Primary guide: Third Congressional District

Here’s a look at the candidates on the Sept. 4 primary ballot, with biographies reported and compiled by Globe staff and correspondents. Candidates have also filled out a brief survey at our request.

Third Congressional District

Composed of 37 towns and cities northwest of Boston, the Third District hugs the New Hampshire border and crosses Essex, Middlesex, and Worcester counties. Lowell is its largest city at 111,000 people.

Candidates:

Democrats

Jeff Ballinger.
Jeff Ballinger.
Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

Jeffrey D. Ballinger

Ballinger, 65, has spent nearly 20 years as a labor advocate for industrial workers in Asia. According to Ballinger’s campaign, he worked for the AFL-CIO as a country program director for Indonesia and Turkey from 1984-1992. The Andover resident founded and ran the nonprofit Press for Change, which spent years documenting the working conditions and pay of workers in Nike factories in Indonesia.

When you talk to voters in the district, what’s their most pressing concern, and why do you think you’re the best person to address it in Congress? Corporations have such a pervasive influence in Washington that people don’t believe that elected representatives can really address the problems of the country. My skills as a corporate crimefighter organizer are key to rallying people to demand reform. Politicians won’t get money out of Congress.

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Congrats: It’s your first day in office. What’s your first priority as soon as you get in the door? Please be specific. I will work to build support for an “opioid victims’ treatment settlement’” based on the tobacco settlement of $246 billion two decades ago. Pharmaceutical companies have been guilty of gross misrepresentation about these drugs’ danger; one company even pled guilty to a felony. Time to pay up!

It’s a crowded field. Do you have a policy position or platform that makes you different from your opponents? Corporations have undue influence over our politicians. I am the only candidate who names corporations at least three or four times at every forum or debate. Our party cannot differentiate itself with popular policies when they’re raising money from the same corporation as the Republicans.

Would you vote for Nancy Pelosi if she runs again for Leader or Speaker? No.

What’s your favorite coffee shop in the Third District, and what do you usually order? Union Coffee in Ayer. Cappuccino.

Alexandra Chandler.
Alexandra Chandler.
Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

Alexandra E. Chandler

A Haverhill resident, Chandler spent 13 years working as a military intelligence analyst for the Office of Naval Intelligence, finishing as a division chief. Chandler, 41, is the first openly transgender person on the congressional ballot in Massachusetts and, if elected, would be the first openly transgender member of Congress in US history.

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When you talk to voters in the district, what’s their most pressing concern, and why do you think you’re the best person to address it in Congress? They want a representative who understands their needs and can get things done in Congress. I have a comprehensive progressive platform to put ordinary people first, I worked across political divisions in Washington for 13 years, and I’m a middle-class mom running independent of Big Money politics.

Congrats: It’s your first day in office. What’s your first priority as soon as you get in the door? Please be specific. My first priority will be to increase the disposable income of millions of working and middle class families by up to thousands a year by repealing the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy and multinational corporations and replacing them with progressive taxation and an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit.

It’s a crowded field. Do you have a policy position or platform that makes you different from your opponents? As the only candidate with career national security experience, I alone offer plans on how to safely cut defense to reinvest in domestic priorities. I alone signed the Candidates With a Contract pledge to introduce legislation to overturn Citizens United - or resign from Congress if I don’t.

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Would you vote for Nancy Pelosi if she runs again for Leader or Speaker? Yes

What’s your favorite coffee shop in the Third District, and what do you usually order? Battle Grounds in Haverhill! An Americano-- black, no cream, no sugar.

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Beej Das (right).
Beej Das (right).
Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

Beej Das

The son of Indian immigrants, Das has worked as a law clerk, a lawyer, and a hotel owner. Das’ hotel chain, Troca, operates yachts and properties in Massachusetts, Maine, and Florida. Das, 44, previously served as a law clerk for Judge Benson Everett Legg of the United States District Court for Maryland after studying law at the University of Michigan. He recently moved to Lowell.

