GIG and Indian Americans of Lexington to Host Candidate Forum for State Rep. on Aug. 4

Mary Ann Stewart
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LEXINGTON, MA–Getting Involved Group (GIG) and Indian Americans of Lexington (IAL) will host “Candidate Forum” for State Representative 15th Middlesex District seat on August 4th from 2–4 PM at Lexington Community Center in Lexington, MA.

Please RSVP to by July 31 to confirm your attendance. Also, send us your questions you wish to ask the candidates.

The 15th Middlesex District (which includes all of Lexington and a portion of Woburn) has been well represented in the MA State government by Mr. Jay Kaufman for many years. He announced his retirement earlier this year. Five outstanding Lexington residents have decided to contest in the primary election (on September 4, 2018) to succeed him. They are:


Below is a short biography of each candidate:

Mary Ann Stewart

Mary Ann Stewart and her husband Duncan have lived in Lexington for the past twenty-four years. Their three children attended Lexington’s Public Schools, as did Duncan, who was born and raised there.

Mary Ann was elected twice to Lexington’s School Committee, served as President of Massachusetts PTA, and was appointed by Governor Deval L. Patrick as the Parent Representative to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

She has been an elected member of Lexington’s Town Meeting for the past 12 years and worked on the Revenue Options Working Group of Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts beginning in 2007.

Mary Ann has over 20 years of experience fiercely advocating for children, families, public schools, workers’ rights, and environmental sustainability.

Her activism and advocacy work has earned her the endorsements of leading statewide progressive organizations, Progressive Massachusetts, Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts and Mass Alliance, a coalition of over twenty unions, LGBTQ rights, pro-choice, health care, and environmental organizations, in addition to local progressive group, Woburn Welcomes

Michelle Ciccolo

Michelle Ciccolo is a Lexington Selectman and former Planning Board member who has devoted her career to public service. She has worked as an executive in municipal government, has held important leadership positions in regional planning, and has been a highly regarded contributor to State boards and commissions concerned with transportation, the environment, and public health.

In her work, Michelle has spearheaded major economic development projects and successful initiatives and legislation that have touched the lives of thousands of people.

Michelle grew up in Lexington, where she and her husband Philip Jackson have raised their family. She currently runs her own business—the Ciccolo Group, LLC—a small consulting firm that specializes in planning, community development, municipal management, permitting, and real estate management.

Matthew S. Cohen

Matthew S. Cohen was born and raised in Lexington, and he and his wife

are currently raising their 8 year old daughter and 4 year old son in


Matthew has worked at all levels of government.  At the state level, Matthew spent over seven years as a Research and Budget director at the Massachusetts State House, where he learned all the skills necessary to do this job.  At the federal level, he served as an intern in Senator Kennedy’s Boston office, and locally, Matthew worked in the Lexington Town Managers Office.

He recently completed his PhD in political science at Northeastern University where he served as a Lecturer in Political Science, and is currently a Lecturer at Merrimack College.

Joseph G. Lahiff grew up in Lexington, graduating from Lexington High School in 1986. He served with the Lexington Police Department for over twenty-two years as a police officer, including 5 years as a School Resource Officer.

Joseph G. Lahiff

Joe currently work as Director at NuPath, Inc in Woburn providing support to people living with disabilities.

Joe lives in Lexington with my wife Kelly and their three children (Taylor, John, and Joey). While raising their kids in Lexington, Joe was a volunteer coach for youth soccer, little league and Pop Warner teams, the Lexington High School Football Program.

Joe is also a former Town meeting Member and Former Chair of the School Council for the Minuteman Regional High School.

Bill Sweeney first learned about the importance of civic life around the kitchen table with his family.  As a family of teachers and teamsters, doctors and nurses the Sweeneys and the Kirwins stressed the importance of participation in the political process as a bedrock value.  That meant not just voting but actively supporting Democrats up and down the ticket like Jim Shannon, Paul Sheehy, Ted Kennedy and others who were committed to the core values of community, the environment, helping those less fortunate and doing what is best for the Common Good.

Bill’s path took him to the University of Massachusetts where he majored in Social Thought and Political Economy with an emphasis on economics, politics and history where he learned economic and political theory.  Right out of college he worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide for Democrats Congressman Meehan and later as legislative analyst on Beacon Hill for Rep. Peter Larkin and the Committee on Taxation.

Bill Sweeney

For the last 22 years Bill has worked in the private sector for companies of various sizes and has been Chief Technology Officer and Chief Security Officer for several private equity backed healthcare and services businesses.  In the private sector bill has dealt with many real-world issues. Most recently, Bill has been helping hospitals and providers in streamlining operations and improving liquidity in the complex world of health insurance.

Over twenty -year resident, Bill has two daughters (Abigail and Hannah) that have gone through the Lexington School system. Bill coached girl’s lacrosse for seven seasons through the Lexington Youth Lacrosse program and today loves to watch the LHS Varsity and JV teams play with many of his former players.

Elected Town Meeting Members from the Indian American community in Lexington have collaborated to create the Getting Involved Group (GIG). The mission of GIG is to actively reach, educate and encourage other Indian Americans to participate in the governance of the Town of Lexington and its committees.



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