Candidates For Greater Springfield Senate Seat Differ On Commuter Rail

Five Democrats are vying to replace outgoing Massachusetts State Senator Gale Candaras in Greater Springfield. The candidates differ on a possible commuter train between Boston and Springfield.

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The theoretical creation of that line was the only issue that sparked some debate between the candidates in a roundtable discussion. Aaron Saunders is skeptical.

“A train from Boston to Springfield would be great for Boston. I’m sure it would,” said Saunders. “But when we only have scarce dollars, we need to apply those in the way that’s best going to help western Mass. residents, and that’s investing in the PVTA, investing in our local roads and bridges.”

Two other candidates agreed with Saunders. But Eric Lesser says the state needs to expand commuter rail, which currently stops in Worcester.

“Let’s extend that train from Worcester out to Springfield. Let’s have it come to Springfield, bring that prosperity, bring that growth out to us too, it is achievable,” said Lesser.

On other issues, the five men mostly agreed. All support the Springfield casino. All five also support medical marijuana, but are against full legalization of the drug. The winner of the September 9th primary will face Republican Deb Boronski in November.

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