By Andy Metzger
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
BOSTON -- Whately Selectman Jonathan Edwards, who has spent his career marketing renewable energy and clean tech, has tossed his hat into the race for lieutenant governor, joining fellow Democrats Mike Lake and Steve Kerrigan.
"A lieutenant governor needs to be a partner and the ears and the eyes" for the state's 351 cities and towns, said Edwards, who said his experience as a town selectman dating back to 2004 means he knows "how towns work."
Whately has about 1,500 residents and is located along the Connecticut River between Northampton and Greenfield.
The winning lieutenant governor candidate will pair up with the party's gubernatorial nominee after the September 2014 primary. Karyn Polito, a former state representative from Shrewsbury who ran for state treasurer in 2010, is also seeking the lieutenant governorship as part of a team with Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker.
"I look forward to hearing her positions," Edwards told the News Service. He said, "I want to hear where she stands on things like gay rights and choice."
Edwards, who worked on the presidential campaign of Paul Tsongas and the congressional election of John Olver, called the Democrats running for lieutenant governor "great guys" and said he is not worried about getting into the race months after them.
"I have a leg up in other areas," Edwards said. Edwards worked for the non-profit marketing firm Smart Power for about a decade before opening his own shop, Pioneering Strategies. In Whately, Edwards said he helped regionalize ambulance service and fix the senior center, working with others to "find commonalities."
A native of New Hampshire whose family moved to the Pioneer Valley 30 years ago, Edwards' wife Katie works at Amherst College and they have a son and daughter, ages 9 and 6, he said. Edwards and his wife moved to Whately in 2002, he said.
Edwards has been meeting with Democrats around the state, visiting Worcester Monday night and Mansfield over the weekend.
Edwards said he was not making moves to match up with one of the five Democratic candidates for governor, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Steven Grossman, health care executive Joe Avellone, former Medicare and Medicaid chief Don Berwick and former state and federal homeland security advisor Juliette Kayyem.
"There are five great candidates for governor," Edwards said. He said he got to know Avellone on the Tsongas campaign and Grossman when he was helping Olver and Grossman was chairman of the Democratic State Committee. Edwards praised Berwick's wife, Ann Berwick, who is chairwoman of the Department of Public Utilities, for her environmental efforts and said he has more recently met Don Berwick.
Edwards said he would "hit the ground running" and planned to campaign "virtually full time." He drove to Boston to register his campaign finance account Tuesday, Edwards said.