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Mary Clare Higgins during a press conference held in her office Thursday afternoon.

Clare Higgins: Obamacare’s Republican roots

Friday, June 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON— The Supreme Court has spoken – and Obamacare lives! Chief Justice Roberts, no friend of the president, wrote the majority opinion that allows the Affordable Care Act to stand. There has been the hope for repeal on the right, and a single-payer system on the left, but it’s Obamacare for the win. Elements of the Affordable Care Act are derived from two sources, both Republican in origin. Richard Nixon …

Adam Fisher: The idea of racial reconciliation in America

Thursday, June 25, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Here’s another column about racism you do not need to read. In the emotional tsunami that rose up after June 17 fatal shooting of nine black members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, a friend of mine sent me a proposal. The Rev. Emmett Coyne, a …

Don Robinson: The person we are looking for as president

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ASHFIELD — Campaign 2016 is still in its early stages. People like Donald Trump and Lincoln Chaffee are throwing their hats into the ring. Pundits are assessing the chances of candidates like Rick Santorum and Martin O’Malley. Before the winnowing gets serious, we need to ask ourselves fundamental questions. What are the demands of this office? What qualities, what experience should we be …

Questioning the moderator — an exchange between Southampton officials on May 19 Town Meeting

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an exchange between Gary R. Swanson, chairman of the Southampton Board of Assessors and a former Town Meeting moderator, and Robert Floyd, the current moderator, over handling of the May 19 meeting. At the May 19 Southampton annual Town Meeting, Moderator Robert Floyd …

Michael Engel: A fresh look at an American epithet: the ‘s-word’ — for socialism

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: Michael Engel, a professor emeritus of political science at Westfield State University and former Easthampton selectman and bookshop owner, is the author of a new book on socialism. The “s-word” — socialism — is and always …

In sifting through corporate pitches, it pays to consider the fine print

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mark Zinan: In sifting through corporate pitches, it pays to consider the fine print …

Mary Olberding: Why we must do more to get the lead out

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — On Tuesday, I testified before the Joint Committee on Public Health at the Legislature in support of House Bill 2049, a measure meant to update consumer protections in keeping with new information about lead dangers. Among its provisions, this bill would double tax credits to incentivize …

Jim Ayres: Saluting lives of remarkable ordinariness

Monday, June 1, 2015

At first glance, it might seem the nominations the Gazette and United Way of Hampshire County received for our first Person of the Year Award are in the realm of ordinary. There is no one who dedicated their …

Jay Fleitman: What is it that makes America, well, America?

Monday, June 1, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — There is nothing like traveling in another country to make you reflect on what it means to be a citizen of your own. We had just returned from three weeks traveling in Ireland — a very pretty country, intensely green like a well-manicured park, with large …

Clare Higgins: Do we pass Hubert Humphrey’s moral test of a society?

Friday, May 29, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Hubert Humphrey: “It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, …

Don Robinson: Debating issues of day remains citizen’s true calling

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ASHFIELD — This is a tale of American democracy at work on two extreme levels. On the first Saturday in May, Town Meeting in Ashfield was asked to decide whether to mount a preschool for all children in the nine-town regional school district of which Ashfield is a …

J.M. Sorrell: Never more proud to be of Irish heritage

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

HAYDENVILLE — Never have I been more proud to be Irish than on May 22. The Irish people — urban and rural alike — voted for marriage equality. In a country where close to 90 percent of the population is Catholic and goes to Mass every Sunday, they …

Jane Lyons: The long wait for what’s right — child welfare on margins in Massachusetts

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

HADLEY — It just hit me. If a person went to a hospital emergency room and wasn’t treated for days or months, we would all be outraged. If there were inadequate numbers of staff to treat us, or a family member or friend, we would demand that the …