Candidates for sheriff pick up key endorsements

May 27, 2016 | G. Michael Dobbs

With the campaign for Hampden County Sheriff in full swing, candidates are seeking and receiving endorsements from groups and individuals.

The following (in alphabetical order) are the latest endorsements from the past several weeks.

Michael Albano

Governor’s Councilor Michael Albano announced on May 9 he had received the endorsement from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, (I.B.E.W.) Local 2324.

The endorsement from Brian Stanton, vice president I.B.E.W. 2324, read in part: “Your speech at our rally in Northampton, the acts of solidarity (changing providers) picketing have been well received by our members and a true sign of solidarity to a public that at times needs to be educated or reminded that labor’s fight is everyone’s fight.”

I.B.E.W. 2324 is currently in a contract dispute with Verizon and on strike, Albano recently released a video of him destroying his Verizon cell phone and switching carriers.

Thomas Ashe

The Springfield city councilor has collected three endorsements recently. The Springfield Patrolman’s Union has given him the nod.

Joseph Gentile, president of International Brotherhood of Police Officers (IBPO) Local 364, said in a statement, “Based on Councilor Ashe’s track record and his stance on major issues impacting our region, our members believe that Tom has the right experience to help protect and serve our community as the next sheriff of Hampden County.”

Another police group, the East Longmeadow IBPO, Local 482, has also endorsed Ashe.

President for IBPO Local 482, Steve Manning, said, “When choosing the next sheriff, voters should pay close attention to where local law enforcement agencies stand because we are the ones who know what it takes.  East Longmeadow police stand with Tom Ashe because we know he is the most qualified to be the next sheriff of Hampden County.”

He added, “Ultimately, our members voted to support Tom Ashe because we believe he is the only candidate for sheriff with substantial experience in corrections and who has the government knowhow to fight for Hampden County on Beacon Hill.”

Ashe also picked up the approval of LiUNA! Local 596. Business Manager Thomas L. Andrews wrote, “Based on Councilor Ashe’s track record and his stance on major issues impacting our region, our members believe that Tom has the right experience to help protect and serve our community as the next sheriff of Hampden County.”

Nicholas Cocchi

The current deputy superintendent of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department has picked up several endorsements, including that of his boss, Sheriff Michael Ashe, Jr.

Ashe said at a Cocchi rally, “In January 2014, when I announced I would not run for re-election, I said I had no ‘anointed successor.’”

Ashe added, “However, I stand here tonight to tell the residents of Hampden County that I endorse without reservation, Nick Cocchi to be our next sheriff.  

“Nick has earned the endorsements of so many law enforcement and public safety unions. For over two years Nick has talked to residents from Wilbraham to Westfield, meeting with and listening to people at their doors, in their churches and at their kitchen tables.

“To me, Nick Cocchi is the only candidate with the experience and vision to preserve the best of what we have accomplished together and lead us into the future contending with the new challenges we face as correctional professionals.”

Cocchi also received the official approval of a group that fought against the siting of the Western Massachusetts Correctional Addiction Center in the North End neighborhood of Springfield.

President Maria Perez of The Women of The Vanguard Inc., wrote, “It is with the utmost respect and pride that Woman of the Vanguard, Inc. wholeheartedly endorse Nick Cocchi for the Office of Sheriff of Hampden County.

“As an organization whose main objective has been, since 2008, working for the well-being of the residents of the North End and the city as a whole, it is our belief that Nick Cocchi is the best qualified candidate to direct the ensuing future issues that face the criminal justice system. He has over two decades of experience and the fortitude to ensure that The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department continues to be an example nationwide. Cocchi is a strong advocate of ensuring the safety of Hampden County residents, yet at the same time, he has an understanding that rehabilitation can be successful.

“He is a highly decorated Academy graduate who has dedicated his life to his career, coming up from the ranks to the position he holds today.”

Cocchi also earned the endorsement of the Massachusetts Police Association endorsement.

“On behalf of the 20,000 members of the Massachusetts Police Officers Association, it is my honor and privilege to announce the endorsement of your candidacy for the office of Sheriff of Hampden County. Your 22 years of vast experience and your willingness to partner with local law enforcement agencies show your genuine commitment to the safety of the citizen’s of Hampden County,” Executive Board member, Alissa Burke, a West Springfield police officer, wrote.

Col. Tim Alben, the former head of the Massachusetts State Police, also has endorsed Cocchi at a recent rally at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Alben has never made an endorsement before in his career.

The Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association also voted unanimously to support his candidacy.

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