Natalie Blais Receives Endorsement of Retiring State Rep. Steve Kulik for Election to First Franklin District Seat

 Sunderland, Mass. – Retiring State Representative Steve Kulik, widely admired for his 25 years of distinguished service to the First Franklin District, announced today that he is endorsing Natalie Blais for election as the district’s next state legislator.

Kulik said, “I have known and worked with Natalie Blais for the last 10 years through her time working for both Congressmen John Olver and Jim McGovern, her service as chief of staff to the chancellor of UMass Amherst, and in her current role as executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. I have always found her to be a strong and empathetic listener as well as a collaborative and creative problem solver. She is very familiar with each of the 19 towns in the First Franklin District. Given her extensive experience at the local, state and federal levels, I know she will hit the ground running at the State House.”

Voters will go the polls Tuesday, Sept. 4 to elect a successor to Kulik, a Worthington resident who represents citizens in a Western Massachusetts district that encompasses 19 communities and 511 square miles. Kulik made the announcement in a message to constituents, emphasizing Blais’ commitment to improving the region’s economy and quality of life.

Kulik noted, “She has advocated with great success for our residents, whether it was working with local officials on important infrastructure initiatives, including the knowledge corridor rail project; supporting public higher education at UMass and Greenfield Community College, or standing with me and Congressman McGovern in opposition to the misguided Kinder-Morgan pipeline proposal that presented such a threat to our region’s environment and public safety. In each of these cases and many more, Natalie Blais has proven her deep commitment to our communities and to the values that make Western Massachusetts such a special place.”

Kulik’s complete statement of support can be found on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SteveKulik413/.

Blais, who lives in Sunderland, said, “I am honored to receive the endorsement of Representative Kulik. He has served our communities with extraordinary devotion and distinction. He knows what it takes to be an effective voice in Boston, and I am profoundly grateful to earn Steve’s support.”

“Steve never viewed the position of State Representative as being about him. It was always about the people of the First Franklin District. It was this selfless approach that made him a truly great representative,” said Blais.

Blais is running in the First Franklin District to succeed Kulik. She has also been endorsed by former U.S. Representative John W. Olver, former State Representatives Ellen Story and Jay Healy, State Representative John Scibak, Franklin County Sheriff Chris Donelan, Register of Probate John Merrigan, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan and Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz. Last month, Natalie earned the endorsement of the Massachusetts Womens’ Political Caucus.

“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. “Over the last decade, I have had the privilege of collaborating with community partners throughout the region to advance priorities and projects. I believe my knowledge of programs and people across local, state, and federal government will allow me to better serve the people of the First Franklin District.”

The First Franklin District comprises the 19 communities of Ashfield, Buckland, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Cummington, Deerfield, Goshen, Huntington, Leverett, Middlefield, Montague, Plainfield, Shelburne, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Whately, Williamsburg and Worthington.

“Throughout my campaign, I have been holding coffee hours throughout the district in order to hear directly from voters,” said Blais. “I’ll be kicking that schedule into high gear next week and welcome voters to come out to share their questions and concerns with me.”

Members of the public are invited to grab a coffee with Blais on the following dates:

Monday, August 20th

8:00-9:00am at Mocha Maya’s, 47 Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls

 

Tuesday, August 21st

8:30-9:30am at 2nd Street Bakery, 104 4th Street, Turners Falls

 

Wednesday, August 22nd

8:00-9:00am at Leverett Village Co-op, 180 Rattlesnake Gutter Rd, Leverett

 

Thursday, August 23rd

8:00-9:00am at the Elbow Room, 49 Main Street (Rt 9), Williamsburg

 

Friday, August 24th

8:00-9:00 am at Hunt+Hart Café and Bakery (Formerly the River Café), 22 East Main Street, Huntington

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August 16, 2018

Dear Friends,

Like many voters in the First Franklin District, I have been closely following the candidates and their campaigns for State Representative. I have watched the debates and forums, studied candidate websites, and talked with hundreds of voters about this election. Many of my constituents have asked for my recommendation about which candidate I believe would be the most knowledgeable and effective State Representative for our district. While I respect all seven of the candidates for their willingness to step forward and participate in the electoral process, in my view there is one candidate who stands above the others for having the professional experience, leadership skills and dedication to public service that would make her an outstanding legislator. That is why I am pleased to endorse Natalie Blais to be our next State Representative.

I have known and worked with Natalie Blais for the last 10 years through her time working for both Congressmen John Olver and Jim McGovern, her service as chief of staff to the chancellor of UMass Amherst, and in her current role as executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. I have always found her to be a strong and empathetic listener as well as a collaborative and creative problem solver. She is very familiar with each of the 19 towns in the First Franklin District. Given her extensive experience at the local, state and federal levels, I know she will hit the ground running at the State House.

Natalie has been a strong partner with me and other members of the Western Massachusetts legislative delegation to improve and sustain our region’s economy and quality of life. She has advocated with great success for our residents, whether it was working with local officials on important infrastructure initiatives, including the knowledge corridor rail project; supporting public higher education at UMass and Greenfield Community College, or standing with me and Congressman McGovern in opposition to the misguided Kinder-Morgan pipeline proposal that presented such a threat to our region’s environment and public safety. In each of these cases and many more, Natalie Blais has proven her deep commitment to our communities and to the values that make Western Massachusetts such a special place.

From my experience working with Natalie, I know that she will work hard to represent the priorities of our region on important issues like environmental quality, education funding, health care reform, agriculture, transportation projects, social services, economic development and a greener energy future. She has hands-on experience working on these and other issues, ensuring that she will be a credible and respected voice at the State House on her first day in office. In my 25 years in the Legislature, I have served with hundreds of colleagues and have seen how some represent their constituents more effectively than others. I have no doubt that Natalie Blais has all of the experience, knowledge and personal qualities to be among the very best and most effective members of the House and to make sure that our priorities are addressed and never ignored.

Many people have shared with me their concerns about the large amount of turnover in our area’s legislative delegation this year. In January, five of the eight core members of the Hampshire and Franklin area will likely be new. It is therefore important to me that the newly elected legislators bring relevant experience and a deep understanding of the region to the State House to minimize the impact of this significant change. She will be an available and responsive presence in each community from the Hilltowns and throughout the Valley.

These are the major reasons that I have decided to endorse Natalie Blais. She has also earned my vote by the way in which she has conducted her campaign as an accessible, responsive, thoughtful and honest candidate. She will be a great State Representative for the First Franklin District, and I hope that voters will join with me in voting for Natalie Blais on Tuesday, September 4th.

Sincerely,

Steve Kulik
State Representative