Gateway Cities Campaign Spotlight – 1st Hampden and Hampshire Senate District


Debra Boronski (R) – East Longmeadow
Michael Franco (America First Party) – Holyoke (not in the Senate District)
Eric Lesser (D) – Longmeadow

The Western Massachusetts 1st Hampden and Hampshire Senate District includes parts of two Gateway Cities – Springfield and Chicopee – along with the several surrounding towns. The Republicans have fielded a local business owner Debra Boronski  to run against Democratic challenger Eric Lesser and third party candidate Michael Franco.

With four-term Senator Gail Candaras stepping down to run for Hampden County Register of Probate , the 1st Hampden and Hampshire Senate District may be the only real seat this year that a Republican can flip from blue to red. While the seat has been reliably Democrat during Mrs. Candara’s tenure, the adjacent 2nd Hampden and Hampshire Senate District, which includes the rest of both Gateway Cities, has been in Republican hands for several cycles.

Aside from her business venture, Ms. Boronski has a long history as Chamber of Commerce professional working in leadership positions in the Chambers in both Chicopee and Springfield and founded the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. She has also served as member of the Chicopee Municipal Retirement Board and an elected member of the East Longmeadow Housing Authority and Board of Selectman. Ms. Boronski is running on several cores republican issues and a “taking Care of business” focused campaign, including protecting  second amendment rights, cutting state spending, working to reduce mandatory minimum wage, and re-working the state’s tax code to benefit business.

After narrowly beating out a crowed democratic primary field, Mr. Lesser entered the race as a young face in Western Massachusetts politics. A local graduate from Longmeadow High School, Mr. Lesser received an undergraduate and law degree from Harvard, then worked for several years in the Obama administration culminating in a position at the Council of Economic Advisers. Mr. Lesser offers a platform with dedicated plans that push for a high speed rail system, address talent retention, and substance abuse problems, and enhance the state’s protection of senior citizens from fraud, poverty, and abuse.

Former Republican Michael Franco, who resides outside of the district in Holyoke, is running as an America First Party candidate. He is looking to “discuss veterans, judges and jobs relative to public policy as well as other issues.”

– Winthrop Roosevelt
Director of Public Affairs


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