AMHERST — Incumbent State Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose will not run for reelection to the 3rd Hampshire District seat, instead opting to leave the Legislature in January to focus on federal energy policy, and is throwing his support behind Democratic challenger Mindy Domb.
At 4 p.m. Thursday, Goldstein-Rose, who unenrolled from the Democratic party in February as a way to reduce partisanship and be more inclusive in pursuing bold policies, informed his campaign email list that, rather than seeking a second term Nov. 6, he would be prioritizing electing a president whose White House initiatives would impact climate change.
“Given the timing of presidential campaigns, I wouldn’t be able to serve another full term as Rep., so I have decided not to contest this election,” Goldstein-Rose wrote. “I’m comfortable shifting my efforts because there is an able candidate already running for this seat. I’ve known Mindy Domb as a dedicated community servant, and I’ve found her passionate and articulate on her priority issues. I hope you will join me in voting for her in the September 4th election.”
Domb, the executive director of the Amherst Survival Center, and Eric Nakajima, the chairman of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, are the two Democrats competing for the seat that represents Amherst, Pelham and Precinct 1 in Granby. There are no other announced candidates.
Domb said she is pleased to get Goldstein-Rose’s endorsement and intends to pursue a progressive agenda.
“I appreciate the high bar Solomon has set for focusing on environmental, energy and climate change issues,” Domb said. “I am honored to receive his endorsement and vote of confidence, and I am looking forward to working with him, as an activist, a public servant and an expert, on how the commonwealth needs to respond to climate change.”
Goldstein-Rose, 24, said his announcement comes after the Legislature’s formal session ended Tuesday.
“I did intense reflection in the last two weeks of the session,” Goldstein-Rose said. “My personal contribution would be best to put into trying to elect a new president.”
In 2016, Goldstein-Rose topped five other Democrats, including runner-up Nakajima, in the primary to succeed Ellen Story, who held the seat for 24 years before announcing her retirement.
Though he received criticism from the establishment for his decision to leave the Democratic Party, Goldstein-Rose said he proved that he could continue to get things done.
“I’ve been just as effective, if not more so,” Goldstein-Rose said.
He cites his involvement in writing the legislation for a civics education bill that encourages project-based, hands-on learning.
“That was one of the most wonderful things I got to be part of in state legislation,” Goldstein-Rose said.
He supported automatic voter registration that passed earlier this summer, formed the clean energy caucus and built support with colleagues for energy policies, including getting $1 million for clean energy technology research. There were also the recent earmarks he helped obtain to renovate Sweetser Park in Amherst and to build new sidewalks in Pelham center, and successful advocacy against an enrollment increase for the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School.
Goldstein-Rose said Domb is articulate about food systems and other progressive policies and that while Nakajima would also be a fine representative, he would like to see more women on Beacon Hill.
“Mindy I see as the one I am more happy to support,” Goldstein-Rose said.
While he doesn’t have any job lined up when he leaves the Legislature after the first Tuesday in January, Goldstein-Rose said he has begun discussions about the roles he might play.
“For me, climate change has to come first,” Goldstein-Rose said. “My consideration is always how can I best contribute to that. I will devote all my energy to this because there is a limited time.”
Scott Merzbach can be reached at email@example.com.