Collins faces challenger for First Suffolk Senate seat

Samuel Pierce

State Sen. Nick Collins will face opposition from a first-time candidate from Dorchester in the Sept. 1 primary election for the First Suffolk district. Samuel Pierce, who has been active as a volunteer in city and state election campaigns, will be on the primary ballot as a Democrat. 

“Looking at all the issues prevalent right now, from policing to education, I just knew it was time to have a Black person in the state Senate,” Pierce told the Reporter in a phone call.

“One of the things guaranteed in the Constitution is equal representation under the law and we don’t have that. There’s not one Black person serving in the state Senate.”

Pierce, who lists an address on Bushnell Street, has mainly worked behind-the-scenes to help elect other Democrats, including US Rep. Seth Moulton, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, and At-Large City Councillor Julia Mejia.

“I realized that there is a symbiotic relationship between government officials and the citizens that elect them. Campaigning for Moulton was really the start of going against incumbents that I felt weren’t living up to the Democratic Party’s values,” said Pierce. “I feel like the people really don’t have a say in politics because of special interest groups, and Democrats that seem like they would help elect people that look like me often don’t.”

Pierce says that if elected he would work to dismantle systemic racism, address disparities in health and housing, take steps to rectify the effects of redlining on communities of color, and reallocate police funds. 

“Defunding the police to me means reallocating funds,” he said. “I would look at completely gutting construction details and spend that money on community service officers.”

Pierce called the choice between him and Collins “cut and dry. Our beliefs are fundamentally different,” he said, pointing out that Collins recently voted against the Senate’s policing bill.

Collins has defended that vote— noting, in part, opposition to the Senate bill from Black police officers.

“I look forward to voting for a package that brings about thoughtful and meaningful reform to address police misconduct, holds unfit police officers accountable, and addresses racial injustice in our Commonwealth,” Collins said in a statement last week.

There is another major difference between the two men: campaign resources. As of Tuesday, Pierce had not set up an account with the state’s Office of Political and Campaign Finance, a requirement of all candidates for office, to disclose the source of funds raised and spent. Nor does Pierce have an active campaign website. He has mainly used Twitter to challenge Collins on his policy positions.

The primary elections will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Other races on the ballot that day include state representative and US Senate. The final election, which will include the presidential ballot, is on Tues., Nov. 3.