Ward 3 City Councilor Melvin Edwards is the latest candidate to join the race to replace state Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera in the 10th Hampden district.
Edwards—whose name has been circulating heavily in the city’s rumor mill as a possible candidate since Coakley-Rivera announced earlier this month that she’s leaving office to take a job as assistant clerk at Hampden Superior Court—made it official yesterday.
In his announcement, Edwards, a Democrat, emphasized the importance of remaining connected to voters, saying, “It is my belief that elected officials are responsible first and foremost to their constituents, and in order to serve those constituents one must make themselves available to listen to the voices of those they serve, and to then work hard on their behalf.”
As evidence of his commitment to the people he represents, Edwards pointed to his work in the wake of Springfield’s 2011 tornado, which was particularly damaging to his ward: “Within hours of the tornado hitting I was walking the district with housing officials to assess the damage. In the confusion of multiple levels of government attempting to provide support, I served as a liaison between the community and those who could provide help and coordinated a calm response to the tragic events which took place.”
And he vowed to fight for Springfield at the Statehouse, saying, “This city is poised for great things and that movement forward will require bold leadership, and collaboration among our Western Massachusetts delegation.”
Edwards’ resume includes a long list of community work: he’s the president of Keep Springfield Beautiful, the Maple High Six Corners Neighborhood Council and the Armory Alliance, and he serves on the boards of Springfield Partners for Community Action, HAP Housing and the Springfield Preservation Trust.
The state Legislature has opted not to hold a special election to fill the 10th Hampden seat, meaning Coakley-Rivera’s replacement will be selected at this November’s election.
Two other would-be reps have already announced their candidacies: Sal Circosta, a political Independent who serves on the city’s Community Police Hearing Board (and who challenged Edwards for the Ward 3 Council seat last year), and Carlos Gonzalez, a Democrat and head of the Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce, whom Coakley-Rivera endorsed when she announced her plans to leave the seat.