Campaign notebook: Endorsements for Nakajima, Kline, Sabadosa; telecom criticism from O’Donnell

  • Eric Nakajima running for 3rd Hampshire District at the Gazette Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Published: 8/12/2018 10:07:37 PM

AMHERST — Eric Nakajima has received the endorsement of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO in his race for the 3rd Hampshire District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

“Eric Nakajima has the experience and passion to be a strong advocate for quality schools, affordable housing, and higher paying jobs. We need more state legislators who won’t back down when it comes to standing up for working people. I know Eric will be a champion for the people of the 3rd Hampshire District and we are proud to give him labor’s endorsement,” said Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven A. Tolman in a release sent by the Nakajima campaign.

“I am honored to have the support of the AFL-CIO and look forward to working with unions in the district and throughout the state to fully fund our public schools, invest in our communities and support the rights of workers to earn fair wages and benefits,” Nakajima said in the same release. “There is no question that workers are under assault in Trump’s America — I will bring every ounce of my experience and energy to advancing social and economic justice in the Commonwealth.”

The release also says that Nakajima was an early supporter of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Graduate Employee Organization, which is the union that represents graduate student employees at UMass Amherst, and that he’s advocated with unions and students to keep tuition and fees low at the university, as well as for funding faculty and staff contracts there.

Additionally, it notes that Nakajima’s parents were unionized public school teachers, and that he supports paid family and medical leave, a living minimum wage, single-payer health care and debt-free college.

The AFL-CIO is the state’s largest union federation.

Nakajima, the chairman of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, is running against Amherst Survival Center Executive Director Mindy Domb in the Democratic primary for the 3rd Hampshire District. Both candidates are from Amherst, and the district consists of Amherst, Pelham and part of Granby.

The primary will take place on Sept. 4.

Greenfield, Orange officials back Chelsea Kline

NORTHAMPTON — Chelsea Kline, a candidate for Hampshire, Franklin, and Worcester District seat in the state Senate, received endorsements from Greenfield and Orange town officials last Friday.

Tim Dolan, a Greenfield town councilor, and Alexandre Schwanz, an Orange School Committee member, have announced their support for the Democratic candidate. Kline is a Smith College and Harvard Divinity School graduate as well as an educator and woman’s rights advocate.

“Our educational system faces many challenges, in Orange and throughout this district,” said Schwanz. “With a budget heavily dependent on state funds, we need a champion like Chelsea on Beacon Hill with the courage and commitment to achieve full funding for public education.”

Dolan said, “Chelsea Kline has made clear that she will be an active participant in all of the communities in our district, including in Franklin County. She is an impassioned advocate for public education, Medicare for All, and environmental protection, and will make us proud to have her representing us in the Senate.”

Kline is the only candidate on the ballot for the Democratic primary for the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District. She does, however, face three write-in challengers: Northampton City Council President Ryan O’Donnell, former campaign director Jo Comerford and Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services Director Steven Connor. All candidates in the election are from Northampton.

The primary will take place on Sept. 4.

Ryan O’Donnell pans state telecom provision

NORTHAMPTON — Northampton City Council President Ryan O’Donnell, who is running as a write-in candidate in the Democratic Primary for the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District in the state Senate, released a statement Sunday criticizing a portion of the economic development bill passed by the state House and Senate and signed by the governor on Friday.

O’Donnell said that the telecom industry reportedly fought a provision that would have allowed publicly-owned broadband utilities to provide service to customers in neighboring towns. Ultimately, he said that the bill did allow such cross-border service, but only if there was no existing ISP.

“Clarifying that public networks can cross borders was definitely a good thing,” O’Donnell said in the release. “Unfortunately, the wording of the provision also helps shelter companies like Comcast from future competition from town-owned utilities. These companies may be afraid that they might one day have to compete with public broadband.”

“The Legislature should create policies to encourage public broadband in Massachusetts, not just in the places where broadband is currently lacking, but in many communities. Competition brings down prices and improves service for people in ways monopolies cannot,” O’Donnell continued.

The statement also says that municipally-owned broadband utilities can take the lead in ensuring equal access to the internet and service to low income people in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality, and notes that the governor vetoed a commission that would have studied hindrances to providing last-mile broadband internet connections to rural areas, which was contained in the economic development bill.

In the primary, O’Donnell is running against Chelsea Kline, an educator and women’s rights advocate, who is the only candidate on the ballot as well as write-in candidates Jo Comerford, a former campaign director, and Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services Director Steven Connor. All candidates are from Northampton, and the primary will take place on Sept. 4.

Indivisible Northampton backs 3 candidates

NORTHAMPTON — Indivisible Northampton has released endorsements for three candidates running in the Democratic primaries.

In the 1st Hampshire District, Indivisible Northampton is backing translator and women’s rights advocate Lindsay Sabadosa.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, Indivisible Northampton is throwing its weight behind Quentin Palfrey. And in the secretary of state’s race Indivisible Northampton is backing Josh Zakim.

The Democratic primary will take place on Sept. 4.

Indivisible Northampton is the local chapter of the national activist organization founded in the wake of President Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election.

According to the release, Indivisible Northampton has hosted all the Democratic candidates running for Governor, State Senator, State Representative and Lieutenant Governor as well as one of the two candidates running for Secretary of the Commonwealth at its bi-monthly Monday meetings. Over the last month, members have voted on which candidates best represent and are best able to achieve a progressive agenda, with endorsements only given to candidates who achieved 80 percent or more of the vote.

Indivisible Northampton meets on the first and third Monday of every month at 25 Mountain Laurel Path from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m., and all are welcome at its meetings. More information can be found at


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