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IN THE race for the Middlesex and Suffolk state Senate district, we enthusiastically support Democratic incumbent Michael J. Barrett '70. Barrett has shined for four years in the Senate as the champion of progressive legislation--most notably, the Gay Rights bill--and has served his constituents with integrity and determination. We see no reason to question his re-election bid.

Accusations by Republican opponent William F. Hofmann III that Barrett is a blindly obedient crony of Senate President William M. Bulger are simply unfounded. Last year, for example, Barrett struggled intensely with Bulger over the Gay Rights Bill--and steered it to passage despite Bulger's objections. Barrett has also provided excellent constituent services.

Unfortunately, Barrett has responded to Hofmann's negative attacks with equally bitter responses. We hope that in the future, Barrett will avoid petty nastiness and allow the voters to decide his political future on the basis of his record in the Senate. Thus far, it is a record of legislative leadership that merits giving Barrett another two years on Beacon Hill.

HOUSE Majority Leader Charles F. Flaherty is the obvious choice in the race for representative of the 27th Middlesex District. Flaherty, practically assured to become House speaker if re-elected, carries almost 23 years of state government experience with him--an important qualification Republican opponent and political novice A. George Catalovo cannot come close to matching.

But much more important, Flaherty has proven time and time again as House majority leader that he is an effective legislator, arguably the only person on Beacon Hill with the strength and power to lead the House through the bitter budget battles that loom ahead.

IN THE race for representative in the 28th Middlesex District, we back Democratic incumbent Alvin E. Thompson. While his independent opponent Ralph Lopez should be commended for introducing important issues such as the environment into the race, Thompson's dedication to his constituents and his experience in the legislature are important assets that the Cambridge community should value highly.

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