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Sandlin, Boldyga, Bonavita lobby for district

Date: 9/22/2010

Sept. 22, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

GREATER SPRINGFIELD -- The ballot is set for the 3rd Hampden District and the three candidates will meet face to face in their first general election debate on Oct. 7.

Incumbent Rosemary Sandlin, winner of the Democratic primary, will vie against Republican Southwick Selectman Nicholas Boldyga and Independent Anthony Bonavita, vice chair of the Agawam School Committee.

"I'm going to make it a heavy issued-oriented campaign. I'm going to run on my record," Sandlin said. "We're not going to participate in any negative campaigning ... I fight for the bread and butter issues of the district."

Sandlin noted her accomplishments and priorities to keep the Western Massachusetts Library System in the state budget; her efforts to bring low income veterans' housing into Agawam in conjunction with the non-profit Soldiers On; her work to bring additional infrastructure projects to the district; and her efforts as a member of the Joint Committees on Education, Transportation, and Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development.

"Tourism is a huge part of the economic fiber of Western Massachusetts," Sandlin said of the industry's importance.

Job growth as well as the long-term economic viability of the state is also her main concerns. "Western Massachusetts is a working community and we need to get them back to work," Sandlin said.

Boldyga noted he's ready to debate and remains vigilant in his campaign strategies regardless of the outcome of the primary election.

"My campaign strategy remains steady and on track to the November election," he said. "I'm listening to the voters I meet, pounding the pavement, and talking about the issues that matter to them like more jobs and lower taxes. I'm taking my positive message of change throughout the district and finally 'Putting People Before Politics.'"

When asked why voters should choose him on Election Day, Boldyga replied, "I'm the only candidate that has pledged to lower taxes, stop the out of control spending and finally bring real reforms to the state house. I'm the only candidate that has pledged to not increase taxes and to give local towns and cities the same authority as the state to design their health insurance plans, saving local taxpayers $100 million.

"As a selectman, I've seen how the current system has become too expensive and forces towns and cities to needlessly eliminate local services and forces layoffs of police officers, teachers, firefighters and other essential employees," he continued. "I'm the only candidate and elected official in this race that has pledged real government reform while saving our local services."

Boldyga said he's "looking forward to debate on Oct. 7 and giving the citizens a chance to see their candidates discuss the important issues."

"Voters have a clear choice in this election," he added.

Bonavita said he wasn't influenced by the outcome of the primary election. "My message is going to be the same," he added.

Bonavita noted that if elected he'd be in favor of reducing personal income tax and that state sales tax; he'd work to eliminate benefits for illegal immigrants; he would lobby to remove Bunker Hill and Evacuation Days from the calendar of paid state holidays; and he'd labor to ensure the termination of the proposed biomass plant in Russell as it "would further pollute the atmosphere."

Bonavita noted he'd also work to rewrite a portion of the Act Relative to Gender Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes. "The parts of the bill that prohibit hate crimes I'm in favor of [but] section 25 I have a problem with [because it's] dealing with restrooms in public facilities. It leads to too many interpretations that could be too costly to businesses and there's a situation where transgenders could go into a bathroom with young children."

Bonavita said it would be too costly for business owners to have to create unisex bathrooms or a third bathroom for those who are transgender.

The bill, filed in the House and Senate, was referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

Bonavita said he has the track record of public service and the qualifications as an attorney and working professional to get the job done in the district and in Boston.

The West of the River Chamber of Commerce's debate for the 3rd Hapmden District will take place Oct. 7 at 6:30 at Agawam Middle School on Main Street.

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