Friday, May 02, 2014 • 6:19 AM Comments ()

Friday Odds & Ends: Politics & Casinos

posted by Maureen Turner

• In a year thick with contested elections, the race for the 1st Hampden/Hampshire state Senate seat is a particularly lively one, attracting a crowded field of Democratic contenders and a Republican challenger (something, alas, we don’t always see in state Legislature races), and inspiring two proposed candidates’ pledges to limit out-of-state and lobbyist campaign donations as well as a pending challenge over whether one of the candidates meets the legal residency requirements.

Tomorrow, May 3, voters in the district can get an up-close look at the Democratic candidates, at a forum sponsored by Springfield’s Ward 7 Democratic Committee. The forum, which will follow a question-and-answer format, will be held at 10 a.m. at Nathan Bill's Bar and Restaurant on 110 Island Pond Rd.

According to an announcement from the committee, four of the Democratic contenders—Ward 7’s city councilor, Tim Allen; Ludlow School Committee member Chip Harrington; Eric Lesser, a Longmeadow resident and law student who formerly worked for the Obama administration; and Ludlow Selectman Aaron Saunders, formerly chief of staff to state Sen. Gale Candaras, who is vacating the seat—have confirmed that they’ll participate in the forum. The fifth Democrat in the race is Tom Lachiusa, a member of Longmeadow’s Democratic Town Committee.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Debra Boronski, who serves on the East Longmeadow Board of Selectmen and Housing Authority and heads the Mass. Chamber of Commerce.

• On Western Mass. Politics and Insight, Matt Szafranski interviews former state Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera, who left the 10th Hampden District seat this spring for a job in the Clerk’s Office at Hampden Superior Court.

• Finally, on Monday, proponents of a proposed ballot question to repeal the state’s casino law will make their case before the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court. The group, Repeal the Casino Deal, is fighting a ruling by Attorney General (and gubernatorial candidate) Martha Coakley that the question is unconstitutional. Can’t make it to Boston to hear the oral arguments? You can catch it, streamed live, via the Suffolk University website. (Thanks to Jerry Belair for that tip.)

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