Just before the start of 8th grade in the summer of 1988, Allison took a plane on her own for the first time to travel to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. With an “I’m flying alone!” button affixed to her t-shirt, Allison was seated next to renowned journalist Cokie Roberts, who was heading to Atlanta to cover the Democratic National Convention and was drafting a report on candidate Jesse Jackson. While the specifics of that animated conversation between the school-age girl dreaming of outer space and the professional woman dedicated to revealing the complexities of life here on earth have long since evaporated, the encounter not only cemented Allison’s developing conviction that women could do important, fascinating things, but also brought her two-dimensional history textbook vividly to life. For the first time, Allison understood what it looked like when a nation asked itself to debate the essential questions about how best to live and work together.
After witnessing the attacks on 9/11 from the street below the World Trade Center and being temporarily relocated to her hometown during Ground Zero recovery, Allison decided to pursue an elementary school certification with an emphasis on international and multicultural education because it was clear that in order for children to grow into tolerant, compassionate and well-rounded adults, they needed the tools with which to engage and understand both their own culture and those with which they are unfamiliar. She then spent a year teaching sixth grade in Egypt, as the Middle East felt like the epicenter of the unknown and almost as mysterious as space itself. Allison will bring that same thirst for understanding to our treasured community; she is as eager to learn from and about those of you whose roots trace back generations as she is to help shape a vision for our district that all of our children will be proud to inherit.
Managing a commercial office building in Peabody for the last ten years, Allison witnessed not only the recession’s impact upon her tenants’ small businesses, but also how struggles with health and family issues can derail a livelihood. Her tenants’ struggles were deeply familiar, as Allison’s family had been devastated when her father was diagnosed with cancer and their security, including their family home, were reduced to memories of more stable and prosperous times. Had her father not had access to high-quality health insurance, their losses would have been catastrophic.
Allison is running for the Massachusetts State Legislature because she believes that political life can and must represent the intersection between our values, morals, and the practical necessities associated with every stage, both the expected and the unexpected, along the journey from early childhood through old age. For those of us on the North Shore, that means that we must focus on and protect our natural heritage as both a source of beauty and connection in its own right as well as an underutilized resource for sustainably operated business development and tourism. With our many nationally-recognized school systems, we have the opportunity to continually improve upon what is working and innovate from a position of strength, and we must not only cultivate ingenuitive minds but also the character and critical-thinking skills by which those ideas strengthen our social fabric as well as our economic viability. Our children must emerge from a North Shore education with an appreciation for the complexities of life and the ability to navigate those complexities, but we must equally ensure that every child feels supported, connected to peers and the guidance of adults, and has the opportunity to enjoy the ageless, timeless pleasures of family, community, and the freedoms to both explore and dream.
Allison believes that our communities are strongest when we all have the opportunities to engage with and learn from each other. She has chosen to serve on the Manchester Council-on-Aging for this very reason: when children and seniors get together, all are elevated. She believes that the inevitable pacing of modern life can and must be balanced with the qualitative pleasures of learning about and from each others’ experiences, and she feels that this is as true of neighborhood toddlers and grandparents as it is for states, political parties, and nations. She believes that just as we must invest in quality education for children at every age, so must we invest in and protect the senior citizens who require our support so that they may continue to lead healthy, connected lives.
Allison’s husband Mark was born and raised in Ipswich, and they have chosen to raise their two children on the North Shore. Whether collecting shells with her kids on Pavilion Beach or cheering along with the Manchester Fourth-of-July parade, Allison is constantly reminded of the unmitigated good fortune that landed her in such a uniquely spectacular community. That appreciation has deepened through her experience of founding and leading Essex County #6 Indivisible, an organization of concerned local citizens devoted not only to resisting the current Administration’s agenda but also to taking concrete action towards the revitalization of civic participation and democracy itself. She believes passionately that while life inevitably involves experiences of challenge and hardship for each of us, there is also a sphere of common interest and concern that, like a healthy circulatory system, supports our ability to both address and transcend those challenges and, indeed, fulfill our individual and collective potential.
"Under Allison's thoughtful direction, Essex County #6 Indivisible provided me the opportunity to join its leadership team and help guide the group forward. I'm now much more comfortable taking action that will make a difference in local and national politics. Being a part of this group has been so empowering!"
— Christina Holz, Hamilton