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Candaras is Democrat of the Year

Gale Candaras
By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

LONGMEADOW A Democrat, by definition, is someone who follows a liberal program, tending to promote a strong central government and expansive social programs. To Sen. Gale Candaras, a Democrat is much so much more.

"I love the spirit of the party," Candaras said, "the tone the party sets in America. It has a recurring theme of rebuilding the middle class the class that built this country."

Candaras was honored on Sunday as the 2008 Longmeadow Democrat of the Year by the Longmeadow Democratic Town Committee (LDTC) during an awards breakfast at Twin Hills Country Club.

"It's a coveted award and it feels terrific to have been chosen," Candaras told Reminder Publications. "Longmeadow is a new representative area for me. It wasn't until I became a senator that I had the privilege to represent them. I want to work hard to get to know everyone there, not just the Democrats. Receiving this award brings me closer to the people of Longmeadow."

When asked why she chose to become a Democrat, Candaras replied, "It was family tradition. My father was born in Greece and my mother was an Irish Catholic from Brooklyn. Immigrants have a history of working hard and supporting the Democratic party. It was a natural choice for me."

She added that she loves the Democratic party because it offers to take care of people when they need help.

Candaras said that being a Democrat is not just about being part of a party. "It's what I believe in," she stated.

"I know what I want for this country and I believe the Democratic party can lead us there," she continued.

Candy Glazer, chair of the LDTC, said the decision to make Candaras Democrat of the Year was a unanimous one amongst the committee's 35 elected members.

"We haven't honored a Democrat of the Year in five years, but we're proud to have Gale as a senator," Glazer said. "With everything going on nationally right now, we thought it was a good time to start up the tradition again."

With more than 100 politicians and residents turning out for the awards breakfast, Glazer said she expects to continue the tradition.

"We'll bring it back as an annual event," she stated. "It's an important event."

In addition to Candaras, Jim Goodhines was given the LDTC Member Achievement Award. Goodhines has served as an assistant district attorney with the Hampden County Superior Court since 1995.

Past recipients of this award include Congressman Richard Neal, Select Board member Kathleen Grady and former Attorney General Tom Reilly.

Neal, John Walsh, chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, and Rep. Angelo Puppolo spoke at the breakfast event.