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Cohen announces re-election bid

Date: 5/17/2011

May 18, 2011

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Editor

AGAWAM — Incumbent Mayor Richard Cohen has made it official; he wants to keep working for the people of Agawam.

Cohen announced his bid for re-election before a crowd of nearly 300 friends and supporters — including several members of the School Committee, City Council and former mayor Susan Dawson — on May 3 during a fund-raiser at the Polish American Club in Feeding Hills, becoming the third person so far to launch a campaign for the mayor's seat.

Former State Rep. Rosemary Sandlin and town resident Walter A. Messiner, III had each previously announced their intentions to run for the town's top office.

Town Clerk Richard M. Theroux confirmed that all three candidates had taken out nomination papers to have their names placed on the November ballot, but to date, only Cohen had returned the number of required signatures.

Those signatures, Theroux added, have already been certified as valid.

"My goal is to continue the positive work that we have been doing [for Agawam]." Cohen told Reminder Publications. He said that meant he would focus on "strong fiscal management of our community" and maintain a continued emphasis on meeting "the needs that arise" for the residents of Agawam.

In his brief re-election announcement on Friday, Cohen noted that economic conditions had made the job of mayor "a challenge" during the past year. Despite that reality, he said he was confident residents would continue to see the services they expect from their town, without any additional tax burden.

"I truly see that as the mayor's responsibility," Cohen said of his attention to the limits of residents' budgets, as well as to that of the town. "We work very hard every day to accomplish that task."

Among his proudest achievements to date, Cohen said, was his administration's ability to continue to make Agawam "a wonderful place to live and raise a family" while maintaining the lowest documented residential and commercial tax rate in the area.

"Compare our numbers to everybody else ... this is one time when it's good to be last," he joked.

He also has an eye on expanding the economic growth of the town and is committed to maintaining the quality of the school system and level of services available at the town's new Senior Center, another achievement in which he takes pride.

Cohen said he's learned two things during his current term — that he still has a passion for serving the citizens of Agawam, for "starting projects and seeing them through to completion" such as School Street Park, which is now in its second phase of development — as well as what a privilege it is to be "quietly doing the work of the people" he serves every day.

"I am still attending every function I am able to attend," Cohen said. "I still return every phone call that I get, respond to every e-mail that I receive ... I want to continue that" as mayor of Agawam.

Debbie Gardner can be reached by e-mail at

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