feb. 1, 2018 | G. Michael Traditionally, Longmeadow and the 2nd Hampden District was a Republican stronghold when it came to its state representative and Allison Werder will be working to return the district to the Republican side of the aisle. Werder, the former president of MassLive, is challenging state Rep. Brian Ashe. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Werder said to Reminder Publications. “I have a lot to offer.” This is her first run for office, but Werder explained she was raised by parents who both served in public office and it was part of her upbringing. She described her politics as being a “Massachusetts Republican.”  Werder explained, “Fiscal responsibility and social responsibility don’t have to be at odds.” Werder believes that on issues such as the economy, transportation and the impact made on local communities by MGM, the district deserves better. “I will work harder to get things done for Western Massachusetts,” she added. She readily acknowledged the Western Massachusetts delegation is “outnumbered” in the House and that the legislators must work together to get the needed attention and resources for the region. “I don’t know if it [the district] is getting that right now,” she said. Continue reading

Being called an "Underdog" will just make me work harder

Briefings: In 2nd Hampden, A Werder in Edgewise… W Werder up! (via Facebook/Werder campaign) JAN 19, 2018 by WMASSPI in 2ND HAMPDEN The Pioneer Valley’s first legislative contest formally began today with a Republican announcing her bid for a Democrat-held seat. Allison Werder, the former President of Masslive, launched her campaign for the 2ndHampden House District Thursday.  The move comes several weeks after opening a campaign account and a coy statement about her intentions. To win, Werder will need to knock off Brian Ashe, who is seeking a sixth term in the well-to-do district running along the Connecticut border. In a biographical press release, Werder pitched her business background and community activities. However, she enters as an underdog. The prevailing political winds do not favor Republicans now, especially in suburban districts such as hers. Continue reading

Former MassLive president Allison Werder mulling Republican run against state Rep. Brian Ashe

By Shira Schoenberg Allison Werder, the former president of MassLive, is considering a run for state representative. Werder, 47, a Republican living in Longmeadow, formed a campaign committee to explore a run for the 2nd Hampden seat currently held by Rep. Brian Ashe, D-Longmeadow. "I'm considering it," Werder said in an interview. "I'm having conversations, seeing what the opportunity is." Werder said she plans to make a final decision by early February. The district includes Longmeadow, Hampden, Monson and parts of East Longmeadow. Ashe has held the House seat since 2008 and ran unopposed in the last two elections. He confirmed Wednesday that he plans to run for re-election. Werder was hired in 2013 as president of MassLive, which is the statewide website affiliated with the The Republican. MassLive and The Republican are separate units of the same parent company, Advance Local. Werder stepped down in February 2017. In 2016, Werder co-founded WIT: Women Innovators and Trailblazers, an initiative created by the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts and Valley Venture Mentors that provides funding and mentoring to female-led startups in Western Massachusetts. She remains active in that organization today. Werder said she believes more women need to run for office. "I just think we need a seat at the table," Werder said. "Women's perspective in politics is a valuable one." Werder said her work at MassLive and her family background have prepared her to run for office. Her mother was a Republican state senator in Western Pennsylvania. Her father is a judge. Before coming to MassLive, Werder lived in New Jersey, where she worked as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Parade Magazine. She joined Parade in 2002 after working for Time Inc.'s Money and People magazines. She is a Pennsylvania native. She earned a bachelor's degree from Notre Dame and a master's of business administration from Georgetown University. After she left MassLive, Werder said she took time off to spend the summer with her children. She has been involved with local nonprofits, including Valley Venture Mentors, has consulted for local organizations, and has been exploring a run for state representative. In November 2017, Werder donated $1,000 to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and $500 to Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. Her husband, Craig Werder, donated $1,000 to Baker in 2016. Asked about Werder's potential run, Ashe said, "That's what our political system is based on, giving people the opportunity to step up and run. If she thinks she wants to take a shot at this race or any other race, good for her." Continue reading