When you talk to voters in the district, what’s their most pressing concern, and why do you think you’re the best person to address it in Congress? There is no single pressing concern across the district, though the cost of health care has most repeatedly been mentioned. Small businesses and individual participants alike decry the cost and coverage. Unlike the rest of this field, I have significant perspective as an employer and as an insured.

Congrats: It’s your first day in office. What’s your first priority as soon as you get in the door? Please be specific. Day one means walking the halls of the House and meeting my colleagues and fellow representatives. The breakdown in our dialogue is a direct result of the fact that divergent views aren’t understood. I would build bridges in order to best represent my constituents in a divided Washington.

It’s a crowded field. Do you have a policy position or platform that makes you different from your opponents? Unlike the rest of the field, I’m not a politician. I would best be able to represent Democrats and Republicans because my views are derived from listening to all of our voices. My job is to represent our voters faithfully, not preach to them about what their views should be.

Would you vote for Nancy Pelosi if she runs again for Leader or Speaker? No

What’s your favorite coffee shop in the Third District, and what do you usually order? Gourmet Donuts - Fitchburg, Townsend, Littleton Winchendon wins due to the sheer number of original flavors. Iced coffee w/ milk Splenda for me.

Rufus Gifford.
Rufus Gifford.
Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

Rufus Gifford

Gifford, 44, grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea before working on John Kerry and Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2004, 2008, and 2012, including as finance director for Obama’s reelection run. In 2013, Gifford was named the US ambassador to Denmark. Gifford is the son of former Bank of America chairman Charles Gifford and recently moved to Concord.

When you talk to voters in the district, what’s their most pressing concern, and why do you think you’re the best person to address it in Congress? Wages aren’t increasing while the costs of health care, education, and housing are skyrocketing, and I have a bold and aspirational policy agenda to tackle these issues. I’m the only candidate who has top-level experience in federal government and will use that to deliver results.

Congrats: It’s your first day in office. What’s your first priority as soon as you get in the door? Please be specific. Overall, I believe we need to restore trust between people and politicians, so my priority is listening and restoring faith in our system. On policy, I would like to pursue a big infrastructure investment bill that can repair our roads and bridges and modernize our public transit systems.

It’s a crowded field. Do you have a policy position or platform that makes you different from your opponents? One of my top priorities is creating green jobs in the district. These are good-paying, advanced manufacturing jobs in the renewable energy industry. They are good for the environment and good for the economy. I worked on this while Ambassador to Denmark, and will continue that work in Congress.

Would you vote for Nancy Pelosi if she runs again for Leader or Speaker? If Democrats win the House, I believe the last thing we need is a leadership fight. I think Nancy Pelosi should be Speaker for a short period of time (6 months to a year) while we put in place a succession plan where she can hand power over to a new generation of leaders that is younger and more diverse.

What’s your favorite coffee shop in the Third District, and what do you usually order? Coffee and Cotton in Lowell, where I worked out of before we opened our campaign headquarters. Iced latte.

Leonard Golder (left).
Leonard Golder (left).
Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

Leonard H. Golder

Golder, 68, is an attorney from Stow who serves on the town’s planning board. He has served as a selectman for the town, and has practiced law for more than two decades. Golder has run for public office before, losing a bid for the Massachusetts House in 2008, state Senate in 1999 and Middlesex County sheriff in 1996.

When you talk to voters in the district, what’s their most pressing concern, and why do you think you’re the best person to address it in Congress? Donald Trump and his divisive governance. The House has the sole power of impeachment. I want to wait for the results of the Mueller investigation and Michael Cohen trial before rendering a decision on impeachment, censure or other sanctions. I have a legal background in constitutional law.

