Women, Minorities Underrepresented in State Legislature

The strong majority of Massachusetts' legislators are white and male.

Although Chelmsford is currently represented by a female Senator and has a female State Representative in its delegation, women, along with minorities, continue to make up a smaller share of state legislators than their numbers in the population at large suggest they would.

series of maps published by Wicked Local visually display the striking disparity. Blacks or Latinos together comprise 5.6 percent of the House (9 of 160 representative) and 2.5 percent of the Senate (1 of 40 senators) despite being 7.8 percent of the state's population and Latinos being 9.9 percent.

Nationally, 8.1 percent of legislators are black and 2.9 percent are Latino, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but these two groups comprise a higher percentage of the national population than they do of Massachusetts'.

Asians make up 5.6 of the state's population but there isn't a single Asian senator and they make up only 1.3 percent of representatives, according to Wicked Local's numbers.

Perhaps the biggest gap is seen in women. Despite the fact that 51.6 of Bay Staters are women, only 24.4 percent of representatives and 27.5 percent of senators are female. This number is exactly on par with the national average for representatives and a little higher for senators, according to the National Foundation for Women Legislators.

Iron Mike October 10, 2012 at 03:39 AM
There are few 'perfect' candidates Mister Combs. You ~ might ~ try running yourself in 2014... Golnik had a DUI. He didn't KILL anybody. Ted Kennedy DID! And maybe on purpose too... Obama, Tsongas, Warren - - all dishonest, - all Spendocrats and Taxacrats. For days now Warren is claiming that her mother is a 'victim' of Scott Brown, but SHE started her campaign down the Trail of Lies. Obama is hiding behind Big Bird instead of firing the liars in his White House and the State Dept. He has become a laughing stock. His only life accomplishment is reading from a teleprompter. Without it - like last Wednesday in Denver - he is revealed as empty and inept - the classic Clint Eastwood 'empty chair'. And Tsongas? She remains in quiet muffeled seclusion in Charlestown. We've yet to hear a PEEP from her on Fast & Furious or the co-ordinated terrorist attacks in Egypt and Libya. Nor has she addressed sequestration. Why not? Pelosi hasn't issued her talking points yet? Tsongas continues to demonstrate why she is considered the 3rd stupidest congresswoman.... But you Mister Combs, - if you LIKE living in a weakened and nearly bankrupt country, - if you like your leaders LYING to you [or just avoiding you], - and if you like having a $16 Trillion Federal Debt and a $102 Billion State Debt - you keep voting Democrat. BTW, do you have a 'safe' government job?
Mike Combs October 10, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Golnik's DUI wasn't just drinking, it was drugs. Since he was driving, it's just pure luck someone wasn't killed. It was followed by years of lying. But I'm not surprised you give him a pass, since your posts about Warren and others have been long since proven to be lies. We could have a discussion about the real differences the candidates and parties have on issues that matter, but instead we get your ongoing smears. At the last debate, Scott Brown spoke at length on Warren's heritage and concluded by saying that she's not a liar, and she is qualified for her position as a Harvard professor. Then why isn't he ready to talk about the real issues facing our nation? Why aren't his supporters interested in talking about them? And now Martinez is afraid to debate. Is fear a common trait among Republicans? Is that why you can't talk about the real issues?
ron johnson October 10, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Mike, You never answered my question. I asked if you would have disqualified Kennedy if he was running today, not a hard question. As far as EW and the heritage issue. I would hope that even you have to admit she mishandled the issue from the beginning. I only have to go back to last April when presented with the question she hide behind Patrick. In both debates the moderator asked the question, not Brown. Say want you want, about issues, but I also care about someone's integrity, and EW has none. She is a puppet of the WH, has no ideas of her own and can't say more that two sentences without using "hammered" and "rigged". If she was really for the middle class or the disadvantaged she could have climbed down from her ivory tower and preformed hours of pro-bono work for people who lost homes as the result of forclosures, she did not. She kept her fee paid by Traveler's when she could have donated it. I am sorry Mike, like a lot of people she is more than willing to ask other "rich" people to pay and she has chosen not to put her money where her mouth is.
