Campaign Notebook: Candidate forums on tap

Published: 6/9/2018 12:14:57 AM
Candidates night at Northampton High

NORTHAMPTON — Students will lead a candidates night on Wednesday at Northampton High School’s auditorium, where they will ask questions of candidates in two state races.

On hand to field questions will be candidates running for the 1st Hampshire District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, as well as candidates running for the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District in the Massachusetts state Senate.

The event is scheduled for 6-8:30 p.m. Students will first ask questions of Diana Szynal of Hatfield, the longtime district director of the late Rep. Peter Kocot, and Lindsay Sabadosa of Northampton, a translator and women’s rights advocate, both of whom are running for the Democratic nomination for the 1st Hampshire District.

They will then ask questions of the candidates running for the Democratic nomination for the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District: educator and women’s rights advocate Chelsea Kline of Northampton, attorney David J. Murphy of Amherst, Northampton City Council President Ryan O’Donnell, Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services director Steven Connor of Northampton, former director Jo Comerford of Northampton and University of Massachusetts Amherst employee David Morin of Amherst.

The primary is set to take place on Sept. 4.

1st Franklin district candidates night

LEVERETT — A candidates night will be hosted Thursday by the Leverett Alliance at the Leverett Elementary School for the eight candidates running for the 1st Franklin District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The event will take place at 7 p.m.After candidate introductions, the candidates will talk with small groups to learn what issues are important to the groups and their communities. The candidates will then be asked to speak to the concerns they heard in the groups.

All eight candidates are running for the Democratic nomination. They are Kate Albright-Hanna of Huntington, Andrew Baker of Shelburne, Natalie Blais of Sunderland, Christine Doktor of Cummington, Jonathan Edwards of Whately, Casey Pease of Worthington, Nathaniel Waring of Sunderland and Francia Wisnewski of Montague.

The primary will take place on Sept. 4.

3rd Hampshire District meet-and-greet

AMHERST — The Amherst Democratic Town Committee is holding a meet-and-greet event with the Democratic candidates running for 3rd Hampshire District representative and the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester Senate seat Sunday afternoon.

The event will run from 4-7 p.m. at 229 Amity St.

Expected to attend are Mindy Domb and Eric Nakajima, competing for the state representative for Amherst, Pelham and Precinct 1 in Granby, and candidates for the Senate seat, including Jo Comerford, Steven Connor, Chelsea Kline, David Morin, David Murphy and Ryan O’Donnell.

Comerford reacts to JFK lockdown

NORTHAMPTON — Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District state Senate candidate Jo Comerford of Northampton has expressed horror at the lockdown across multiple Northampton schools that was triggered by a man charged with having air rifles on the grounds of JFK Middle School Thursday, and expressed support for a piece of gun control legislation passed by the state Senate.

“Yesterday afternoon I received a call that no parent or guardian wants. My kids’ school was in a lockdown after reports that there was a man with a gun in the parking lot of JFK Middle School,” said Comerford in a media release.

She then expressed gratitude for the swift action of school staff and teachers and for the police officers that responded.

“But I’m also angry,” Comerford said. “Angry that my kids — that all our children — are growing up amid such blistering fear for their safety.”

She then voiced support for the “red flag” bill passed by the state Senate, which would give a judge the power to remove firearms from a person believed to be unstable or a danger to themselves or others.

“There are roughly eight states with such laws in place,” she said. “Let’s make sure Massachusetts joins them by urging Governor Baker to sign this bill into law.”

She also voiced support for more school-based mental heath programs, anti-bullying initiatives and supporting to end violence against women and other targeted communities.

Comerford left her position as a director for to run for senate, and she noted the gun control campaign that she helped run for the organization in President Barack Obama’s last year in office, which she said helped to get Obama to sign an executive action on background checks.

Comerford is running as a write-in candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District. Of the five other candidates only Chelsea Kline of Northampton, an educator and women’s rights advocate, is on the ballot. The other four write-in candidates are Northampton City Council President Ryan O’Donnell, Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services Director Steven Connor of Northampton, attorney David J. Murphy of Amherst, and Universality of Massachusetts at Amherst employee David Morin of Amherst.

The primary is Sept. 4.

Shauneen Kocot endorses Szynal

NORTHAMPTON — Shauneen Kocot, the widow of the late state Rep. Peter Kocot, D-Northampton, has endorsed Diana Szynal of Hatfield in the race for the 1st Hampshire District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Kocot, the longtime representative for the 1st Hampshire District, left the seat vacant after his death in Februray. Szynal started serving as his district director when he was elected in 2002.

“Diana learned from the best. I have seen her work ethic over the last 16 years and it is beyond impressive,” said Kocot in a statement released by the Szynal campaign. “She not only knows the day-in, day-out nature of the position of State Representative, she knows the constituency of all the towns in the district and she has developed solid relationships with key leaders, high ranking officials, and state legislators. Peter trusted Diana. I trust Diana. She has my unwavering support, and my endorsement.”

Szynal expressed her thanks for the endorsement in the same release.

“Words cannot express what it means for Shauneen to put her faith and trust in me to fill the role that her husband filled so aptly and graciously,” Szynal said. “I promise Shauneen and every constituent that I will strive to be as apt and as gracious as he was if I have the honor to serve as the next state representative of the 1st Hampshire.”

Szynal is running against Northampton translator and women’s rights advocate Lindsay Sabadosa in the Sept. 4 Democratic Primary.

The 1st Hampshire District consists of Northampton, Southampton, Westhampton and Hatfield in Hampshire County and Montgomery in Hampden County.

DA Sullivan endorses Domb

AMHERST — Mindy Domb, a Democratic candidate for state representative in the 3rd Hampshire District, has picked up the endorsement of David Sullivan, the Northwestern district attorney.

Sullivan said in a statement issued Friday that he has known Domb, the executive director of the Amherst Survival Center, as someone who will be a strong and effective advocate in the state Legislature.

“She brings plenty of relevant experience to the job,” Sullivan said. “She understands and has advocated for many of the most pressing issues facing our community, including affordable housing, food insecurity, smart economic development and public education.”

He also credited her with working with those struggling with substance misuse and substance use disorders, and being able to build coalitions and relationships.

“We need a leader like Mindy, who will advocate for our rights and fight for our fair share of resources in the state Legislature,” Sullivan said.

Domb is competing against Eric Nakajima in the Sept. 4 primary for the Democratic nomination for the seat held by Solomon Goldstein-Rose, who is running for reelection as an independent.

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