Harriette L. Chandler

Massachusetts State Sentaor

I think the other difference is that women, I’ve found -- and I’ve been Chair of the Women’s Caucus in the past so I hear these things over and over again -- but women are very hesitant to run for office. It’s almost as though there’s this huge barrier and they start thinking about how much money they have to raise, they start thinking about do they have enough of a base, they also, probably because I know this is the way my mind works – do I have the right set of talents for this? Do I have the right degrees? I mean women think we can solve everything by going to school and getting another degree. The truth of the matter is that men don’t think of this at all. They graduate from college and if they want to run they run [laughs] and it sort of works out. But women don’t think that way. It’s all got to be more carefully planned out and that is one of the reasons I think that women have –  we have about a quarter of the legislature are women and that is about the same percentage that we’ve had for the entire sixteen years I’ve been there.


Sen. Harriette Chandler is the first woman from Worcester to be elected to the Massachusetts State Senate and has also served on the Worcester School Committee and the Massachusetts House of Representatives. She earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College in 1959, a Ph.D. from Clark University in 1973, and an M.B.A. from Simmons Graduate School of Management in 1983. She is married to Atty. Burton Chandler and has three children and four grandchildren. In this interview she discusses her childhood, education, reasons for entering politics, being a woman in politics, and the political issues she has championed for the citizens she represents.

Interview Date: 
August 10, 2010