Challengers Try to Oust Incumbents
Left to Right: State Representative Rosemary Sandlin, Nicholas Boldyga,
Brian Hoose, State Representative Donald Humason Jr.
Sandlin and Boldyga Vie for Third Hampden District
By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
Southwick resident Nicholas Boldyga believes that the people of the 3rd Hampden District deserve more from their state representative.
On Nov. 4, he will attempt to unseat first-term incumbent State Rep. Rosemary Sandlin.
"We need someone who doesn't have their own agenda [that's] pushing it in Boston," Boldyga said in an interview with Reminder Publications. "We need to have someone hearing the voices in our district."
Boldyga explained that he does not believe Sandlin has been working for the people of her district and sited a quote published in The Republican on June 11 as evidence. The quote read, "Sandlin said she has brought additional state funding for schools and road repairs back to the communities she represents. She has supported a fixed 35-foot buffer zone around birth control and abortion counseling clinics, and has supported same-sex marriage."
Boldyga asked, "As our state rep, how has her work benefited our district?"
He added that the people of the 3rd Hampden District those living in Agawam, Granville, Southwick and Tolland want to see increased funds for infrastructure improvements, lower health care costs, lower higher education costs and create more jobs.
Sandlin said that by voting in favor of the buffer zone and for gay marriage she has helped all those who are seeking those services within her district.
"I'm a very strong pro-choice candidate," she said. "I think that people have the right to get information about birth control and health issues without being accosted [by protesters]."
Sandlin added that prior to the 35-foot buffer zone, there was a rolling buffer zone, which allowed protesters to follow those entering the clinics.
She said that when voting in favor of gay marriage she "voted her conscience."
"We're looking for total equality for all people," Sandlin explained. "Discrimination of any kind is wrong."
She noted that during the past two budget cycles she has also brought increased Chapter 70 state aid for education back to her district.
Boldyga said he is also looking into ways to make higher education more affordable.
"How can the average working family afford $150,000 for a school?" he asked, adding that his mother could not afford to send him to college so he paid his own way. Boldyga added that he is the only person in his family to have a college degree. He earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Western New England College.
Sandlin said she believes the strong community college system in Massachusetts allows students to explore general education classes for two years and then match it with two years of a specific concentration at a university.
Boldyga noted that if elected he will also work toward creating more jobs for those in his district.
"We need to figure out a way to attract businesses to Western Massachusetts and I feel our current legislators have not done a good job of that," he said.
Sandlin said she is also working to bring more jobs to those in the 3rd Hamden District, adding that she is also working to increase services.
"I'm a community activist and a hands-on legislator," she said, adding that she has worked to bring the SNAP (State Nutrition Action Plans) program and Brown Bag to those in the area.
Boldyga noted that he has spent five hours each day going door-to-door to speak with residents about their concerns. He said he will be appearing at various community events throughout the district and can be contacted at anytime at 569-5188.
Boldyga noted that he is also trying to set up at debate prior to the election.
Sandlin said she has not been contacted by the Boldyga campaign to set up a debate but would be happy to do so.
She explained that she is running for re-election because as a "freshman legislator there is a learning and a 'doing curve.'" Sandlin explained that she has learned much of what she needs to know but is still riding along the "doing curve." She noted that she will be working toward the creation of Whalley Park in Southwick, building a Department of Public Works garage in Granville, the expansion of Route 57 and others.
"I haven't completed my mission to help my district," Sandlin said. "I think that I'm the best candidate to see these tasks to fruition."
Hoose and Humason to face off in debate later this month
By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD Westfield resident Brian Hoose has never had any inclination to run for State Representative until recently.
On Nov. 4, voters in the 4th Hampden District will determine whether incumbent and Republican Donald Humason Jr. will remain in his seat or if Hoose will be a new face on Beacon Hill.
"I never really wanted to run for a rep position but somebody has to step up to keep our democratic process alive," Hoose said in interview with Reminder Publications.
Hoose explained that he disagrees with Humason's "conservative, Republican principles."
"He doesn't believe in taxes or spending public funds on various projects," Hoose said.
He added that he believes that legislators representing Westfield should focus on bringing additional aid to the city.
"My record speaks differently," Humason said, when asked about Hoose's comments. "Public money should be spent on priority items [such as] education, public safety, health care and services for senior citizens, veterans and the disabled.
"In the end I voted against the [fiscal year 2009] budget not because it doesn't fund those things but because it funds it all," he continued.
Humason noted that he has supported state funding for initiatives such as the Great River Bridge Project, Noble Hospital and Kamp for Kids.
Hoose said, if elected, he plans to address various problems facing the city and its citizens such as infrastructure improvements, specifically in the Route 10 and 202 corridor, and securing funding for a senior center and a no-kill animal shelter.
"We need to have the Route 10-202 corridor improved because that's where a lot of the [commercial] development is going and [the city] needs a road to carry that [increased traffic]," Hoose explained.
He proposed that "incentive monies" be offered to industries as a means of relocating out of the downtown area and into an industrial park. Hoose noted that increased foot traffic in this area of the city is critical to economic development.
When asked about Hoose's plans to secure funding for a senior center and no-kill animal shelter, Humason said, "I have to question whether those are even the government's priority. I love animals but I think that perhaps when we are facing fiscal problems and cutting programs for human beings it would be a tough sell to taxpayers [to fund a no-kill animal shelter]."
Hoose sited his experience as a member of the State Democratic Committee since 1992, Westfield Democratic Committee Chair from 2006-07, a trustee of the Massachusetts Board of Regional Community Colleges during the 1970s and 80s and service in the Army from 1969-71. Hoose currently works as a shift supervisor for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation.
He said, if elected, he will bring "civility" back to government, bring both parties together to find common ground and put aside "personal ideological thinking."
Humason said he is "proud" of the job that he has done during his three terms in office and that he will continue to lobby on behalf of his district.
"They [members of the Legislature] know about my city because I'm always talking about it and wearing a 'I heart Westfield' pin," he said. "I haven't missed a vote [since July 2005]. You may not like the way I'm voting but I'm always there to vote and be a part of the debate. I take my job seriously."
Humason sited the coming year as one that will be financially challenging for legislators in the wake of the slumping state and federal economies.
"I plan to be in Boston to continue my advocacy for Westfield and Western Mass. and remind people that we are spending taxpayers' money," he said.
According to Lynn Boscher, executive director of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce, the chamber will be hosting a debate for Hoose and Humason sometime later this month.
For more information about the Hoose campaign go to www.brianhoose.org.
For more information about the Humason campaign visit www.donhumason.org.