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Knapik, Humason continue service to city uncontested

Date: 6/9/2010

June 9, 2010.

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD -- State Rep. Donald Humason Jr. and State Sen. Michael Knapik must be doing something right because their constituents have deemed them fit for another two years in office, without the need for an election.

The two legislators will be uncontested in this November's election, according to ballot information released by the Secretary of State's Office two weeks ago. But it won't be smooth sailing for Humason or Knapik; according to them, they've still got loads of work to carry them through the next two years.

"Clearly, the ongoing fiscal crisis will continue to be a drag on our state and therefore our ability to assist our districts. Further aggressive reform will be necessary at all levels of government to address the realities of spending, soaring health care costs, and pressures on our cities and towns," Knapik said of the challenges ahead of him and Humason.

"The state budget will face a nearly $3 billion structural problem for FY 2012 which is over a year away . but we need to plan for it now," he continued.

Humason concurred, adding, "We've made our own bed because the governor and the Legislature have passed bloated budgets." He noted he did not vote in favor of the fiscal year 2011 budget, effective July 1.

"My caucus can hold its head proudly because we've been fighting for local aid. It's a priority for us," Humason said of the budget process. "I don't think that we can promise improved revenue for the state but I can continue to push my colleagues to spend more wisely."

Knapik and Humason noted other priorities for them throughout the next term include lobbying for local aid, quality education, infrastructure repairs and health care.

"We do, of course, need to make further investments in our state's infrastructure as much of it has aged beyond 50 years and has outlived its usefulness," Knapik said. "Strategic use of our state's bonding ability should allow us to repair the roads and bridges in our state, repair buildings, and preserve open space and more.

"Additionally, there has been talk of relaxing some of the education reform standards," he continued. "I do believe we cannot let that happen. We have some of the best schools in our nation and we cannot let performance slip during these times of budget stress. The workforce of the future will require highly trained and educated employees. Investing in education from the pre-K to college level must be one of our imperatives for this decade."

Humason and Knapik noted that projects they've helped to maneuver would come to completion within the next two years including the Great River Bridge Project and the Main Street-Broad Street Project.

"These initiatives represent nearly $75 million in state and federal infrastructure dollars that will literally change the face of Westfield for the next 100 years," Knapik added. "Few communities can boast of this amount of investment occurring at this time that will have as dramatic an impact on their town."

Humason said he looks forward to working with his Senatorial counterpart throughout the next two years. He added he was looking forward to campaigning, however.

"One of the things I like about campaigning is that people call you out or chew you out and it gives you the opportunity to communicate with them. [I can therefore] take a negative opportunity and turn a potential enemy into a friend," Humason explained.

Knapik said he's honored and humbled by the voters' choice to leave him in office uncontested. He added he anticipates a bright future for Westfield and its state legislators.

"I look forward to working with Don over the next two years . I believe we both have a deep understanding of what is important to this community and our votes reflect [that]," Knapik said. "Don and I also have a personal friendship that helps greatly our professional relationship ... we know we can trust each other and will look out for each other's interests. This helps us to advance Westfield's priorities with one voice."