Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD Westfield resident Brian Hoose has never had any inclination to run for State Representative until recently.
On Nov. 4, voters in the 4th Hampden District will determine whether incumbent and Republican Donald Humason Jr. will remain in his seat or if Hoose will be a new face on Beacon Hill.
"I never really wanted to run for a rep position but somebody has to step up to keep our democratic process alive," Hoose said in interview with Reminder Publications.
Hoose explained that he disagrees with Humason's "conservative, Republican principles."
"He doesn't believe in taxes or spending public funds on various projects," Hoose said.
He added that he believes that legislators representing Westfield should focus on bringing additional aid to the city.
"My record speaks differently," Humason said, when asked about Hoose's comments. "Public money should be spent on priority items [such as] education, public safety, health care and services for senior citizens, veterans and the disabled.
"In the end I voted against the [fiscal year 2009] budget not because it doesn't fund those things but because it funds it all," he continued.
Humason noted that he has supported state funding for initiatives such as the Great River Bridge Project, Noble Hospital and Kamp for Kids.
Hoose said, if elected, he plans to address various problems facing the city and its citizens such as infrastructure improvements, specifically in the Route 10 and 202 corridor, and securing funding for a senior center and a no-kill animal shelter.
"We need to have the Route 10-202 corridor improved because that's where a lot of the [commercial] development is going and [the city] needs a road to carry that [increased traffic]," Hoose explained.
He proposed that "incentive monies" be offered to industries as a means of relocating out of the downtown area and into an industrial park. Hoose noted that increased foot traffic in this area of the city is critical to economic development.
When asked about Hoose's plans to secure funding for a senior center and no-kill animal shelter, Humason said, "I have to question whether those are even the government's priority. I love animals but I think that perhaps when we are facing fiscal problems and cutting programs for human beings it would be a tough sell to taxpayers [to fund a no-kill animal shelter]."
Hoose sited his experience as a member of the State Democratic Committee since 1992, Westfield Democratic Committee Chair from 2006-07, a trustee of the Massachusetts Board of Regional Community Colleges during the 1970s and 80s and service in the Army from 1969-71. Hoose currently works as a shift supervisor for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation.
He said, if elected, he will bring "civility" back to government, bring both parties together to find common ground and put aside "personal ideological thinking."
Humason said he is "proud" of the job that he has done during his three terms in office and that he will continue to lobby on behalf of his district.
"They [members of the Legislature] know about my city because I'm always talking about it and wearing a 'I heart Westfield' pin," he said. "I haven't missed a vote [since July 2005]. You may not like the way I'm voting but I'm always there to vote and be a part of the debate. I take my job seriously."
Humason sited the coming year as one that will be financially challenging for legislators in the wake of the slumping state and federal economies.
"I plan to be in Boston to continue my advocacy for Westfield and Western Mass. and remind people that we are spending taxpayers' money," he said.
According to Lynn Boscher, executive director of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce, the chamber will be hosting a debate for Hoose and Humason sometime later this month.
For more information about the Hoose campaign go to www.brianhoose.org.
For more information about the Humason campaign visit www.donhumason.org.