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Boldyga announces re-election bid

Date: 3/13/2012

March 14, 2012

By Debbie Gardner

BOSTON — First-term State Rep. and Republican Nicholas Boldyga was between meetings at the Statehouse last Friday when Reminder Publications reached him about his bid for a second term representing the 3rd Hampden District.

He immediately apologized for not returning the call of the day before.

"I've been driving back and forth between [Western Massachusetts] and Boston; I spent four to five hours [a day] down there Wednesday and Thursday," Boldyga explained, adding that he makes a point of coming home to his Western Mass. district every evening.

He was, however, eager to talk about his first-term record, and his desire to continue to "have the privilege" of representing the people of Agawam, Granville and Southwick.

"I am eager to continue my goal of making our community a great place to live, work and raise a family," he said.

One of the major focuses during his first term has been on job creation, he said, adding that he had hosted and participated in "town hall" style meetings and forums with citizens concerned about the economy and local jobs, He's also reached out to business owners in his district through personal visits and participation in the GOP Jobs Listening Tour, which stopped at the Agawam Senior Center last fall — to understand their concerns. As a result of his findings, Boldyga said he co-sponsored a legislative package addressing five key areas of job creation — business regulation, education, energy, healthcare and taxes.

"This is the first comprehensive jobs package put forward this legislative term," Boldyga said. "These initiatives are geared toward making it easier to do business in Massachusetts. Some of what is being put forward will help employers with taxes and incentives to hire [more workers]."

In the area of securing more local aide for cities and towns, Boldyga said he was proud to be part of the "GOP-led initiative to bring back the $65 million in local aid [to cities and towns] in the form of surplus money [from the state's fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget]."

In Agawam, he said the town's portion of the surplus money was transferred to the School Department so it "did not have to initiate fees on athletes and students" to keep extra-curriculum programs alive in a difficult budgeting year.

In the area of education support, Boldyga said he's attended meetings with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to help Agawam High School secure funding for roof repairs. He's also lobbied the state to secure additional Chapter 70 aid for his district.

When discussing local funding needs, Boldyga said he was very concerned by the line item in Gov. Deval Patrick's FY 2013 budget that proposes cutting the budget for elder nutrition programs in the state.

"I've met with seniors about the [proposed] $1.5 million senior nutrition program cut," he said. "I don't believe we're doing enough [for seniors] so there's no way I'm supporting cutting this program or any [senor] program."

His first term voting record indicates he approved allotting $21 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to assist seniors in heating their homes, and $35 million for MassHealth Senior Care Adult Health programs statewide.

He has also voted to support the needs of veterans, supporting an amendment that secured more than $700,000 for services to support the needs of Massachusetts' veterans returning from duty overseas. The funds, Boldyga said, would be used to provide job placement aid as well as services to assist vets in readjusting to civilian life.

"I was pretty pleased about that because I feel we have to help veterans in any way we can when they are out there putting their lives on the line for us," he said.

Boldyga said in his first term, he also took part in efforts to help eliminate waste and fraud in state government, filing a bill to "commission a study to initiate drug testing for welfare recipients before [individuals] can receive any benefits."

"I heard overwhelming support from people in my area for this," Boldyga said. "People in Agawam said they felt if they had to take a drug test to got to work, 'people should take a drug test to get any type of welfare or public assistance'."

He also said he voted for a welfare reform package that implements stiff penalties on individuals who abuse their welfare benefits by using them to buy alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets.

Overall, Boldyga said he has been honored to be able to serve as his constituents voice in Boston, and encourages individuals with concerns to contact him anytime.

"As a full-time legislator, I believe it's critically important to have an open-door policy with people in [the community]," Boldyga said. "I provide my home telephone number on all of my correspondence and am available 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

Boldyga said though no date has yet been set for an official campaign kickoff event, he wanted to make this announcement "to get the information out there and let people know I am running for reelection."

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