The candidates vying to fill the Massachusetts state senate seat formerly held by Mike Knapik debated each other Friday. State Representative Don Humason of Westfield, a Republican, and Holyoke City Councilor David Bartley, a Democrat, will be on the ballot next month.
Bartley and Humason both tout their commitment to western Massachusetts, and their frustration with the lack of state dollars spent in the region. Humason says current local aid formulas tend to leave these communities shorted on state money.
“So it’s kind of incumbent on us as elected officials to stand up on our chairs and loudly scream and try to make a case for our situation out here in western Mass.,” says Humason, “and that is an ongoing battle, and one that I will happily fight.”
Humason has served as a state rep. since 2003. He points to economic development projects in Westfield as some of his accomplishments. But Bartley argues that Humason’s legislative record is weak.
“You can’t sit in the statehouse for six terms and have a record devoid of accomplishment,” Bartley says. “You need to work with both sides of the aisle, particularly in this state being a Democratic majority, you’ve got to work with the leadership there.”
The seat has been in Republican hands since Mike Knapik was first elected in 1994. If Democrats win it, the senate will have hust three Republicans.
WGBY public television hosted the debate, and will air it next Friday.