Leah Cole Allen, a 2007 graduate of Lynn Tech High School, is running a highly visible and dynamic campaign for lieutenant governor in the Republican state primary scheduled for Sept. 6.
Allen is a running mate to gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl, with whom she served in the Legislature as a state representative from 2013 to 2015.
“We’re supporting each other in the campaign, hoping that we both will win the primary in September and then go on to be a ticket in November,” said Allen.
A Registered Nurse (RN), Allen launched her campaign in March. She explained the impetus for her decision to return to elective politics.
“The pandemic opened my eyes to a lot of policies that I didn’t agree with,” said Allen. “I thought the government really overstepped. Granted, in the beginning of the pandemic, nobody knew what was happening, it was new to everybody. The two weeks to slow the spread and figure out what was going on, I could even go along with that.
“But as the data started changing and we started learning more about the pandemic, the government overreached. It just went way too far, and a lot of it – like the curfew they instituted, that didn’t make sense – COVID doesn’t know what time it is. The fact that they had arbitrary re-openings of businesses – it really bothered me that nobody was questioning the narrative surrounding the pandemic.”
Allen has also spoken out against the government mandate for taking COVID-19 vaccinations.
“It’s a very new shot, and the data is still being recorded on it,” said Allen. “People have a lot of religious objections to it. I was pregnant during the pandemic, I worked on a COVID floor in the hospital and took care of COVID patients when there was no vaccine available, and I decided I didn’t want to take it.
“Because of the government mandate, even during the nursing shortage, I was let go from my job at Beverly Hospital,” said Allen.
Allen, 33, has carried forth her philosophy about government that helped her win election as state representative.
“I want to see the government work more efficiently for the people that pay into it and the people that it represents,” said Allen. “I want to make sure that we’re good stewards of people’s tax dollars.”
She is confident that Massachusetts voters will support a Diehl-Allen ticket in the election.
“I think that Beacon Hill needs a balance,” said Allen. “Our state legislature is obviously a super majority of Democrats, and they’re getting much more progressive. I think to counteract that, we need strong conservative leadership in the corner office.”
Proud of her Lynn Background
The daughter of Chuck Cole and Mary Cole, Allen grew up in Lynn and attended the Shoemaker Elementary School and Pickering Middle School.
“From an early age, my parents instilled in me an appreciation for the values of hard work, personal responsibility, and caring for others,” said Allen, whose sister, Deena Cole, a Lynn English graduate, is married to local funeral director Joel Solimine, a member of one of Lynn’s most well-known and philanthropic families.
At Lynn Tech, Allen was a highly respected student leader and became a member of the varsity cheerleading team.
She considered specializing in the Tech nursing program, “but when I tried out the TV media program, I liked that, too, so I went into that – and then ultimately after graduation, I went back to nursing and became an LPN and then an RN.”
She has great memories of her upbringing in the city.
“I loved having my friends in Lynn, especially when I got to high school and had the support network that the teachers gave to their students – I thought it was incredible,” said Allen. “I’m still in touch with my media teacher, Don Hussey. He attended my wedding and came to the Statehouse and took photos when I was first sworn in as state representative. I made lifelong connections at Tech, and the teachers at the school are amazing. Mr. Hussey is an incredible educator.”
After high school, Allen received her certification as a licensed practical nurse LPN.
Leah is married to Ryan Allen, a union elevator mechanic. They have two young children.
Winning Election as State Representative
At the age of 24, Leah Cole Allen decided to run for state representative in a special election in Peabody.
Allen stunned the political establishment by defeating a sitting school committee member and city councilor in the election.
“I think it was that I’m really just a regular person and at that time, I was talking about the fact that the state was wasting all kinds of money,” said Allen. “There were reports that the state couldn’t account for funds in different state departments. Then-Governor Deval Patrick proposed the biggest tax increase in the history of Massachusetts, and I thought, ‘hey, wait a minute, I’m working at a nursing home, doing 16-hour shifts trying to pay off my student and car loans – I don’t want to pay any more taxes. Just talking about that resonated with a lot of people and that’s what brought me back into politics. I saw things in this state that I thought we could do better’.’’
Allen was re-elected to the position in 2014 before deciding to step down from the House and return to school and finish her RN degree requirements.