Candidates For State Rep. Seat In Downtown Springfield All Back Casino

The three Democrats running to represent downtown Springfield in the Massachusetts House say they support bringing a casino to the neighborhood.

In a roundtable discussion, each of the candidates said they’ll vote no on a question to repeal the state’s casino law in November.

City Councilor Melvin Edwards said the way to make neighborhoods safer is for neighbors to have jobs. But he cautioned those on all sides not to overestimate the resort’s impact.

“The proponents have to kind of recognize that the promises that are being made may be grander than maybe the reality,” Edwards said. “But the opponents also have to realize that it will not be as bad as they perceive it to be, as well.”

The two others – Latino Chamber of Commerce President Carlos Gonzalez and social worker Ivette Hernandez – both also stressed the importance of jobs for the district. But Hernandez sounded the least confident MGM would deliver on its promises.

“I want to make sure that I’m [at] the table to ensure that I hold them accountable [for] what they’re saying that they are going to be offering to my community,” Hernandez said.

With no Republican running, this election will be settled during the September 9th primary.

The winner replaces Cheryl Coakley Rivera, who left the legislature in March.

Candidate roundtables are part of a collaboration between The Republican newspaper, MassLive, CBS3 and New England Public Radio.