Congrats: It’s your first day in office. What’s your first priority as soon as you get in the door? Please be specific. Greet my staff and organize a work plan. Meet with Congressional leaders re committee assignments. Get to know my House colleagues. Start drafting legislation, including legal status and a pathway to citizenship for DACA children, Medicare for All and higher COLAS for Social Security recipients.

It’s a crowded field. Do you have a policy position or platform that makes you different from your opponents? I’m the only one with a sound policy to increase wages. I want to convert the tax cuts big corporations got to tax credits conditional on businesses training, hiring and providing a living wage to workers, including those over 40, providing onsite daycare and keeping these jobs in America.

Would you vote for Nancy Pelosi if she runs again for Leader or Speaker? Depends on who’s running.

What’s your favorite coffee shop in the Third District, and what do you usually order? I like all coffee shops because they’re small businesses and we need to support them. I’m a tea drinker. But I’m not a member of the Tea Party.

Dan Koh (left).
Dan Koh (left).
Erin Clark for the Boston Globe

Daniel Arrigg Koh

A Harvard College and Harvard Business School grad, Koh, 33, worked for the Huffington Post before serving as chief of staff to Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who has campaigned for his former aide. Koh, the descendant of Lebanese and Korean immigrants, grew up in Andover, graduated from Phillips Academy, and recently moved back to his hometown.

When you talk to voters in the district, what’s their most pressing concern, and why do you think you’re the best person to address it in Congress? Voters want a new generation of leaders to fight back against Donald Trump. As Chief of Staff to Mayor Walsh, I was on the frontlines in this fight. We stood up to policies like Trump’s travel ban, and we achieved real progressive results. That’s what I’ll do in Congress.

Congrats: It’s your first day in office. What’s your first priority as soon as you get in the door? Please be specific. A comprehensive jobs plan. Instead of passing tax giveaways that further rig the system, we need to build a fair economy where people can provide for their families. My plan, available at koh2018.com/jobs, focuses on workforce training programs, infrastructure jobs, and renewable energy projects.

It’s a crowded field. Do you have a policy position or platform that makes you different from your opponents? Fighting back against Trump is personal for me. My family would have been stopped at the border by his racist policies. He is attacking our healthcare, public schools, and environment. I stood up to him with Mayor Walsh and will continue to lead this fight in Congress.

Would you vote for Nancy Pelosi if she runs again for Leader or Speaker? Yes. I believe we also need more young people and people of color in leadership as well.

What’s your favorite coffee shop in the Third District, and what do you usually order? Wicked Big Cafe in Haverhill. Order depends on how much caffeine I need for the day ahead...

Barbara L'Italien.
Barbara L'Italien.
Erin Clark for the Boston Globe

Barbara A. L’Italien

L’Italien, 57, has represented Lawrence, Dracut, Tewksbury, and Andover in the state Senate since 2015. She is the chair of the committees on elder affairs and consumer protection, and previously served as a state representative for eight years. In addition to her time on Beacon Hill, L’Italien has served as an Andover school committee member.

When you talk to voters in the district, what’s their most pressing concern, and why do you think you’re the best person to address it in Congress? * Voters are tired of politicians and aspiring politicians promising the world with no follow-through. They want to know their congresswoman will accomplish real things. As the only one with a record of legislative success, I haven’t just made promises, I’ve made laws. I know how to get things done.

Congrats: It’s your first day in office. What’s your first priority as soon as you get in the door? Please be specific. A seamless transition for constituent services, making sure I’m on committees that will allow me to have an immediate impact on our healthcare and education systems, and hiring a diverse staff. These are not abstract ideas to me - I am the only candidate who has led by example and done this before.

It’s a crowded field. Do you have a policy position or platform that makes you different from your opponents? Accomplishments and know-how. The big difference in this race is I’ve made real change as a legislator. I created an autism medical insurance mandate, stopped a gas pipeline, and passed first-in-the-nation Alzheimer’s legislation. I’m also the teachers’, nurses’, and single-payer endorsed candidate.

