|By G. Michael Dobbs|
SPRINGFIELD City Council member Angelo Puppolo began his campaign for state representative last week by taking out his nomination papers, but if he wins, he still will be a member of the Council.
Puppolo told Reminder Publications that he would not resign from the Council if voters chose him as the successor to Gale Candaras, who is leaving the seat to run for State Senate.
"I'm committed to serving both [constituencies], " he said. "It would be a dual role for the Springfield side of [the district]."
The 12th Hampden District is 51 percent in the city of Springfield, with wards in East Longmeadow and Wilbraham.
State Representative James Welch of West Springfield maintained his seat on the city's Council as well.
If Puppolo had decided to resign, James Ferrera, the candidate with the next highest number of votes from the last election, would have taken Puppolo's place.
Puppolo has been on the City Council for eight years. A master plumber with the business started by his grandfather in 1925, Puppolo is a graduate of Springfield Technical Community College, American International College and earned his law degree at Western New England College School of Law. He is an attorney with the Fennell Liquori and Powers firm.
Puppolo said he would remain an independent voice as a state representative. He noted that he had voted against budgets submitted by former Mayor Michael Albano and has been a critic of the actions of the state-imposed Finance Control Board.
The candidate has until May 2 to turn in to the Secretary of State's office 150 signatures to put him on the ballot. He said he would go to all parts of the district to get as many signatures as he can. The door-to-door experience will provide his campaign "a really good foundation."
Acknowledging that there might be other Democrats running for the seat, Puppolo said he is ready for a primary battle. He has over $88,000 in his campaign fund at this time and he said will be "running a full campaign" no matter if he has a primary opponent or not.
He added that he believes this is an important election because legislators must "get the ship righted."