Nashoba Valley state rep race shaping up for next fall

Groton resident will challenge Sheila Harrington in 2020

Deb Busser

GROTON – There’s officially a race for the position of state representative from the 1st Middlesex District.

Groton resident Deb Busser, a Democrat, will formally announce her candidacy for the seat at Spaulding Memorial School in Townsend on Saturday at 2 p.m.

She’s taking on an entrenched, popular incumbent: Republican Sheila Harrington, also of Groton.

“I want to be a strong voice for the community in my district,” Busser said on Tuesday. “I also care really deeply for the future of our town.”

Busser has been a local lady for most of her life, growing up in Townsend and Groton while going through the North Middlesex and Groton-Dunstable Regional School Districts. She went through dual enrollment, graduating from Leominster High School while attending UMass Lowell.

Post-grad, Busser started working in financial services before going to graduate school. She then founded her own consulting firm in 2003 that supported organizational leaders planning for transitions. Busser described her work as “coaching” these leaders on how to be more “effective and strategic” in building relationships with other clients.

That skill she hopes to apply to her position as state representative to address issues including education, transportation, environmental protection laws and reproductive rights.

“I want state mandates on regional transportation to be kept intact,” Busser said. “We also have to pay attention to the escalating costs of local community colleges. We need to improve the MBTA in a much faster capacity and I’m also curious about how we can expand or improve regional transportation. People have issue with the cost of the MBTA and they deal with long traffic hours during the day.”

Busser said that she has been mulling over her decision to run for over a year. She’s well aware that she’s new to the political game, so she’s seen every conversation she’s had in that time frame as “valuable” to her.

“Being open to other people’s perspectives is what I’ve been doing the past year,” she added. “It’s fortunate that people have been so positive with me. This is about strengthening our democracy.”

Harrington was first elected on Nov. 2, 2010 and ran unopposed in 2012. She defeated Democrats Gene Rauhala in 2014 and Matthew Meneghini in 2016. She ran unopposed again in her last re-election campaign in 2018. She did not respond to a telephone message seeking comment.

Besides Groton and Townsend, the district encompasses Ashby, Dunstable, Pepperell and Ayer’s Precint 1.