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Second Franklin candidates net major endorsements

Incumbent state Rep. Denise Andrews, D-Orange, picked up the endorsement of Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, while her Republican opponent, Susannah Whipps Lee, gained the support of fellow Athol selectman and Athol-Royalston Regional School Committee Member Lee Chauvette.

Both endorsements came Monday as the three-way contest for the Second Franklin District seat moved to within two weeks of the Nov. 6 election.

Rosenberg, a Democrat from Amherst said, “I’ve worked closely with her during her first term in support of the needs of the communities and constituents that we share in our current districts. She knows her mind and she speaks it loudly and clearly on behalf of those issues and causes which are important not only to her but also to the people she represents.” Rosenberg, who co-chaired the legislative redistricting committee that resulted in what he called the most changed district in the state, said Andrews “works hard for the district and is a strong Democratic voice for Western Massachusetts on Beacon Hill. I support bringing her back so she can continue her hard work for the residents of Franklin and Worcester Counties.” Andrews has also been endorsed by Rep. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer.

Meanwhile, Chauvette, who ran as a Democrat for the Second Franklin seat in 2010 and has since registered as an independent, announced that he is backing Lee, “the first Republican candidate that I have ever endorsed.” Lee Chauvette said in a written statement, “worked tirelessly for our community and region for her entire life. Leadership quality and ability to serve is lacking in our district currently. Susannah is a member of a family that has expanded business and has nearly doubled the work force at their company. Jobs and the economy are huge issues for this region.” Referring to an Aug. 14 incident in which Andrews contacted Athol police about a tip — which later proved false — that Lee had purchased cocaine and that the sale had been investigated by an Athol police officer, Chauvette added, “We need a state representative that operates under sound judgment and decision making factors. I believe recently this entire district has learned that the incumbent lacks such ability with the black eye she served to our police and Ms. Whipps­Lee.” Chauvette criticized what he called “the clear lack of legislation filed on behalf of our community,” and added, “We need a state representative that will reach out and work with municipal leaders. ...The incumbent has never stepped foot into or has met with any of our Athol-Royalston school district officially during her tenure. This is not good relationship building.” The new district, centered in Athol and Orange, also includes Gill, Erving, Warwick, New Salem, Wendell, Royalston, Phillipston, Templeton and Petersham as well as part of Belchertown.

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