Mike Combs October 10, 2012 at 02:56 PM
The simple proof that Elizabeth Warren helped people is that the people she helped are grateful. If you think people have to work for free to prove they want to help people, then you should think again. Teachers, firemen, police, our men and women in the armed services, people at non-profits, clergy and staff all get paid. The opposite, making a lot of money, does not prove that you are evil. In fact, I think the smartest people figure out how to make a living while doing something positive for their community. As to her heritage, as soon as I see you complain about people being proud to be part Italian or Irish, then I'll believe that you see this as a real issue. Until then, it seems clear that this is just a way to stir up racial resentment. Scott Brown said clearly that Warren wasn't lying and that she was qualified for her job. Was he lying?
Anna Bucciarelli October 10, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Mike Combs ... Comparing service people to Warren is the dumbest example you could ever give. EW did her work for Travelers, etc., as a sideline, not as a main source of income. Face the facts, she was handpicked to run on the D ticket, she is indeed a puppet who will wiggle and giggle every which way her backers tell her to. Being proud of one's heritage is admirable as long as it is not used to advance a personal agenda ... it was her real agenda and in one of her ads she specifically says that she received no special consideration for her position at Harvard, they didn't even know of her heritage ... what a bunch of bull ... she checked the box and don't tell me they didn't check her check. For the record, I don't resent the large salary for what I consider her minimal work, (qualified or not) I do resent that she may have usurped the position from a perhaps more honorable individual. There's a lot to be said for integrity and what I look for in my representatives/senators ... I don't see it in this woman.
ron johnson October 10, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Mike, I usually can deal with people with a different agenda but you make it hard. The people that her campaign found, are not representative of the people affected. As far as pro-bono every lawyer does work pro-bono work in fact most firms require their attorneys to donate time and effort every year. You may want to actually inform yourself before you submit a comment. For someone who is working for you, see has never found the time to do what almost every attorney does all the time. I have no problem making money, it seems like you want Romney to apologize for it though. I have a problem with someone who makes it part of their campaign and their actions belie the speeches. I am sorry, Mike that you seem totally incapability of seeing what is in front of you. I also see that you seem to want to avoid the direct question about Kennedy, would you disqualify him if he was running today, and I do not want to hear about how it was history. You are disqualifying someone for something that happened in the past as well. For my money killing someone and leaving the scene is never okay.
Iron Mike October 10, 2012 at 04:32 PM
To: Anna and Ron, Suggest you leave Mister Combs alone in his special world. NOTHING you say will dissuade him. Like many here in Taxachusetts, he was brought up in a home where Kennedys were demi-gods, and Republicans were always villains. He is incapable of reasoned investigation or thought. Go find people with more capability for rational decision-making. You have 25 days left to persuade them.
Mike Combs October 10, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Elizabeth Warren was praised by a law firm for the asbestos victims, showing Brown's lies about her. Here's part of the letter, and a link to the whole thing. If you really care about honesty, you'd reject Scott Brown's campaign over this issue. http://bluemassgroup.com/2012/10/asbestos-victims-law-firm-scott-brown-lies/ To our clients: In the recent debate between Massachusetts US Senate candidates, Scott Brown charged that Elizabeth Warren represented Travelers Insurance Company against asbestos victims. We presume this is an important issue for you, and want to assure that you have an accurate understanding of this situation. * Asbestos victims and Travelers SETTLED the case for $500 Million. * Another insurance company challenged the establishment of that fund, and that challenge went to the Supreme Court. * Elizabeth Warren represented Travelers at the Supreme Court, and thereby the interests of asbestos victims, to protect the settlement. * Elizabeth Warren won the case for Travelers and the victims, and the settlement was upheld at that stage. * After Elizabeth Warren’s work was finished, and she was no longer their counsel, Travelers has attempted to renege on other grounds.
Anna Bucciarelli October 10, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Iron Mike ... As usual, you are right, but I cannot resist answering the above. Mike Comb, the victims, very many of them, received a pittance compared to what EW was paid by Travelers ... she walked away with a handsome fistful of dollars, they walked away with dimes and a forever debilitating illness, will die actually gasping for every tiny last breadth and long before their demise will have immeasurable pain and suffering until their final end. Have you ever witnessed anyone with such an illness? Were you ever witness to the passing of a person with it? I have and it's not a thing I hope to ever see again, or to realize that the families of said victims were victimized twice.
