McGovern, Lovvorn coast into Tuesday’s primaries unopposed

  • U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • Tracy Lovvorn FACEBOOK

  • Light illuminates the U.S. Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington.  AP PHOTO/PATRICK SEMANSKY

Staff Writer
Published: 8/28/2020 1:37:18 PM

NORTHAMPTON — While both the Democratic and Republican primaries in the state’s 2nd Congressional District are going uncontested this Tuesday, each of the candidates are making their cases to voters as to why they should be sent to serve in Washington, D.C.

On the Democratic ballot is incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester, who was first elected to Congress in 1996 and now chairs the House Rules Committee. Running for the Republican nomination is Tracy Lovvorn, R-Grafton, a business owner who owns an outpatient physical therapy clinic in her town. McGovern beat Lovvorn in the 2018 midterm elections with 67.2% to 32.8% of the vote.

In interviews, McGovern and Lovvorn expressed their goals if voters send them to the House of Representatives this election cycle.

McGovern said he’s running for re-election because he’s proud of his record in Congress, noting that he’s focused on human rights issues, championed a pending piece of legislation to fund service dogs for veterans suffering with brain trauma, and brought back federal money to the district. He said he also supports Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

“I have an record to run on, and its a record that I think reflects the values of the people in this district,” McGovern said.

Lovvorn said she was seeking the seat for the same reasons she did in 2018, saying that Congress is “broken.” She said elected officials in Congress for decades have placed the blame on presidents “for their inability to get anything done, and it’s gotten to the point now that it’s really hurting the American people more than ever.”

“We have these long-term career politicians … our congressman included, he’s been in there going on 24 years now. And obviously they can’t fix it,” she said. “It’s so extreme — the extreme partisanship in that branch of government. I just want to help put an end to that.”

In the district, McGovern said there are “major infrastructure needs,” explaining that some water and sewer facilities are in disrepair and that roads, bridges and schools are continuing to age. He also said he cares deeply about the issue of food insecurity, saying that there’s “not a community ... in western Massachusetts that’s hunger-free.” He also said another priority of his is to “create economic opportunity” for job creation.

“I believe that we need to reinvest in our communities,” McGovern said.

When she looks around the district, Lovvorn said she sees people who are struggling with unemployment, even before the pandemic. She said there are federally identified “opportunity zones” — areas in which federal tax benefits are given to investors who realize capital gains and then invest them in such zones — in Athol, Orange, Leominster and Webster that can be utilized more. She said McGovern constantly works against President Donald Trump’s administration.

“There’s opportunity with these opportunity zones, and it’s working with the federal government, finding incentives and trying to get businesses to come to these areas,” she said.

McGovern said that the U.S. government and Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been “terrible, to put it mildly,” saying the country needs coronavirus testing and that funding should be put into medical research for “real cures, not fake cures like hydroxychloroquine.” He said he created a select committee this year to oversee “all of the monies spent on dealing with the pandemic.”

“I’m somebody whose been fighting for change in the status quo for years — for years, against powerful special interests in Washington,” McGovern said, noting he doesn’t take corporate PAC money. “But now is the time where we can build a better country, and so I want to go back to help build that better country.”

Lovvorn said she had worked in skilled nursing for over 20 years, and that in Worcester County, 75% of the coronavirus deaths were in skilled nursing facilities. Sixty-four percent of all probable and confirmed Massachusetts coronavirus deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities, according to state public health officials. She said the federal government could have worked to help obtain proper resources to combat the disease for facilities that had documented issues with hygiene or staffing on previous state surveys.

“Our congressman, instead of yelling about Trump, he should be working … to identify resources to help our skilled nursing facilities. And that’s at the federal level,” she said.

The 2nd Congressional District consists of Amherst, Belchertown, Hadley, Hatfield, Northampton, Pelham and Ware in Hampshire County; Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Leverett, Montague, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Warwick, Wendell and Whately in Franklin County.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.


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