Former Peabody State Rep. Leah Allen speaks in an interview. She is the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor. (Sam Deeb)
Local Government and Politics, News

Lynn Tech. grad, former Peabody Rep. sets sights on Lt. Gov. race

Lynn Tech. graduate and former Peabody State Rep. Leah Cole Allen said if she is elected lieutenant governor in the general election on Nov. 8, she will put an end to COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates in Massachusetts.

Allen is running on a Republican ticket with gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl. Together, they will face off against their Democratic opponents Attorney General of Massachusetts Maura Healey, who is running for governor, and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who is running for lieutenant governor. 

Allen previously made national headlines when she lost her job as a nurse at Beverly Hospital after refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Allen said she was pregnant and that the shot “wasn’t right” for her at the time despite the national Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recommendation that pregnant women stay up to date on their vaccinations.

Allen launched her bid for lieutenant governor in March with Diehl, whose campaign focuses on lowering the cost of living, empowering parents regarding their children’s education, and saying “no” to COVID-19 lockdowns.

“We were so focused on preventing the spread of the virus, that the collateral damage was ignored,” Allen said. “It has far-reaching, devastating consequences for mental health, for addiction issues, for the economy of course, and I just wish we had gone in a different direction.”

Allen said she and her son both caught the virus when her son was one month old. She described it as a “bad cold.” Allen said she has still not received a COVID-19 vaccination. 

Approximately 6.58 million people have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, according to the CDC. Despite the vaccine’s designation as safe and effective by the CDC, Allen said the organization is using “totally flawed” data.

When asked what evidence she has to back up her claims, she cited the “Great Barrington Declaration,” which in 2020, claimed mass COVID-19 infection could be tolerated, and that any infection would contribute to long-term herd immunity.

“The CDC picks and chooses who their experts are but that’s not what science is about,” Allen said. “Science is about debating the ideas.”

Allen said if elected, she and Diehl would get rid of the Massachusetts executive order requiring state workers to be vaccinated, hire back government employees who lost their jobs over their failure to comply with the order, and “fire everyone responsible.”

“It’s really not the government’s role,” Allen said. “It can give them information to make their own decisions, but when it comes down to it, I don’t think the government has any business deciding who is an essential worker because if you own a small business and that is providing for your family and putting food on the table, that’s essential to you.”

Born in Malden, Allen grew up in a family of Independents. She attended Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, where she studied TV Media. She then went on to receive nursing credentials and a bachelor's degree.

Allen took a break from practicing nursing to run for a Peabody state representative seat in a special election in 2013. Allen originally campaigned on lowering taxes. She was elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2014 to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for a second term before resigning to return to her nursing career. She said she is most proud of the legislature’s work to repeal the Massachusetts Automatic Gas Tax Increase in 2014.

Although she now lives in Danvers, it was in the state legislature where she first met her current running mate.

“When I saw that Geoff was running for governor, I originally just wanted to come out and support him,” Allen said. “I went out to support him and introduce him at events and things and the conversation evolved to me jumping in for lieutenant governor.”

Other views Allen holds that inspire her campaign include the fact that she is anti-abortion, believes in school choice, and would like to see taxes lowered by pausing taxpayer subsidies for renewable energy. 

Notably, she is opposed to Question 4 on the Massachusetts ballot this November which, if passed, would grant undocumented immigrant residents the right to receive driver’s licenses.

“A lot of times the other side will say we’re right-wing extremists and I don’t agree with that,” Allen said. “The Democrat party has taken a hard turn left and what we’re talking about used to be considered normal. …I would be interested to see who thinks anything about what we’re talking about is extreme and I’d like them to tell me what’s extreme.”

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