Mike Combs October 10, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Elizabeth Warren won $500 million for the asbestos victims. When the amount was challenged by another insurance company, she went to the Supreme Court and *won again*, preserving the $500 million settlement for the victims. *After* Warren left Travelers, Travelers has tried to renege on the deal. Anna, if you have ever seen someone suffering from malignant mesothelioma you would thank Warren for her work winning a large settlement for these victims and you'd be angry at Scott Brown for lying about their situation to score some cheap political points.
ron johnson October 10, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Mike, The victims were not paid a dime. You have not even come close to answering the question. This is what was at stake, Travelers wanted to limit their liability and she helped then do just that. Mike, by the way a letter from the attorneys hoping to get paid, is not compeling, please keep reading, absent the fund, they receive nothing and have to keep working. If Travelers fooled her shame on her. I thhought she was supposed to be smart. How could she craft an agreement that was not enforceable. She chose to accept payment, while she could have worked for free, lawyers do it all the time. She is running on a platform of working for the middle class, her actions do not support the claim. Mike, Travelers wanted the fund to stand up so they would not have to pay more, they then reneged and while she can claim, she was no longer representing them, what did she do about it, condemn them, return the fee, donate it, the answer is none of the above. Mike, you also are ignoring the question I raised about Ted Kennedy, at this point I an only assume that you do not like what you would have to answer.
whooper87 October 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM
I agree with you Anna, minorities should run for office more often if they expect to be equally represented, and if all women worked outside the home the US would have the same demographics problems as Japan. Though Iron Mike is right as well in that it's time to stop assuming that the liberal party is correct or morally right all the time. Change should be FOR THE BETTER, not just change
Anna Bucciarelli October 10, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Mike ... You are like the people you so admire, single-minded, refusing to accept real facts and ready to believe whatever nonsense they hand you, always slanting the truth. And, FYI, Mesothelioma is not always malignant but that doesn't diminish the devastation of the patient or the eventual outcome. EW raked in her dough and gave not a care for those left behind. Further, Ron is correct, if she truly cared she'd have done the work pro-bono as do many attorneys. She did not work for a law firm, she was on her own and could easily have given her time and expertise to a worthy cause since she has a padded salary for the one class she oversees (bet her aides do most of the work), that's if she really cared as much as you and she say she did. I'm ready to take Iron Mike's advice and say goodbye to you, I can't deal with your closed mind. So grab your hat, don your coat and don't let the door slam you in the but on your way out. Grab your hat and coat, don't let the door hit you in the but on the way out ... I can't deal with you anymore.
Mike Combs October 11, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Elizabeth Warren focused on jobs and the middle class tonight while Brown tried to distract with questions with petty attacks. He complained about tuition at Harvard, a private institution which should be able to set their own prices and implied that they should cap salaries. At the same time, his policies have cut funding for our state colleges and schools and he voted against a bill that would have frozen interest rates on student loans. Brown and his supporters want to keep talking about Warren's heritage. We can do better with a Senator that knows which issues matter and which don't. And Ron, you want me to say that Ted Kennedy was wrong 43 years ago, in 1969, to drink and drive? Okay: Ted Kennedy was criminal. And Golnik was CRIMINAL to drink and use drugs while driving.
Al October 11, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I think it would be terribly interesting to have the top commenters on Patch attend some in person forum during this election season. Would anyone else think this would be an exciting way to spend an evening? I'd love to see the interaction of people - who all consider themselves good citizens - to see if they could put together a frank, informed and civil discussion (which I'm sure they all think they are doing online). Can we make this happen? I'd be willing to bring refreshments.
ron johnson October 11, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Mike, The question was would you disqualify him, not was his action criminal, I know it was. As far as setting tuition, you are absolutely correct, and by the way the free market allows this to happen. In other words if a person at some point, decides that the cost of tuition is not a good value, the market would adjust. The issue is this though, EW argues that student loans are out out control, when the biggest reason they are increasing is the cost of college. My youngest son is attends an ivy league school, which fortunately we can pay for, he is smart enough to also receive scholarship money which increased this year and then so did the tuition. The point is Scott Brown is not alone in proposing that colleges cap increases as a condition of receiving student loan dollars. The fact is and again please do not lecture me on the free market system, but the biggest part of budget for any school is salary and benefits. EW is like many liberals, see wants as she said millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share while she has clearly enjoyed the benefits of the free market system herself and at the same time has donated little time or money. If she was not running and representing herself as a champion of the middle class, I would say good for her. The fact is she is though and for that I say she is a fake and a hypocrite.
