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Endorsements on Parade: Give Leahy a Turn at the Wheel…

Patrick Leahy, right, with Rep. Aaron Vega (via Facebook/Leahy campaign)

In the race for 2nd Hampden & Hampshire Senate, Republican Don Humason, who won a special election last year faces Democrat Patrick Leahy. This race has often lived in the shadow of the higher-profile race next door, but it is no less important. The two have fought tooth and nail in debates as Humason argues for continuing in the seat while Leahy says it is time for somebody who will tackle policy aggressively.

Indeed the Senate, as we have said, being a smaller body demands a bit more of its members than House members who are too numerous to universally do likewise. A senator must be taking on the policy as much as anything. This is not a partisan phenomenon. Members of both parties have done this, and had Humason, we would be hesitant to dismiss him and further unbalance the Senate. However, we feel because he does not meet our test here, we endorse Patrick Leahy.

The Second Hampden & Hampshire. Click for larger view. (via

The Second Hampden & Hampshire. Click for larger view. (via

The district consists of Agawam, Easthampton, Granville, Holyoke, Montgomery, Russell, Southampton, Southwick, Tolland and four precincts in Chicopee. Check to see if your precinct is among them.

Humason has been in office for 12 years years now, most of it as a rep. He has cultivated a good reputation around his hometown of Westfield and offers a sincere love for it. Affable, jovial, and among the best pols the Whip City has conjured, there is very little to dislike about him as a person.

But our analysis cannot rest on personality alone. While we acknowledge reps are in a different situation than senators, there is an unexplained vacuum in Humason’s decade plus legislative career. There were in that time four pieces of legislation sponsored plus some amendments, few memorable. He has pointed to budget items and a few pet causes, but it is difficult to discern whether Humason is responsible or if his predecessor Mike Knapik did the legwork.

Don Humason (via Twitter/@sendonhumason)

We might forgive this in general, but for a key point. At the Westfield News debate, Humason was asked—point blank—what was in the legislative pipeline for next year in terms of bill. He defaulted to talking about the budget while noting virtually no proposed legislation. While bacon is great, it is not meant for three square meals a day. Voters need and deserve more.

Leahy, a Holyoke police officer and realtor, comes from a political family in the Paper City. He has political experience himself, having worked for Shannon O’Brien and other posts in the private sector. Leahy has brought an energy to the race, giving Humason, whatever the margin tomorrow, probably the toughest fight of his career. But he is not just poking Humason. He is proposing solutions.

Leahy has highlighted the homeless in hotels, many of which are in Chicopee and Holyoke. He has rapped Humason’s votes against the buffer zone, marriage equality and this year’s gun law.

Incoming Senate President Stanley Rosenberg made an interesting point at Leahy’s rally in Holyoke. There is no senator with a public safety background as of now. That cuts both ways. Yet given Leahy’s progressive demeanor combined with his time as a cop, he could prove useful on debates about civil rights and law enforcement, either for his own experience or to go law enforcement officers as an emissary.

Leahy has the grit for politics, even those as ravenous as Beacon Hill’s. His perspective is unique and he has the drive to do work with this office. Elect Patrick Leahy for State Senate in the 2nd Hampden & Hampshire district on Tuesday November 4.

Elect Patrick Leahy in the 2nd Hampden & Hampshire Senate district (via Facebook.Leahy campaign)