Editorial: Marie McCourt our choice in 2nd Hampshire District

  • The Gazette endorses Marie McCourt in the Sept. 4 Democratic primary for state representative in the 2nd Hampshire District.  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 8/9/2018 9:20:27 PM

Marie McCourt, a lifelong resident of Granby, is our choice in the Democratic primary for state representative in the 2nd Hampshire District. In a three-way race with few significant differences on policies, we believe that McCourt would be the most effective legislator because of her experience in education and business and her skills as an advocate.

Also on the Democratic ballot are Daniel Carey, of Easthampton, a city councilor and assistant Northwestern district attorney, and John Hine, of South Hadley, who has served in elected and appointed municipal government positions and worked for the past 21 years as a senior business analyst in the information and technology department at Baystate Health.

The winner of the Sept. 4 Democratic primary will face Republican Donald Peltier, of South Hadley, in the Nov. 6 election to succeed Rep. John Scibak, who is retiring after 16 years in the seat representing Easthampton, Hadley, South Hadley and Precinct 2 of Granby.

McCourt, 45, has management experience as assistant director of after-school programs at 12 sites in the Valley for the Collaborative for Educational Services, and served on the Granby School Committee for four years until February when she stepped down because of her professional commitments.

She also works up to 20 hours a week as a security guard at athletic events and concerts at the University of Massachusetts and local colleges. Between 2001 and 2007, she was the full-time owner of McCourt Computer Services with clients throughout western and central Massachusetts and northern Connecticut.

For more than two decades, McCourt has advocated for improved education, health care and elder services, giving her valuable insights about how the legislative process works at both the state and federal levels. Her advocacy on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of society is informed by her life experiences, as she was diagnosed at age 7 with Type 1 diabetes and is the mother of a 21-year-old son with special learning needs.

“I began by volunteering at the Granby Council on Aging and working with my state representative (Ellen Story) on elder issues,” McCourt says. “I continued my advocacy efforts by going to Washington, D.C., to fight for research funding for diabetes.”

McCourt credits the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact run by the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, which she completed in 2012, with giving her “the confidence and tools I wanted to be the leader I wanted to be,” fueling her desire to seek elected office.

“I’ve always been on the outside, and now I want to work on the inside,” she says. “I think I bring qualities and experience that are uncommon in government today. 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 have understood the struggle to make ends meet. It is my experiences which will shape my legislative agenda.

“This job is about a commitment to act with integrity and compassion,” she adds. “My job is to make your voices heard.”

McCourt offers specific suggestions on a range of issues, including a carbon tax in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases. Under her proposal, 80 percent of the revenue would be returned to consumers, with the remaining 20 percent invested by the state in infrastructure supporting green energy. For example, she wants more charging stations for electric vehicles.

McCourt opposes biomass continuing to qualify for renewable energy credits, referring to “how much pollution it’s putting in our air.”

While she supports a $15 an hour minimum wage in Massachusetts, McCourt notes that by the time it is achieved in 2023, workers will need a higher figure of at least $20.

McCourt favors a single-payer Medicare-for-All health care system, a graduated income tax and investment in east-west rail service to help stimulate economic development in western Massachusetts.

We commend all three candidates for conducting a campaign that has focused on the issues and avoided personal attacks. We believe that Carey and Hine have much to offer their communities by continuing on municipal boards.

Voters in the 2nd Hampshire District will best be served by electing McCourt, whose understanding of the issues, skills as an advocate and compassion for less fortunate people will make her an impressive state representative.


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