Anna Bucciarelli October 11, 2012 at 02:48 PM
The issue is not heritage, the issue is USING heritage covertly to advance one's career then denying it. The issue is the pretense of caring for the middle class while working for companies that are trying to renege on their obligations to that very middle class. The issue is distorting the reasons for the votes taken by Brown, leaving out the essential objections he had in some in the bills he refrained from voting yea on. The issue is being a true resident of Massachusetts, not a blow-in. The issue is respect for your fellow man, whatever their status, not picking and choosing the right group at the right time to enhance your campaign. The issue is honesty and integrity and trustworthiness.
Anna Bucciarelli October 11, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Al, it's a lovely idea but count me out ... I'm liable to blow my top and say more than I should and I don't consider myself eloquent enough to state my positions. I feel them strongly but expressing them vociferously is not my strength at all. I can think and feel and I can express some of my thoughts via these comments, but that's about it. If you do manage to get this thing going, perhaps it can be televised on local TV ... I would love that.
ron johnson October 11, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Anna, Well said, Mike?
Anna Bucciarelli October 11, 2012 at 05:17 PM
PS ... and one of the biggest, most important issues is being brave enough to stand for what you believe is best for your constituency, having allegiance to the people you are sent to DC to serve and not being beholden to a party simply because they endorse and support you.
Mike Combs October 11, 2012 at 06:42 PM
You forgave Kennedy's DUI in 1969, so we should forgive Jon Golnik's DUI in 2001? I don't think that's a very good case, Ron. Jon Golnik's arrest included drug use, and he subsequently lied about it. That's not a good indication of leadership. Even Iron Mike called Golnik a "serial liar", "Jon has made a career of riding the sympathy / victim wave, - never taking personal responsibility for his screw-ups." http://rabidrepublicanblog.com/2010/09/03/grading-the-mass-5th-republicans/ Before I respond to another word from you, Anna, or Iron Mike, I'd like to know why honesty only matters to you when you're talking about Democrats.
Iron Mike October 11, 2012 at 07:01 PM
TO: Mike Combs I have NEVER forgiven Ted Kennedy for MURDERING his pregnant mistress! I have never believed it was an accident. I visited the site before the bridge was removed - even my 8-year old kid looked at it and said 'No way Dad!' Kennedy was a lifetime liar. If that's your desert - go vote for Liawatha! Vote for Niki too, - she told a bunch of whoppers last night at Devens. I'm not sure why you enable them though....
Mike Combs October 11, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Al, I think face-to-face debates are only useful for style. Facts can't be checked in real time, and there just isn't any concern for the truth (sadly). Brown and Romney exploit this. Warren helped the asbestos victims and won a $500 million dollar settlement for them. There are videos of them thanking her and now even a letter from their law firm. The dates of the Supreme Court case (2009) and her later departure from Travelers (2010) is public information.The fact that AFTER Warren left Travelers they reneged on the deal is simply being ignored here. What are the odds that the Republicans here would be more respectful of the truth if it were face-to-face? I've had some fascinating discussions with other Democrats with real disagreements about policies (like the drone attacks, indefinite detention, school funding, our role in the Middle East), but those succeed because neither party is going to lie to score points.
Al October 11, 2012 at 07:29 PM
I hear your responses but I think my main interest is not people coming to fight in person to score points - but to meet fellow citizens and reduce the bombast that comes across when you are sitting alone on a computer. it locks you in a cycle where you just repeat your points quietly as you compose the same accusations and arguments that have already been constructed a hundred times over (on stories that have nothing to do with the tropes people keep bringing up)....i.e. you name anything, Mr. Fahrquar can tie it to the fault of 'Libruls'. I don't think anyone's mind would be changed but you might waste less time yelling at each other if you met the other person and realized they aren't the jabbering herald of society's destruction you make each other out to be. I would like to ask Mr. F how he thinks he's any better than Mike Combs: he repeatably makes a point of bashing people who can't help but vote for anything Democrat....but he's just the flip side of the coin. If you say you'll never vote for a Democrat - and I'm assuming this is the case given the endless vitriol and bile you spew reflexively, on a hourly basis about anything 'with a D after it' - then you are just as blind and gullible. You are a party man as much as the others. Whatever party wins in an election, they will do fine for themselves in the long run. Meanwhile people on the street ruin their lives, friendships & community and get little or nothing in return for their booster-ism. It's ridiculous
Al October 11, 2012 at 07:31 PM
The offer of refreshments still stands, no matter how much I disagree with you. It's about meeting your neighbors. Though of course I think Mr F isn't actually a neighbor...but he seems to be looking for human interaction. So he's welcome.
