Humason looks to future growth
By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD State Rep. Donald Humason Jr. can't go anywhere in Westfield without being recognized by a constituent eager to speak with him.
While sitting at Adrienne's Caf for an early lunch the morning after the election, Humason attempted to maintain the flow of his interview with this reporter amidst constant interruption. Many entered the caf and approached him with smiles, hugs and congratulatory remarks in between bites of his Caesar salad.
"Is it better to know everybody or to be known by everybody?" Humason asked with a chuckle in between discussions with constituents. "That's my great debate."
When asked if he believed he was a shoo-in to win reelection in light of his unremitting fanfare, Humason shook his head and said no.
"You never know in this climate of 'change,'" he explained, referencing President-elect Barack Obama's platform for change.
"I'm gratified to win and see the support [of my constituents]," he continued. "The only way to know you're doing a good job is at the polls."
Humason defeated opponent Brian Hoose by gaining over 65 percent of the vote.
He said now that the election is over he foresees many uphill battles fought on Beacon Hill, including deliberation over the sagging economy and its effects on the state and local budgets.
Humason stressed the importance of reinforcing "kitchen table economics" at the state level. He explained that all members of the Legislature must use their "combined wisdom and experience to ascertain what we can afford during a recession."
"We [politicians] are always looking at what we can get [for our districts]," Humason continued. "It's a vicious cycle because if you don't get something you might not get reelected. But the bigger issue is not to bankrupt the Commonwealth or raise taxes."
He said he believes legislators can work to solve the budget crisis because it is nothing the Commonwealth has not endured before.
Humason explained that he will continue to lobby for funding on behalf of Westfield, specifically to ensure that the Great River Bridge Project remains on schedule. He said he will also remain steadfast in his commitment to gain aid for education, infrastructure, human services and especially local aid.
"[We have to] keep the vital functions [and services] alive until we climb out of this hole," Humason explained. "The last thing you want to do is cut programs and raise taxes, tolls and fines."
He noted that after each election he also conducts a self-analysis, focusing on improvements he can make during his next term such as increasing his already busy schedule of appearances and communication with constituents during office hours or through his Web site, www.donhumason.org.
Humason said he is privileged to continue to represent Westfield for another two years.
"I love my job," he said. "My slogan is 'I love Westfield.' I truly believe this community is wonderful. If I could choose to live anywhere I'd be here.
"I've even got my [plot] and [grave] stone picked out [in the city]," Humason continued as he cracked a smile.