Would you vote for Nancy Pelosi if she runs again for Leader or Speaker? It would be irresponsible to commit without knowing who the candidates are. I’ve never held back on opposing leadership. My very first vote in the State House was against speaker Tom Finneran. I was the first to ask Stan Rosenberg to step down - and he did so the very next business day. I’ve shown courage on this and other issues, and I’m not afraid to stand up to anyone.

What’s your favorite coffee shop in the Third District, and what do you usually order? Perfecto’s in Andover. Hot (warm from the oven) French toast bagel with plain cream cheese.

Juana Matias.
Juana Matias.
. Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

Juana B. Matias

Juana Matias, a Lawrence state representative, emigrated from the Dominican Republic at 5 years old. She unseated an incumbent to win her House seat in 2016, and previously worked in the justice AmeriCorps program between 2014 and 2015, representing and providing legal guidance to unaccompanied minors. Matias, 31, is a Suffolk University Law graduate.

When you talk to voters in the district, what’s their most pressing concern, and why do you think you’re the best person to address it in Congress? * The issue I hear about most on the trail is access to quality, affordable healthcare. When my father was diagnosed with cancer, I spent countless hours on the phone fighting to ensure that he had access to the treatments he needed. I’ll never forget that I’m in office to fight for people like him.

Congrats: It’s your first day in office. What’s your first priority as soon as you get in the door? Please be specific. In Congress, I’ll get straight to work for the Third District by defending the American Dream against constant attacks from the Trump administration; building opportunity for all Americans, especially the working class; and ensuring that all Americans have access to quality, affordable healthcare.

It’s a crowded field. Do you have a policy position or platform that makes you different from your opponents? What makes me different is my story. I grew up in the Third District and have committed my career to being of service to the people of this district. From my early days in the Haverhill Public Schools to my work as a legal advocate in the Merrimack Valley, the Third District is in my blood.

Would you vote for Nancy Pelosi if she runs again for Leader or Speaker? I’ll wait to make any decisions about Leadership until I know who’s running.

What’s your favorite coffee shop in the Third District, and what do you usually order? Coffee Cotton at Mill No. 5 in downtown Lowell has such a unique atmosphere. My go-to is an order of their Nutella Toast and a large Iced Coffee.

Bopha Malone.
Bopha Malone.
Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

Bopha Malone

Malone left Cambodia as a child in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge regime and spent much of her childhood in refugee campaigns before coming to the United States at age 9, according to her website. After graduating from Lesley University, she has worked as an executive at Lowell’s Enterprise Bank and rose to the role of vice president.

When you talk to voters in the district, what’s their most pressing concern, and why do you think you’re the best person to address it in Congress? EDUCATION. As a refugee that came here at age 9, I experienced firsthand the many obstacles some students must overcome to succeed. As a trustee of Middlesex Community College and Lesley, I know about the challenges students face. I want to make a quality education accessible affordable for all.

Congrats: It’s your first day in office. What’s your first priority as soon as you get in the door? Please be specific. My priority will be to take every opportunity to listen, observe, learn, and build relationships. I will immediately build relationships with the members of the Education and Workforce Committee and the Immigration Subcommittee to offer my personal background and experiences in these areas.

It’s a crowded field. Do you have a policy position or platform that makes you different from your opponents? I’m not a politician; I’ve been a community banker and activist in this district for over 10 years. I have deep ties throughout the community. I’m a refugee and immigrant, working mom, and an activist – I am the candidate who can best represent the diversity of the 3rd district in Congress.

Would you vote for Nancy Pelosi if she runs again for Leader or Speaker? No.

What’s your favorite coffee shop in the Third District, and what do you usually order? The Coffee Mill in Lowell, where Patricia and her team consistently make the most amazing chocolate peanut butter latte!

