Those who have worked with retiring state Rep. Linda Dean Campbell received advance word of her plans and wish her the best going forward.
Campbell, whose district will be enlarged to cover Methuen and more of Haverhill as part of U.S. Census-forced redistricting, told confidants Tuesday of her plans not to seek re-election to the 15th Essex District. Her colleague, Rep. Andy X. Vargas, with whom she would have shared representation of Haverhill after redistricting, was one who received early word.
“Rep. Dean Campbell has been the dean of our delegation and a dear friend. I will miss her in the House, but I know her work on behalf of the public interest will continue. We need more public servants like Linda and it has been an honor to serve with her,” he said.
In a statement, Campbell said, “I promised that I would offer, as I did as an Army officer, complete dedication to truth and the wellbeing of our communities, the Commonwealth and our nation. I am proud and grateful to have fulfilled that promise.”
She said her decision to leave public office at this time was a difficult judgment. “As a family, we recently had conversations, and I concluded that, for the present, I want a pause to spend more time with my family. They have supported me with their love, time and talent for 20 years straight in elected office. I will remain fully engaged this next year to serve my constituents in Haverhill and Methuen and the Commonwealth. Many challenges are before us.”
Campbell, chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, was named co-chair with state Sen. Mike Rush of the Special Joint Oversight Committee on the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. The Commission investigated conditions that led to 77 deaths from COVID-19 at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in 2020.COVID-19 outbreak. The Committee proposed sweeping legislation to overhaul operations of the state’s soldiers’ homes.
She was also named to co-chair the legislature’s Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet and Cybersecurity with Sen. Barry Finegold.
Campbell voted to sustain Gov. Charlie Baker’s Christmas Eve 2020 veto of legislation reforming reproductive rights. Altogether, however, the House voted 107-46 to override Baker. She successfully pushed for Nicky’s Law, filed by her and Sen. Michael Moore in 2017, that protects individuals with disabilities from abuse at the hands of care providers.
She was one of three legislators recognized last September by the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance as a champion of river conservation who worked for a law requiring timely public notification when sewage enters a Massachusetts waterway, such as through combined sewer overflows. “It is no small thing to get a bill enacted into law in this state, and it’s especially rare to get a legislative win like this for the environment,” said Mass Rivers Executive Director Julia Blatt.
Haverhill Democratic City Committee Chair William D. Cox Jr. called Campbell a “tireless advocate for all things Haverhill,” adding, “We came to know her not just as our legislator, but as our friend. We wish her all the best in whatever she moves on to.”
Campbell was first elected in 2006.
Seats now held by Reps. Lenny Mirra and Christina Minicucci will no longer have precincts in Haverhill. Minicucci’s 14th Essex District keeps a portion of North Andover and adds Groveland, Topsfield and parts of Boxford. It picks up part of the district formerly represented by Bradford Hill, who left the legislature to become a gaming commissioner. Besides dropping precincts in Haverhill, Mirra’s 2nd Essex District sheds Groveland, Merrimac and Boxford and adds Ipswich and parts of Amesbury.