Westport College Senior Seeking To Become The Youngest Member Of The Massachusetts House Of Representatives

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/09/11/westport-college-senior-seeking-to-become-the-youngest-member-of-the-massachusetts-house-of-representatives/

Next January, a lot of Evan Gendreau’s peers will still be in school.

Not Gendreau, though. He hopes to be the youngest member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

The 21-year-old Republican and Westport native is running against state Representative Paul Schmid III (D-Westport) in the Eighth Bristol District. He is the first Republican to run in the district since 1996

Gendreau told New Boston Post that he doesn’t think it’s O.K. to let an incumbent Democrat like Schmid continue running unopposed.

“I think the people of Westport, New Bedford, Fall River, and Freetown deserve a new voice at the State House,” Gendreau said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I share a lot of the frustration with the votes that our representatives have taken. I think it’s good that our voters have a choice this time around with so many important issues at stake.”

Gendreau is a political science major at UMass Dartmouth who is finishing up earning his bachelor’s degree this semester. He said it’s important to get more young people politically engaged, especially for Republicans.

“I think it has to do with investing in the future of the party and the voice of young people in the Commonwealth,” he said. “I think it’s important that young people are involved with the political process and are able to step up and run if it comes to it.”

If elected, Gendreau’s top priority would be lowering the state’s tax burden — which he sees as a hindrance to economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Not only does this hurt working families but also small businesses. It’s no way to stimulate economic growth while re-opening.”

“Voters have been very clear on that issue,” he added. “The voters vote one way and their representatives do something else. A fiscally conservative approach not only looks at taxes but spending as well.”

Gendreau pointed out that in 2014, Massachusetts voters voted to repeal a law signed by then-governor Deval Patrick that would have indexed the gas tax to inflation, automatically increasing it every year.

Gendreau also said he wants to see greater transparency at the State House and wants to eliminate voice votes and require public hearings on bills. He noted that the Massachusetts Senate passed a police reform bill back in July (S.2800) without ever holding a public hearing on it.

Additionally, Gendreau said he supports a greater emphasis on workforce development in education to prepare people for jobs. And on abortion, he said he is pro-choice.

“It’s a constitutional right in Massachusetts, but I oppose efforts like the Roe Act and efforts to expand late-term abortion,” he said.

The Massachusetts Constitution does not address abortion policy, and the word abortion does not appear in the U.S. Constitution. But the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have declared abortion a fundamental right.

Running in a district where Republicans typically don’t, Gendreau said his campaign has made a concerted effort to reach out to Democrats and independents in hopes of winning their votes.

“We’re very much concerned with reaching voters directly whether it’s calling or door-to-door,” he said. “I think now there’s more incentives to turn out to vote because there’s a challenger in this district for the first time since 2010. We’ve had independents and Democrats say we have their support, so I think the tide is changing down on the South Coast.”

Representative Schmid sent New Boston Post a statement about his challenger via email on Thursday.

“Yes I have an opponent, and that’s just fine, I welcome the challenge,” Schmid wrote. “Contested campaigns allow voters a choice, and it’s truly democracy in action. I look forward to running on my record of progress, success, and to highlight my effectiveness in delivering for the district for the past decade. I’ve been very fortunate to represent the great people of the 8th Bristol House District, and I hope to continue to move our community forward in the next two years.”

The Eighth Bristol District includes portions of the city of Fall River (Ward 1, Precinct A and Ward 6, Precincts A and B) portions of the town of Freetown (Precincts 2 and 3); portions of the city of New Bedford (Ward 1, Precincts D-F); and the entire town of Westport.