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Panels Finalized for Congressional Debates Sunday

Democrats Seeking 3rd District Seat to Take Part in UMass Lowell-Boston Globe Events for public, Campus

3rd District congressional debate logo
Candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to represent Massachusetts' 3rd Congressional District will debate the issues on Sunday, April 29 at UMass Lowell.


Contact: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209, or Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944,

LOWELL, Mass. – The UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion and the Boston Globe announced today the candidates who will participate in Democratic primary debates Sunday, April 29 at the university’s South Campus.

The two, 90-minute debates will be held at noon and 2 p.m. in Durgin Hall, 35 Wilder St. The candidates are running in the Massachusetts 3rd Congressional District to replace U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, who is retiring at the end of her term. 

The noon panel is scheduled to include:

  • Jeff Ballinger of Andover, labor organizer and corporate crime researcher;
  • Beej Das of Lowell, president and CEO of Troca Hotels;
  • Leonard Golder of Stow, attorney;
  • Patrick Littlefield of Boxboro, Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation, executive director;
  • Bopha Malone of Bedford, regional business adviser, vice president, Enterprise Bank;
  • Keith St. John of Marlborough, entrepreneur.

The 2 p.m. panel is scheduled to include:

  • Alexandra Chandler of Haverhill, former leader and analyst, Office of Naval Intelligence;
  • Rufus Gifford of Concord, former U.S. ambassador to Denmark;
  • Daniel Koh of Andover, former chief of staff, Office of the Mayor of Boston;
  • Barbara L’Italien of Andover, state senator;
  • Juana Matias of Lawrence, state representative;
  • Lori Trahan of Westford, CEO of Concire Leadership Institute.

The panels were determined based on the results of a recent UMass Lowell-Boston Globe poll of 490 likely Democratic primary voters in the 3rd Congressional District. 

Boston Globe Politics Editor Shira T. Center will moderate the debates. In addition, questions will be posed to candidates by Frank Phillips, Boston Globe State House bureau chief; Rick Sobey, a reporter for the Lowell Sun; and UMass Lowell students from Hingham and Medford. 

UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney will open each debate, which are free and open to the public, with a welcome.

“The free and open exchange of ideas is central to our democracy and to the core values of UMass Lowell,” Moloney said. “We believe these forums will assist voters across the 3rd Congressional District as they consider candidates in the primary election. It will also engage our students in the electoral process and strengthen their understanding of American democracy.”

UMass Lowell has a history of debate sponsorship, serving as the host for prior events in races including:

  • The 2007 congressional special election;
  • The 2012 U.S. Senate Democratic primary;
  • The 2012 U.S. Senate general election between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown;
  • The 2013 special election Democratic primary between Stephen Lynch and Edward Markey;
  • The 2014 state representative primary for the 18th Middlesex District. 

No tickets are required for the public to attend the debate and free parking is available at the Wilder Lot, located at 71 Wilder St., Lowell, a short distance from the venue. Doors open at 11 a.m. for the first debate and at 1:30 p.m. for the second debate. There will be no admission to the hall once each debate has started. More on the debate is available at

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 18,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.