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Voters ready to make choices

  • Jimmy and Rosaleen Quinn talk Sunday at the Miss Florence Diner about their preferred candidates in Tuesday’s primary. STAFF PHOTO/Bera Dunau

  •  Jimmy and Rosaleen Quinn both encourage people to vote in the Sept. 4 primary. Bera Dunau—Bera Dunau

  • Sarah Girouard, of Southampton, says she will probably vote in the primary. Bera Dunau—Bera Dunau

  • Dan and Pat Bergeron, of Chicopee, say that they will be voting for Tahirah Amatul-Wadud in the Sept. 4 primary. Bera Dunau—Bera Dunau

  • Stephanie and Juno Orion, of Easthampton, pictured here with daughter Sylvana, just recently began looking into the candidates in the Sept. 4 primary. Bera Dunau—Bera Dunau



@BeraDunau
Monday, September 03, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — The Democratic primary election set to take place Tuesday will determine the makeup of the Pioneer Valley’s delegation to Beacon Hill, possibly for years to come. Yet, a number of voters are still doing their research and making up their minds.

The 1st Hampshire District, 2nd Hampshire District, 3rd Hampshire District and 1st Franklin District in the Massachusetts House, as well as the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District in the state Senate, will all be represented by a new legislator next year. And with the exception of the 2nd Hampshire District, all candidates in those races are running in the Democratic Party primary, meaning that the primary is likely to be the deciding race in all four contests.

Meanwhile, two Democratic incumbents who represent the area are also facing primary challenges. Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, who represents the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District in the state Senate, is being challenged in the primary by Thomas Wickham of Lee, while U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, is facing a challenged from Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, also of Springfield, in Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District.

The Hampshire County towns in the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District are Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg and Worthington, while the Hampshire County towns in the 1st Congressional District are Easthampton, Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Granby, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, South Hadley, Southampton, Westhampton, Williamsburg and Worthington.

“I’m going to study them all,” said Loretta Card, of Florence, at the Miss Florence Diner, when asked what candidates she was favoring.

Card said she’s looking for which candidate can work with both parties, also citing looking out for seniors as important.

“There’s way too much division,” she said.

“We did a little research last night,” said Stephanie Orion, of Easthampton, out for a walk with her husband Juno and daughter Sylvana.

Orion said it’s difficult to distinguish between the three candidates in the 2nd Hampshire District.​​​​​​

“One of them’s gonna win,” Juno Orion said. “And that’s good.”

The candidates running are Easthampton City Councilor Dan Carey, former Granby School Committee member Marie McCourt and former South Hadley Selectman John Hine.

Melinda Beasi, of Easthampton, speaking outside the Black Sheep Deli in Amherst, said she is leaning toward McCourt in the 2nd Hampshire District race, but needs to do more research.

“She seems like the most progressive candidate to me,” she said.

Sarah Girouard, of Southampton, who waitresses at the Miss Florence Diner, said she will probably be voting in the primary but hasn’t paid attention to the races.

Not everyone is just tuning in to the contests, however.

“He actually works for people and he’s approachable,” said Jimmy Quinn, at the Miss Florence Diner with his wife, Rosaleen Quinn, on why he’s backing Ryan O’Donnell in the Senate race, recalling how O’Donnell had helped him out with a sidewalk issue.

Quinn also said he thinks he will be voting for Diana Szynal in the 1st Hampshire District.

“We’re voting for Tahirah,” said Dan Bergeron, of Chicopee, at the Miss Florence Diner alongside his wife Pat.

“We don’t believe in politicians staying in office,” Pat Bergeron said.

“Forever,” said Dan Bergeron, finishing his wife’ sentence. “(Neal’s) been in office long enough.”

Dan Bergeron also said he and his wife wanted to make a statement by voting for a woman and a Muslim.

“We’re both independents,” he said, noting that he and his wife have voted for Republicans and Democrats alike and are very much opposed to President Donald Trump.

Amatul-Wadud seemed to have attracted the attention of a number of other voters as well.

“New blood is really necessary right now,” said Theresa Grisanti, of Easthampton, out for a walk with her children in the city. She said that there needs to be more representation of women and minorities.

These were also the reasons that Beasi gave for supporting Amatul-Wadud.

“Tahirah’s pretty great,” said Juno Orion, with his wife Stephanie characterizing her as an “exciting, interesting choice.”

Jimmy and Rosaleen Quinn both encouraged people to vote, noting the low turnout in American elections.

“Where we’re from, everybody votes,” he said.

He and Rosaleen both hail from Ireland originally.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.