Senator Chandler Awarded 2019 “Outstanding Woman State Legislator Supporting the Arts”

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The Worcester-based Senator is being nationally recognized for her contributions to the arts in communities across Massachusetts.

WORCESTER, MA November 15, 2019 – Massachusetts State Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler has received the 2019 “Outstanding Woman State Legislator Supporting the Arts” Award. This annual award recognizes a female state lawmaker who has made significant contributions in supporting the arts in her state. Senator Chandler received the award at the Women in Government Summit on November 15, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Senator Chandler was nominated by Mass Cultural Council, and selected from a group of well-qualified female legislators. Nominees must demonstrate a significant contribution in support of the arts, evidence of promoting policies that support the arts, collaborate with cultural and education partners to support the arts, and promote the value and importance of the arts in public life.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this award,” Senator Chandler wrote in an email. “I fight for the arts and for cultural development because these programs have a unique way of bringing people together – that means people of all backgrounds, young and old, from all reaches of our Commonwealth, to share in a common experience and a common community.”

Senator Chandler noted that, “This work cannot be done without the tremendous leadership and support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the City of Worcester. In the Heart of the Commonwealth, we know too well that progress can be a struggle. But it is a struggle worth fighting for.”

“Arts, culture, and creativity play a critical role in becoming a great city,” said Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. “Senator Chandler has spent her entire career championing arts and culture by working to increase the Mass Cultural Council budget by millions of dollars, investing her time as a patron of our cultural institutions and providing opportunities to establish and support creative initiatives in Worcester and throughout the state.”

Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty also commended Senator Chandler’s sustained efforts. “It can take years of work to do even a small amount of good, and Senator Chandler’s consistent efforts have been and continue to be instrumental in Worcester’s growth as a city of creativity and inclusion.”

“Senator Chandler has been a fearless leader for arts and culture throughout her career. She understands that bringing the arts into everyday life, for everyone, builds healthy places to live. Worcester’s cultural community would not be as vibrant today without her support for arts education, and building resources for individual artists and our dynamic cultural institutions. She understands that art works,” noted Erin Williams, Cultural Development Officer, City of Worcester.

In her letter nominating Senator Chandler for this award, Massachusetts Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker wrote that, “The arts and culture are not just a set of talking points for Senator Chandler. She is present and participating at countless events in her community, helping to shape the discussion and advance the role of state government in supporting the transformative impact of the arts. Just visit her city of Worcester,” Walker said. “Once drab buildings are now canvases for murals, and the parks and plazas are alive with cultural activity. Worcester has a comprehensive cultural plan that is part and parcel of the city’s master plan. Senator Chandler has been a part of all of this.”

Senator Chandler’s efforts have helped launch the Massachusetts Cultural District Initiative – with Massachusetts now leading the nation in designated cultural districts – and a Universal Participation initiative aimed at increasing accessibility and participation within the arts. In Worcester, Senator Chandler is a corporator of the Worcester Art Museum and the Greater Worcester Foundation, and a member of the Worcester Women’s History Project.

“In the past 12 years the state appropriation for the arts and culture has increased more than 80%,” said Walker. “On top of that, the state has invested more than $120 million dollars in nearly 1,000 capital projects at cultural institutions. This does not happen without the active leadership of passionate legislators. Senator Chandler has provided that leadership at the Statehouse.” Additionally, Walked recognized Senator Chandler’s contribution to ensuring new casino gambling laws contained protections for cultural organizations, which could have otherwise been harmed by new competition.

About Senator Harriette Chandler

Senator Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester) is currently the Massachusetts Senate President Emerita, and previously served as the Senate President from December 2017 to July 2018. She is also the vice chair of the Senate Committee on Bills in Third Reading, the vice chair of the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing, and serves as Co-Chair of the Prevention for Health Caucus and Co-Chair of the Legislature’s Oral Health Caucus.

Senator Chandler began her political career when she was elected to the Worcester School Committee in 1991. She served on the Worcester School Committee from 1991- 1994, three terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1995-2001, and became the first Worcester woman elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in 2000. Now in her 9th two-year term in the Senate, she has moved up through leadership positions in the Senate, starting out as Assistant Majority Whip, then Majority Whip, Assistant Majority Leader, Majority Leader, and Senate President.

Outside of the State House, Senator Chandler serves as a Co-Chair of the Reforming States Group Steering Committee of Milbank Memorial Fund. She is also the President of the 2017-2018 Executive Board of the Women’s Legislative Network of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a State Director of Women In Government, and corporator of the YWCA, Worcester Art Museum, and Greater Worcester Foundation. She is a member of the United Way of Central Massachusetts, Worcester Women’s History Project, Worcester Democratic City Committee and the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee.

Senator Chandler earned degrees from Wellesley College (B.A.), Simmons College Graduate School of Management (M.B.A.), and Clark University (Ph.D.). She holds honorary degrees from Worcester State College, Honorary Doctorate of Public Administration ’88 and Clark University, Honorary Doctor of Laws ’16. She is married to Worcester attorney Burton Chandler and has three grown children and four grandchildren.

About Women In Government

Women In Government Foundation, Inc., headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a national, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of women state legislators. Led by a national Board of Directors consisting of 13 state legislators, WIG provides leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums, and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues to all women state legislators. Women In Government leads the nation with a bold, courageous and passionate vision that empowers and mobilizes all women legislators to effect sound policy in areas such as healthcare, technology, education, energy, workforce development, the environment, transportation, criminal justice, and the arts. To learn more about Women In Government, go to:

About the Worcester Cultural Coalition

The Worcester Cultural Coalition (WCC) is a public-private partnership established in 1999 between the City of Worcester and 12 cultural organizations. Today, membership stands at 78 organizations, accounting for more than 2.7 million visitors to Worcester annually. Its mission is to draw on Worcester’s rich and diverse cultural assets to foster economic revitalization, support active, creative engagement for all, and to promote a strong cultural identity for Greater Worcester. The WCC supports and encourages action that meets these creative goals of the Worcester Cultural Plan promoting cultural equity and creative community engagement. Learn more at

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