As a local businessman and former State Senator, Richard has developed a reputation as a problem solver who works across party lines to get things done, and focuses on the needs of those he represents. Respected by both Democrats and Republicans alike, Richard has been endorsed in the past by the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and many other publications familiar with his character, leadership, and effectiveness as a State Legislator.Richard’s great grandparents emigrated from Tivoli, Italy – a small town just outside of Rome – to the North Shore of Massachusetts. His mother and father owned and ran small businesses, and Richard grew up attending Lynnfield Public Schools. Richard went on to become the first in his family to graduate college, earning his degree from The American University in Washington, D.C.
In 1984, Richard was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, becoming the youngest Republican elected in the Commonwealth’s history. He served as a member of the Education Committee and the Committee on Government Regulations. In 1990, he was elected to the State Senate in an overwhelmingly Democratic district where Republicans made up only 11% of the electorate. His non-partisan approach to legislating attracted support from many Democratic and Independent voters, who re-elected him 10 times. He served as a member of the influential Ways and Means Committee and in a number of other leadership capacities. His colleagues chose him to serve as Senate Minority Leader from 2006-2010. Former Governor Paul Cellucci described Richard as a “principled friend and ally” for “fighting to reduce taxes, cut spending or reform state government.” In 2010, Richard led opposition to the sales tax increase and offered over $1 billion in cost-saving reform measures. Richard also played an important role in passing Massachusetts Welfare Reform, which became a model for the nation. Richard championed the Whistleblower Protection Act, which protects healthcare workers from harassment or retaliation by employers for reporting patient abuse or unsafe working conditions. He sponsored Anti-Bullying Legislation, helped develop a State Parks Preservation Trust Fund, and fought to give veterans preference for state-owned housing. Richard’s father suffered from ALS and one of his three sisters is physically disabled. Richard’s personal family experience motivated him to work hard in the Massachusetts legislature to advocate for the disabled, senior citizens, and children. His work earned him a reputation for being a steadfast advocate for the most vulnerable and accolades from many human service organizations in Massachusetts including:
· The Massachusetts Alliance for the Mentally-Ill – Legislator of the Year
· The Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers – Legislator of the Year
· Housing Families’ Community Hero Award
· The Massachusetts Women’s Caucus – Good Guy Award
· Massachusetts Developmental Disability Council – Legislator of the Year
· YMCAs of Massachusetts – Legislator of the Year
· Home and Healthcare Association – Legislator of the Year
Richard’s independently owned, Lynnfield-based real estate firm, Northrup Associates, has grown into one of the largest independent real estate firms on the North Shore. Aside from owning and managing the business, Richard has been a successful Realtor, developing a knack for overcoming obstacles in order to bring buyers and sellers together. Richard is also a member of the Lynn and Wakefield Chambers of Commerce and has been named “Realtor of the Year” by the Eastern Middlesex Association of Realtors. During his time in the Massachusetts legislature, Richard earned top marks from groups such as Citizens for Limited Taxation, the Mass High Technology Council, and the Massachusetts Federation of Independent Business. Richard co-owns his real estate company with his longtime partner, Bernie Starr. Richard and Bernie were married in 2013 and spoil their beloved dog, Mooki, at their home in Wakefield.