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Mike Franco for MA Governors Council 2018! Message Board › Government’s Grown Too Big

Government’s Grown Too Big

Mike Franco, MBA, ...
user 8110721
Chicopee, MA
Post #: 284
State House News Service
Sept. 3, 2013

BOSTON — The two Democrats and two Republicans seeking to succeed former Sen. Michael Knapik this November present different professional backgrounds to voters in a district anchored by Agawam, Holyoke and Westfield, and universal praise for the man they hope to succeed.

“We’ve been represented by a strong, strong advocate, a guy named Mike Knapik, but the fact is he’s a Republican,” said David Bartley, a Holyoke city councilor and son of the former House speaker who said voters should “see how someone’s going to be when he’s in the majority party.”

If he wins the primary, Bartley could go up against Rep. Don Humason, who served as Knapik’s chief of staff before winning a House seat. In the Democratic primary, Bartley will face Easthampton Mayor Michael Tautznik. Another potential Democratic challenger, Christopher Hopewell, chairman of the Holyoke Fire Commission, failed to turn in enough certified signatures to qualify for the primary ballot by Tuesday's deadline.

In the Republican primary, Humason is facing Ret. Air Force Major Michael Franco, who was stationed at the Westover Air Reserve Base and is now a veterans services officer in Holyoke.

“Most of all I want the district to know that they can have a senator who can hit the ground running,” said Humason, who said voters agree with his voting record and that he is the only candidate to have served in three branches of government, as a court officer and a health and human services official.

Tautznik said his tenure as a former selectman and the first mayor of Easthampton gives voters a record they can support. Tautznik opted against seeking re-election this year.

“I think I can bring the perspective of local government to the Senate in a way that would be beneficial to the Senate,” said Tautznik, a former computer industry businessperson who said the city had expanded the use of alternative energy under his leadership.

Only Franco is seeking the Senate seat from an unelected governmental position, though he said he ran for state representative in 2002 and has run for Governor’s Council “several times.”

Franco said he went from working in Air Force maintenance, to handling public affairs and becoming an executive officer, retiring from regular duty about 10 years ago.

“I think our state government and federal government is heading off in the wrong direction. I think government’s grown too big,” said Franco, who believes lawmakers should lower taxes and “decentralize” government leaving a “skeletal crew at the state level.”

Knapik, whose departure from the Senate reduced Republican representation by 25 percent, took a new job as director of advancement at Westfield State University.

“For Senate Republicans, it’s never been about numbers in the recent past, because we haven’t had large numbers, but what we have had, we think are good ideas and the force of compelling arguments will continue to bring those to the floor,” Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, a Gloucester Republican, told reporters Tuesday. “Now obviously the loss of Sen. Knapik is a major one, not only for the Senate in general, but for the Ways and Means Committee.”

Tarr said in the next week, he would seek to find replacements among the three-member caucus for Knapik’s committee assignments, which included the powerful Ways and Means Committee, as well as Rules; Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure; Public Service; Revenue; Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy; and Veterans and Federal Affairs. Tarr said he was “very optimistic” that the reassignments would be temporary with the hopes that the district will send a Republican to Beacon Hill.

Tuesday evening is the deadline for the Secretary of State William Galvin to certify the nomination papers submitted by candidates. A Galvin spokesman said Tuesday that Franco, Humason, Bartley and Tautznik had already qualified for the ballot.

Bartley, who is a practicing attorney, said his father, who steered the House from 1969 to 1975, is excited about the campaign.

“He’s very excited about it, and so a lot of his passion for politics, it’s never really gone away, but it’s been rejuvenated,” Bartley said.

The primary is Oct. 8 and the general election is Nov. 5, when cities will hold their elections for city councils and the mayoralty.

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