SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Eric Lesser welcomed leaders across Hampden County in support of his campaign for lieutenant governor on July 25.

The press conference took place outside of Union Station in Springfield – a location Lesser continues to champion in his push for an East-West passenger rail across Massachusetts. The gathering included United State Congressman Richard Neal, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Chicopee Mayor John Vieau, state Reps. Bud Williams, Jacob Oliveira, Brian Ashe, Carlos Gonzalez and Daniel Carey and Governor’s Council member Mary Hurley. State Sen. candidate Sydney Levin-Epstein was also in attendance.

Each expressed their endorsement of Lesser’s candidacy – with Neal making the first national endorsement for the lieutenant governor race in Massachusetts.

In his address, Lesser discussed his journey from working as an aide in the President Barack Obama Administration to running for lieutenant governor. Lesser thanked Neal for his guidance, who Lesser worked under in his first official political position.

“I learned from Congressman Neal what public service means. It’s not about the headlines or the social media posts, it’s about the work you do, frankly in-between elections, to help people and bring resources back and to be a voice for people who often do not have a voice,” said Lesser.

Lesser emphasized the importance of his lieutenant governor bid as the only candidate deriving from the Western Mass. area. The state senator stressed the importance of his campaign securing equitable treatment for the local region.

“We need leadership at the state house that lives here, that’s from here and that has represented the communities here. We’ve got a lot of stuff we got to make progress on,” said Lesser, who referenced the decaying state of the Springfield District Court building and the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke.

Lesser shared that he has no plans of moving away from Western Mass. if elected. He shared his inspirations to “give a voice” for the area as issues in eastern Mass. secure more attention from the state legislation.

“We need a government that speaks for our whole state, includes our whole state and represents our whole state,” said Lesser.

Neal advocated for Lesser as a politician with character, temperament, skills and patience. The congressman also highlighted the potential that a Western Mass. lieutenant governor could have, with Donald Dwight representing the last politician from the area to serve in that position in 1971.

“You can have that advocacy and partnership with the governor. Maura Healey is going to be the governor. We need somebody in that room advocating…This is the chance for Western Mass. to make a statement,” said Neal. The congressman stressed that delivering equity for the area is “crucial” as the state receives several coronavirus pandemic-related resources from the federal government.

In their speeches, Sarno and Vieau discussed the important role Lesser can have in assuring regional equity. Williams and Gonzalez also spoke about the “tenacity” Lesser possesses as a politician as he fights to address mental health needs and other disparities.

The primary for the lieutenant governor race takes place on Sept. 6. Lesser will be competing against Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and state Rep. Tami Gouveia in the Democrat primary before the state election on Nov. 8.

Readers can learn more about Lesser’s campaign at https://www.ericlesser.com/.

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