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Brookline School Committee member readies run against Barney Frank

Posted by Tom Coakley  September 9, 2011 12:31 PM

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A one-term Brookline School Committee member is gearing up to run for the Congressional seat now held by Barney Frank.

Dr. Elizabeth Childs, a psychiatrist in private practice, informed her colleagues on the school board that she would not be seeking reelection this May so that she could concentrate on her campaign for the fourth congressional district seat. She will run as a Republican.

“I think our children deserve a better future,” Childs said. “I’m passionate about education.”

Childs is new to elected office, having won her second office, as a Town Meeting member in 2010 , a year after taking the school board post. But she is no stranger to government: she currently serves on the state Board of Early Education and was the state’s Mental Health Commissioner under Governor Mitt Romney .

Frank has served in Congress since 1981 despite many attempts to unseat him. Childs said she does not see the race as “about Barney or Beth Childs,” but as an opportunity to have “real races and discourse about issues and solutions to our problems.”

Frank’s press secretary, Harry Gural, said the congressman had no comment on Childs’ candidacy.

"He's focused on jobs, excessive military spending, defending financial reforms...he's full-out, and the election is over a year away," said Gural.

Childs’ campaign already has a website and a volunteer staff member, but is still unofficial. Outside of a July 21 letter to friends, she has issued no announcements or reached out to the press. She said that she will announce her candidacy in the fall, after the state Legislature has drawn up at least a draft map of the new Congressional Districts. Massachusetts is slated to lose one district following the 2010 census.

In the meantime, Childs is actively fundraising, she said, and pulling together a campaign team. Nomination papers will not be available until early 2012, according to the Elections Division of the Secretary of State.

Childs supports reducing the deficit with a combination of tax reform and restructuring of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, she said. She is for increasing domestic oil drilling as well as programs to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. She also supports abortion rights as well as the right to carry arms, removing regulations and investing in infrastructure.

Besides her stint with the state, Childs worked on the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the National Institutes of Mental Health. She has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School, as well as board certifications in adult and child/adolescent psychiatry.

Childs has lived in Brookline 20 years, and is married to Ralph Grieco. They have two children in the public schools, Raphael, 11, and Anamaria, 9 .

School Committee Chairwoman Rebecca Stone said that Childs has been an asset to the board.

“I know Elizabeth will bring passion, intelligence and commitment to the primary race, because that is what she has brought to the School Committee, to our benefit,” she said.

Childs is one of several Brookline residents who are or have sought federal office recently. Alan Khazei, co-founder of City Year, is a candidate for the Senate seat occupied by Sen. Scott Brown, and in the last election, Town Meeting member Susan Allen opposed Frank as an Independent.

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