Granby woman to run for seat held by Scibak

  • Marie McCourt, a former Granby School Committee member, on Thursday announced her intention to run for the 2nd Hampshire District seat currently held by John Scibak, D-South Hadley. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Thursday, March 08, 2018

GRANBY — A former School Committee member in Granby is the second person to announce intentions to run for the 2nd Hampshire District seat currently held by Rep. John Scibak.

Marie McCourt, a Democrat, has served as chairwoman of the Granby Democratic Town Committee.

“It’s just my next step,” McCourt said of her plans to run.

McCourt was elected to the School Committee in 2014 and re-elected in 2017. She chose to step down in February due to work commitments. Should she be elected, McCourt said the position would be her only full-time job.

She also ran unsuccessfully for the Granby Select Board in 2013.

The 45-year-old McCourt is the second candidate to announce for the seat. Easthampton City Councilor Daniel Carey, whose grandfather, William Carey, held the seat for 12 years, announced last month.

McCourt is in the process of filing her candidacy with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

Scibak has represented the 2nd Hampshire District since 2003. He announced last month he would not seek re-election.

McCourt counts both Scibak and former state Rep. Ellen Story as mentors, although she said neither have chosen to endorse her at this time.

McCourt works for the Collaborative for Educational Services as an assistant program director for 12 different after-school programs in communities across western Massachusetts. She also works as a security officer for Green Mountain Concert Services.

The 2nd Hampshire District consists of Easthampton, South Hadley, Hadley and Precinct 2 of Granby. Asked if she thinks she will be at a disadvantage running from a smaller community, McCourt said no, noting that her job running the after-school programs takes her into Easthampton, where three of the programs are located.

She is also on the executive board of Neighbors Helping Neighbors Inc., a food pantry that serves Granby and South Hadley residents.

On the issues, McCourt listed education funding as a big priority, and said that she would like to see the state reform the way it funds public schools through its Chapter 70 formula. She also said that she is concerned with medical access, disability and elderly issues.

“I think I bring qualities and experience that are uncommon in government today,” said McCourt, in her announcement statement. “I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. My father died when I was young, and I was raised by a single mother. As a kid, and even as an adult, I understand the struggle to make ends meet. It is my experiences, which will shape my legislative agenda”

McCourt lists her 2012 training with the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact as a major influence that gave her the confidence to seek to become more of a leader in her community. The institute is an initiative of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts that seeks to prepare women to become civic leaders, advocate for policy and run for elected office.

McCourt said that she is “an incredibly hard worker” and service-oriented to a fault.

“Overwhelmingly positive,” said McCourt, when asked about the reaction to her announcement.

She also said that people have asked her to run for state representative in the past, but that she would have never run against either Scibak or Story.

Should she be elected, McCourt said that she would work full time as the 2nd Hampshire District’s representative.

“The constituents deserve full-time attention,” she said.

McCourt has a husband, Matthew McCourt, as well as a 21-year-old son.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.