DiZoglio Moves Up to State Senate; Vargas Plans for First Full-Term in House

Haverhill City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O'Brien congratulated state Rep. Andy Vargas on his election to a second term Tuesday, Nov. 6 at Maria's Restaurant. (WHAV News photograph)

State Rep. Andy X. Vargas with Haverhill City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien last night in downtown Haverhill. (WHAV News photograph.)

There’s a significant change within Haverhill’s statehouse delegation as state Rep. Diana DiZoglio becomes the district’s senator come January.

DiZoglio succeeds three-term state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, who chose not to seek re-election. The district spans from parts of North Andover to Salisbury. She told WHAV she wants to continue the work she began in the House to address veterans issues, education, senior care, the opioid crisis, transportation and infrastructure.

“We will have a stronger voice for this region, and that is the goal,” she said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Andy Vargas easily won re-election to his first full-term, running unopposed. Vargas garnered 10,597 votes, according to unofficial results recorded by City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas. He told WHAV that even as a freshman legislator, he managed to have key pieces of legislation passed. Noting rising rental costs in Haverhill, he said housing will be a major focus for him during the next two years

“It’s a two-prong strategy. Obviously, we want to build more to balance the supply and demand scale, but we also want to make sure that we’re doing some other things to incentivize cities and towns to build the right type of housing—a good mix of market rate and affordable,” he said.

Other priorities, Vargas said, are to “strengthen democracy” by modernizing voting equipment and election security and addressing the opioid drug epidemic. “Ensuring that everyone has access to treatment regardless of the health care coverage that they have.”

He said overdose deaths have dropped thanks to the lifesaving drug Narcan, but more treatment options are required.

Asked about Haverhill-specific priorities, Vargas said the state’s education formula is “antiquated” and he seeks to ensure “Haverhill gets its fair share.”