Haverhill Rep. Andy X. Vargas made it official today—he will seek the 1st Essex District State Senate seat expected to be vacated next year by Sen. Diana DiZoglio.
Vargas put ongoing speculation to rest, providing a list of local and state endorsements and revealed he has a bankroll of $90,000 to launch his candidacy. Upon election, he said he would be the first Dominican-American to serve in the state Senate. In a campaign video, Vargas talks about his family’s roots.
“My family came here because they believed you could make it in the Merrimack Valley. Their ambition is one that so many share—that people can work hard through tough times for a better life for their kids—but it’s also a dream that for years has felt increasingly more difficult to achieve.”
Vargas, a Democrat, is the only declared candidate so far in the senate race. DiZoglio announced in June that she will seek the office of state auditor being vacated next year by Suzanne M. Bump. The election is a year away.
Vargas got his political start in 2015 at age 22 when he ran for, and was elected to, a seat on the Haverhill City Council. Two years later, he won a special election to replace longtime Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, who resigned to work in the private sector. The House seat is the only legislative district located entirely within Haverhill.
He said today he received endorsements for his Senate run from fellow Reps. Christina Minicucci, Frank Moran and Tram Nguyen. On the Senate side, he was endorsed by Sens. Brendan Crighton, Julian Cyr, Sal DiDomenico, Barry Finegold and Adam Gomez.
Closer to home, Vargas received the blessings of Haverhill City Council President Melinda E. Barrett, Vice President Colin F. LePage and Councilors John A. Mitchitson, Thomas J. Sullivan, Timothy J. Jordan, Michael S. McGonagle, Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien and William J. Macek; Methuen Councilor Nicholas DiZoglio, North Andover Selectmember Janice Phillips and North Andover Town Moderator Mark DiSalvo.
In his announcement video, Vargas further spells out his motivation.
“I’m running to do what generation upon generation in this community have always done. To take the aspirations of those that came before us and bring people together so that everyone can truly make it in Massachusetts,” he said.
Citing his legislative accomplishments, he said he brought nearly $3 million to Haverhill in his first nine months in office alone. He has served on a number of committees, including Ways and Means, Education, Public Health and Economic Development, where he serves as vice chair. He added he led and passed legislation on civics education, substance abuse, gun violence prevention, housing and other measures.
Vargas lives in downtown Haverhill with his wife Rikelma and puppy, Merengue.