A fourth Democrat -- and third write-in candidate -- has announced plans to run for the seat left vacant by Massachusetts state Senator Stan Rosenberg.
Dave Murphy grew up in Amherst but now lives in eastern Massachusetts.
The Newton lawyer has worked for state and federal legislators including New York Governor Mario Cuomo, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, and Massachusetts state Senator Harriette Chandler. He’s also worked for the U.S. justice department and the administration of Governor Deval Patrick.
After Murphy left government, he was a lobbyist for entrepreneurs looking to sell medical marijuana and he now works in business litigation.
Murphy said his government experience would be a boon to the western Massachusetts district, which -- after the departure of Rosenberg and others -- is losing considerable clout in the Statehouse.
"The district really needs somebody who can come in on day one who understands the job, knows the process, knows how to get things done on Beacon Hill," he said.
Murphy graduated Amherst High School in 1989 and, except for a few summers, hasn't lived in the district since. But he said he still considers the area home and plans to move back, although he said, “I don’t have a timeframe.”
Murphy said he was adopted from Colombia and raised by parents who valued education, which inspired his public service.
Although he spent a year as a lobbyist, he said that would not impact his independence as a legislator.
"Lobbyists can get a bad name, particularly when they're working against the public interest,” he said. “But I've never done that. I spent my life dedicated to trying to make government work for the people."
Murphy said the legislative campaigns he's worked on include legalizing same-sex marriage, child welfare reform and drafting the Massachusetts anti-human trafficking act.
If elected to the state Senate, he said his priorities would be health care and education.
In the primary, only Chelsea Kline -- a program director at Baypath College -- will be on the ballot. Other write-in candidates include Northampton City Councilor Ryan O'Donnell and Steven Connor, director of Central Hampshire Veterans' Services.