For Immediate Release
June 22, 2018
Sunderland, Mass. - In a statement issued today, retired U.S. Representative John W. Olver endorsed Natalie Blais in the race to succeed retiring State Representative Steve Kulik.
“The First Franklin District cannot do better than Natalie Blais,” said Olver. “She has the energy, values and preparation that will allow her to succeed in this challenging job.”
Olver was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1968 and the Massachusetts Senate in 1972. In 1991, Olver ran in a special election to replace Congressman Silvio O. Conte, who died in office. Olver was the first Democrat ever elected to hold the 1st Congressional District seat. He served the 107 communities of the district for eleven terms.
“John Olver’s career is the very definition of public service. He has been described time and again as a ‘work horse’ not a ‘show horse,’” said Blais. “Those same values were instilled in me over the seven years I served as his Economic Development Director and I hope to continue his legacy of public service on Beacon Hill.”
“Natalie Blais has worked for the two most progressive members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and has served the communities of western Massachusetts for 13 productive years,” continued Olver. “Natalie advanced transportation projects including improvements to Route 2 and Route 116 and coordinated efforts to return Amtrak rail service to the valley. She identified healthcare investments to expand community health centers and supported environmental projects including cleanup of the Connecticut River. She assisted efforts to expand the Silvio O. Conte Refuge and secured federal assistance for hard-hit farmers after Tropical Storm Irene.”
“Working for John, I learned that successful community projects are the ones that are driven from the ground up,” explained Blais. “As State Representative, I want to help communities accomplish their goals by bringing stakeholders together, identifying a path forward and advocating for these priorities on Beacon Hill.”
“I am running for State Representative because we need someone with proven experience who can advocate for the First Franklin District on day one and fight for strong, healthy, connected communities,” said Blais.
Blais is running in the First Franklin District to replace retiring State Representative Steve Kulik. She has also been endorsed by retired State Representative Ellen Story, Franklin County Sheriff Chris Donelan, Register of Probate John Merrigan, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan and Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz.