1st Middlesex candidates get quizzed by UTEC

LOWELL -- UTEC, for years, could rely on an advocate in the State Senate: Eileen Donoghue.

But with her departure from the Statehouse -- she's now the Lowell city manager -- UTEC officials wanted to learn about the six candidates vying to succeed her in the 1st Middlesex Senate District.

The five Democrats and one Republican in the race recently visited UTEC for a tour, and were briefed on the organization's policy platform.

After the tour, the Senate candidates were interviewed about UTEC's priorities. All of the candidates pledged that they would support UTEC's platform on Beacon Hill.

Adrien "Duke" Vega, 19, works in UTEC's wood shop. He said the candidates' responses were helpful as he prepares to vote in his first Senate election.

"They definitely gave enough information on who they are, and how they would address the issues UTEC is concerned about," Vega said.

The candidates answered five questions during the Senate Series at UTEC. The Democrats competing in the Sept. 4 primary are City Councilor Edward Kennedy, City Councilor Rodney Elliott, former City Councilor Bill Martin, John Drinkwater of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and former Westford School Committee member Terry Ryan. The lone Republican is Lowell's John MacDonald.