ron johnson October 11, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Mike, You made the assumption that I am for Golnik and no where have I said I am. I just do not like Tsongas. I also never forgave Kennedy. I am sorry but being responsible for someone's death is not comparable to making a mistatement in a debate or as part of a campaign. I am amazed that you cannot see the the difference. If Brown did the same thing I would disqualify him as someone fit for office as well. My point is while you are condemning Golnik you are completely unable to admit that what Kennedy did was far worse.
ron johnson October 11, 2012 at 07:48 PM
MIke, Again, I am not ignoring what Traveler's did after they paid EW, you, my friend are ignoring the facts. She did not represent the victims, she was retained by Travelers to protect them from further liability. The trust was to limit the claims that they may be required to pay as some future date. As far as victims and atttorneys supporting the concept, Mike, please remember the lawyers are happy to get paid sooner rather than perhaps later, of course they like the concept. The same with some of the victims as well, some money now may be better then some money later on. My point which you ignore is this, what did EW do after Traverlers reneged; she kept the money. Again, you may say she earned it and is under no obligation to donate it, or she could have worked for nothing, but she is the one making a point on working for the victims. She did not. I say she is a hypocrite and her actions are not in line with her claims.
Anna Bucciarelli October 11, 2012 at 08:29 PM
You lost me Al ... forgive my ignorance but I must ask just exactly who is Mr. Fahrquar? And I think you are correct, people vote parties for the most part, not individuals. Best not to align with any party.
Christina Walsh October 11, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Anna, Just a few comments on your post 1) it has not been proven that Ms. Warren used heritage to advance her career - that is just your opinion 2) Couldn't you say the same thing about Romney and working for the middle class? He says that he is for the middle class yet made millions from companies that eventually went bankrupt. Specifically, the example of the company where took $80 million out and the employees lost their pensions. They couldn't leave enough to cover the pensions? You begrudge Elizabeth Warren for making money but not Romney? 3) What exactly is the definition of a true resident of Massachusetts? Do you have to be born here to not be considered a blow-in? There are a lot of wonderful people who have moved here and contributed to their communities here. I truly dislike the term "blow-in" 4) And while you believe Ms. Warren is not trustworthy, I don't believe Mr. Brown is trustworthy. He says he is a moderate and his votes do not reflect that position. He definitely does not stand up for my rights and also my daughter's rights.
Anna Bucciarelli October 12, 2012 at 11:05 AM
Christina: 1) Neither has it been disproved and it is not simply MY opinion, it is that of many more knowledgeable folks as well; 2) I will never profess to be a financial expert but I do know that sometimes decisions must be made for a greater good, not always savory for some. It's just what happens sometimes and I don't like it any more than do you. I do NOT begrudge EW or anyone making a living but I do resent taking credit for substantially helping individuals while working for an ins. co. whose main goal is to contain & retain funds from individuals in their time of need then walking away when said ins. co. reneges instead of standing firm with the people. EW worked for the ins. co, not the folks; 3) I'm sorry you are offended by the term blow-in, I myself am a blow-in having lived in MA only since 1960 (probably before you were born) and I don't think the term derogatory, simply an expression. If it appeases you, I will rescind it. You're correct, people quietly make mighty contributions to communities in big and small ways every day and seek no rewards or recognition for themselves. My instinct tells me that is not the case here and I'm suspicious about EW's allegiance to MA, I suspect if she'd been offered a better position in another school, say Yale, there she'd go. Irrational of me? Perhaps, it may be the Bronx girl in me. 4) I don't like or trust EW, you don't trust SB, we disagree and that's what makes this country great, we're free to choose our positions.


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