| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – Teens For Action Springfield, the group that has sponsored the local March for Our Lives events, has made its first political endorsement.
The group is backing former Springfield City councilor Amaad Rivera in his effort to win the senate district current held by state Sen. James Welch.
Travaugh Smith, the co-founder of the group, told Reminder Publications the decision to make an endorsement was based educating young voters.
“It’s important to educate teenagers who to watch out for,” he said.
In a press release the reason to back Rivera was stated, “Amaad Rivera shares our goal to reduce gun violence.”
Smith said it was “unlikely but not impossible” for the group to make another endorsement this election cycle.
Welch’s voting record and his approval scores from the National Rifle Association were “very heavily weighted” in the decision-making process.
“The current incumbent, Sen. James Welch, has had multiple A, B and C ratings with the National Rife Association, higher then Gov. Charlie Baker,” the group stated.
Smith added that involvement in the community was another factor in the decision to endorse Rivera.
The Sabis International Charter School student said that from “previous interactions” the group made this assessment. He asserted that on several occasions Welch’s staff did not make him available for in-person meetings.
The endorsement read, “On Saturday, April 28th, Teens for Action Springfield endorsed their first political candidate for office, Amaad Rivera for State Senate. As an organization with specific legislative goals, Amaad Rivera shares our goal to reduce gun violence. Amaad Rivera has worked with us on several initiatives, such as the Massachusetts Parents United and Teens for Action Springfield joint Town Hall, as well as the Walls of Demand created by Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver, who was killed during the Parkland shooting. Teens for Action Springfield wholeheartedly supports Amaad Rivera for the Hampden State Senate seat, and encourages all people in his district to vote for him when the time comes.”