Fountain makes run for Curran's seat
Date: 4/25/2012April 25, 2012
By G. Michael Dobbsnews@thereminder.com
SPRINGFIELD Joseph Fountain has been considering a run for the Legislature since 2009 and is now challenging State Rep. Sean Curran who represents wards in Springfield and in Chicopee.
Fountain made his decision public earlier this year and sat down with Reminder Publications
last week to discuss his motivations and his issues.
Fountain has a background in education and is currently working on finishing his doctorate. He has been employed as a substitute teacher in Springfield and is president of the Massachusetts Association of Professional Substitute School Teachers. He will be taking a job soon with a local roofing company.
Fountain is no stranger to political campaigns. He was an early advocate for ward representation in Springfield and has run for Congress and for the Springfield City Council. He also was an aide to Mayor Michael Albano.
Although he lost in his most recent bid for an at-large seat on the City Council, he said that effort led to greater name recognition for his run to oust Curran.
According to Fountain, Curran told him several years ago that he was planning to run for a different seat and Fountain thought the race would not include the incumbent. Curran has not officially announced a re-election campaign.
In his announcement press release, Fountain called himself "visionary" and blasted Curran for being "absent from the district for the last four years."
"On the Bio-Mass plant Sean never took a position. This plant would be in the middle of his district. Now in an election year he has come out against a casino that would bring jobs to the district. He also came out for an extension of time for students taking the MCAS [Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Survey]. When what really needs to happen is Legislative reform of the Education Reform Laws," Fountain said in the release.
Fountain is in favor of a casino in Springfield. His district includes the site on Page Boulevard, which was purchased by Ameristar Casinos. Fountain said that he was against a casino in Springfield in 1996 when the issue first arose because of his fear it would "fracture downtown."
So far in his campaign, Fountain has released several press releases with his positions. One released last week recommended that the state "create a .005 percent to 1 percent income tax on people who work in those cities but live elsewhere."
He continued, "It makes sense, these people drive on city streets, cause accidents on city streets, cause resident car insurance to go up, work all day in the city and then take their tax dollars home to pay for schools and services they are only using part of the time."
Fountain is also critical of Mayor Domenic Sarno's approach to balancing the municipal budget.
"The mayor wants to balance the budget on the unions and on the back of taxpayers with a higher trash fee instead of going to where the real blame lies. The state of Massachusetts owes the city almost $60 million for student bussing," Fountain wrote. "We need to stop blaming poor people and unions for our budget problems and focus on investing in the things that will reduce costs. Every dollar spent today in education is a dollar less that we will have to spend tomorrow in the criminal justice system."
Fountain believes the Western Massachusetts delegation has learned how to work with the majority of the House and Senate from the eastern part of the state and said, "All issues that affect Springfield affect all urban communities."
He said he would fight to have the state reimburse the city and other communities for mandated school bussing.
When asked about attempting to get more state aid for Springfield, in light of the city spending more its state aid to supplement the school budget, Fountain said, "Before I jump out and say we need lots for money for the School Department, I want to see reform of the School Department."
Fountain believes the Springfield school leadership is "top heavy" with assistant superintendents.