Statement of Retired U.S. Representative in Support of Democrat Natalie Blais - Candidate for State Representative First Franklin District

I enthusiastically recommend and endorse Natalie Blais to be your State Representative in the First Franklin District.

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Thirteen years ago, I interviewed Natalie to work in my Congressional office serving all the communities of the Pioneer Valley. When I learned that she had worked for my good friend Bernie Sanders’ Congressional campaign while she was living in Vermont, I hired her on the spot.

Natalie quickly became an indispensable champion for Franklin and Hampshire counties, advocating for their regional planning agencies and non-profit organizations which often needed help from federal sources to achieve their goals. She 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.

When I retired in January 2013 to be with my Rose in her battle with cancer, Natalie joined Congressman Jim McGovern’s office staff in Northampton. She quickly became his indispensable eyes and ears on nutrition, hunger and food safety issues for people of all ages.

Natalie served two years as Chief of Staff for Chancellor Subbaswamy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, one of the largest employers in Franklin and Hampshire counties. She is also well-known for her work with Greenfield Community College on behalf of both me and Congressman McGovern.

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. She knows the 19 towns in this district very well and is ready to champion their needs and values from day one in Boston.

The First Franklin District cannot do better than Natalie Blais. She has the energy, values and preparation that will allow her to succeed in this challenging job.