CHELMSFORD, MA - 08/18/2018 Peter Astorian, left, talks with Consulting firm executive Lori while she greets voters outside the Chelmsford Market Basket. Trahan is one of 10 democratic candidates seeking election to the U.S. House to represent the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts.
Lori Loureiro Trahan.
Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

Lori Loureiro Trahan

The one-time chief of staff to former US Representative Martin T. Meehan, Trahan, 44, was born and raised in Lowell and graduated from Georgetown University. She worked as an executive at ChoiceStream, an advertising and marketing company, and now heads a consulting firm, Concire Leadership Institute. She lives in Westford.

When you talk to voters in the district, what’s their most pressing concern, and why do you think you’re the best person to address it in Congress?* Families are worried about economic opportunity - access to affordable healthcare, quality education and good jobs. As a mom, lifelong resident of the district, former congressional chief of staff and small business owner, nobody will work harder for working class families like the one I grew up in.

Congrats: It’s your first day in office. What’s your first priority as soon as you get in the door? Please be specific. We need more women at the table. That starts with equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race. I will fight to increase access to reproductive healthcare, paid family leave and affordable, high-quality childcare, so that every woman has a chance to succeed.

It’s a crowded field. Do you have a policy position or platform that makes you different from your opponents? This district has long been served by leaders who knew how to build partnerships to create jobs, attract businesses and revitalize our cities and towns. My deep roots and congressional experience in the district have prepared me to carry on the legacy of Congresswoman Tsongas and so many before her.

Would you vote for Nancy Pelosi if she runs again for Leader or Speaker? We are seeing a diverse spectrum of Democrats win primaries across the country and our next Speaker will need to harness that diversity so that we emerge with a unified, optimistic party platform. I’m excited and motivated by this opportunity and will need to see who those candidates are before deciding how I will vote.

What’s your favorite coffee shop in the Third District, and what do you usually order? My favorite coffee shop is the Owl Diner in Lowell, where I waitressed in high school.

Republican

Rick Green.
Rick Green.
Jeff Porter for the Boston Globe

Rick Green

The sole Republican running in the Third District, Green, 47, is a businessman from Pepperell. He co-founded 1A Auto — an online auto parts provider — with his brother, and as its CEO and president, oversees 450 employees. Green is also the founder of the conservative-leaning watchdog group, Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, but stepped down as its chairman last year..

When you talk to voters in the district, what’s their most pressing concern, and why do you think you’re the best person to address it in Congress? The opiate crisis. This issue is too important to wait. This is why we have already convened our “Empowering Recovery” Action Team to bring together community members working to address the opiate epidemic, creating centralized communications network for sharing information and best practices.

Congrats: It’s your first day in office. What’s your top priority as soon as you get in the door? Please be specific, name a bill, initiative, etc. My top priority is to hire my “Empowering Recovery” Action Team Leader Outreach Coordinator to continue to build and improve our communication infrastructure, share best practices between groups, and coordinate efforts at the local, state, and federal level towards are common goal.

Do you support President Donald Trump for re-election in 2020? 2020? We don’t even know who is going to be on the ballot yet!

What’s your favorite coffee shop in the Third District, and what do you usually order? Fun Fact: I don’t drink coffee, but I do like to go to Doc Davis’ or Kimball Farms for ice cream with my kids.

Read more from the Globe about this race and its candidates:

Ten candidates. Thirty-one hours. One Democratic primary

Even as donations flow, Third District candidates turn to their own checkbooks for help

More female candidates mean tough choices for women’s groups

In 3rd District, Democrats rail against Trump, vow to fight tax law

An asterisk (*) notes campaign representatives said they filled out the survey questions on behalf of the candidates.

The Globe’s primary guide was written by Globe correspondents Matt Stout, Marek Mazurek, Sophia Eppolito, and Jamie Halper, as well as Joshua Miller, Maria Cramer, Michael Levenson, Milton J. Valencia and Stephanie Ebbert of the Globe staff.

It was compiled and edited by Shira Center, and produced by Christina Prignano.

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