Easthampton carries Carey to 2nd Hampshire victory

  • Dan Carey of Easthampton joins his supporters in celebrating his victory in the 2nd Hampshire District Democratic primary during an election watch party at New City Brewery in Easthampton on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Dan Carey of Easthampton speaks to his supporters celebrating his win in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Hampshire Distirct at an election watch party at New City Brewery in Easthampton on Tuesday.

Staff Writer
Published: 9/5/2018 1:23:07 AM

EASTHAMPTON — Dan Carey, 33, clinched the Democratic nomination for the 2nd Hampshire District Tuesday night with 45 percent of the vote. 

Across the district — consisting of Easthampton, Hadley, South Hadley and Granby’s Precinct 2 — candidates Marie McCourt, 45, of Granby, captured about 30 percent, or a total of 2,128 votes, and John Hine, 65, of South Hadley, finished with 24 percent, or 1,707 votes. 

“John, Marie and I were of one mind on most of the issues before us,” Carey said at New City Brewery in Easthampton, where family members and supporters gathered to celebrate his nomination. “Much more unites us than divides us, and I hope over the coming months I can earn the support of their supporters as well.”

The candidates ran to replace long-term state Rep. John Scibak, 65, D-South Hadley, after he announced his retirement from the Legislature in February after 16 years in office. Carey will face off against Donald Peltier, a Republican from South Hadley, in the general election on Nov. 6.

Should Carey win the general election, he will be the the first state representative from Easthampton since Nancy Flavin, who served for a decade until 2002. He would also follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, William Carey, who held the seat for 12 years beginning in 1976.

At around 9:40 p.m., Carey took to the stage at New City Brewery to deliver his victory speech. He said it was a privilege to “hike the campaign trail” with his fellow candidates.  

“There was never an ill word or gesture between us,” Carey said.  

Carey is an Easthampton City Councilor serving on the finance and public safety subcommittees. He is also a former School Committee member, and the former director of the Drug Diversion and Treatment Program out of the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

Carey has expressed support for increasing funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP; raising the minimum wage to keep up with the rising cost of living; and treating the opioid epidemic as public health crisis for addicts. 

Carey has stated that fixing the funding formula for public education would be his number one priority. He said it is “outdated,” and that costs associated with special education have not been updated in the formula. 

Hine said his campaign did everything it could, and looking back on it, there is nothing he would change following the results of the election. 

“It’s been a positive experience, I’ve never been in a campaign like this,” Hine said. “It’s always gratifying to see folks step up and support you, especially when they don’t get anything out of it. They are doing it out of their desire to help you.” 

The election party for Hine’s campaign took place at The Boathouse restaurant in South Hadley, and Frank DeToma, who served on the Select Board for seven years with Hine, said, “I came to respect his ability and thoughtfulness. I was amazed at his commitment to public service … He loves to do this work, so that impressed me very much.” 

McCourt said she felt disappointed with the results as it became likely that Carey would win the nomination. Her campaign gathered at Ebenezer’s in South Hadley for an election party, and McCourt said that Carey was who the voters wanted. 

“I’ve always been an advocate and a fighter, and that won’t stop,” McCourt said. “There is a lot out there for me, and it’s not the end — it’s the beginning.” 

Gwynne Morrisey, of Easthampton, said, “Marie represents people on the margins who don’t often have a voice in the way our systems work.” 

Earlier in the day, at Hopkins Academy in Hadley, voters praised all candidates for being “civil” during the campaign and expressed their appreciation for a “well-run” race. 

South Hadley residents Martha Terry and Diane Mulvaney threw their support behind their hometown candidate, John Hine.

Mulvaney described him as “the type of candidate that listens, learns and makes informed decisions,” and noted that Hine has been present at numerous meetings and forums throughout the district to hear from residents of every town. 

“He’s well educated, very experienced, and he’s a people person,” Terry said. 

McCourt supporter, Jo-Ann Konieczny, of Hadley, agreed that the race has been “very respectful” among the candidates and that everyone has “treated each other well,” which she said she appreciated. 

Konieczny chose to vote for McCourt, in part, because she said she understands the problems of smaller towns, she will fight for special education funding, and she feels strongly that public transportation needs improvement in the area, a key issue of McCourt’s campaign.

Alex Kwolek, of Easthampton, said he’s known the Carey family for a long time, and he was “always set for Mr. Carey.”

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