Civics Sunday: Loring Barnes’ Business Mindset, S’mores, and Dog Walks Energize State Rep Race

Publishers’ Note: The State Primary will be held on Tuesday, September 6, 2022. We have introduced two Democratic candidates for the 8th Middlesex District. Loring Barnes’ name will appear on the Republican primary ballot. In mid-August a “refresher” of all candidates on the primary ballots will be posted along with sample ballots.

From Loring Barnes for State Representative

After a tasty visit to the Holliston Lions Club’s grill canteen at the Holliston Carnival, Loring Barnes is flanked by Holliston resident David Retalic (L) and her husband Michael Edmonds (R).

For some she’s emerged like the new name in the State Rep race. Yet since May, when the Secretary of State’s Office confirmed her ballot eligibility, Loring Barnes of Millis has been unobtrusively conversing with policy experts, government officials, and voters across the towns of our new legislative 8th Middlesex district, listening and allowing residents to size up a very different type of candidate.

“Political fatigue is real. I want to change that narrative by giving all voters positive reasons to approach this election with optimism as a uniquely qualified candidate offering new ideas, appealing energy, business competence, and a proven record of making a difference for everyone, immaterial to politics,” says Barnes. “I’m well-suited for civic purpose because I’m not a career politician.”

The longtime Millis resident and civic-minded volunteer stands out in the 8th Middlesex field, as much as her bright orange campaign gear. She is a woman entrepreneur, and the only candidate with Select Board experience, having served an extended term as Chair to lead her town’s COVID response. Professionally, she comes from business, and backs up her ability to create transformations and coalitions from 30+ years of private sector, government (state and federal), national executive search, and higher ed experiences. Her work improving the performance and service purpose of a wide range of organizations has been recognized by respected industry associations and by the White House at the United Nations.

Holliston has been part of Loring’s family for now three generations, with her young grandsons receiving the same admonishment she gave to their mother upon entering Fiske’s: “Look with your eyes, not with your hands.” She counts John’s Shoe & Boot Repair, Outpost Farm, and the Superette among regular stops— and says the community engagement and pop-ups at The Bird & Bear Collective are marketing tools familiar to her university entrepreneurial marketing students. Holliston’s First Night Rail Trail Walk was the first adventure for her then puppy, Henry, who is a kid favorite on the campaign trail.

Loring explains that what she sees as the one-way, one-size-doesn’t-fit-all, single-voice State legislature that is inflating our tax bills is only compounding stresses caused by inflation, labor resignations, and product shortages. “We already can’t support the complex needs of public education, provide ample resources to seniors and their caregivers, and we are years behind funding road repairs before the Legislature’s latest unfunded mandate that we tear them up for lead pipe service line replacements,” Barnes says. “I’m a collaborative problem solver who would examine the costs and impacts of policies before making them laws, so we don’t have to make corrections after the fact. We need lawmakers who know it’s about all of us.”

Loring is a graduate of UMass Amherst, which honored her as an “Alumnae to Watch.” She and her husband Michael Edmonds (USAF/FAA, Ret.) are also called “Mimi and Papa,” courtesy of their three adult kids, and Loring is grateful to have her parents, both in their 80s. She knows that the campaign is about to pick up pace and is excited for this next chapter. Still, she says it’s going to look and feel differently, because it will be authentic to her style. Alluding to her Girl Scout roots and years of family camping, she added, “S’mores are a year-round delicacy, and a campaign is a great excuse to chat around neighborhood backyard campfires.”

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