NEAL FOR CONGRESS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 11, 2012
CONTACT: Matt Fenlon
Declares Candidacy While Continuing Listening Tour
(SPRINGFIELD) Congressman Richard E. Neal will seek reelection to a 13th term in the United States House of Representatives in the newly drawn First Congressional District. Neal currently serves as the Congressman from the Second Congressional District representing 41 cities and towns in western and central Massachusetts. The new First Congressional District consists of 87 cities and towns including all of Berkshire County, much of Hampden County, and parts of Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester counties. Neal has been endorsed by retiring Congressman John Olver, who previously represented the old First Congressional District.
“Following the reapportionment process I hit the ground running visiting new communities,” said Neal. “Since my days on the Springfield City Council my focus continues to be policy before politics. I wanted to spend time listening to and meeting with voters to determine what is important to them before I made any political calculations.”
Neal’s listening tour has focused on visiting small businesses, manufacturers, education leaders, civic associations, local and state government officials, health care professionals, representatives from the arts and creative economy, and employers and employees from wide ranging demographics.
“After speaking with thousands of people during hundreds of visits, the number one issue is the economy,” said Neal. “My DNA, and that of the Democratic Party, centers around job creation; fair wages, good benefits, and a decent retirement is what built a middle class in this country and that is the America in which I grew up.”
Though 63% of the population is centered in Hampden County, Neal is already a regular presence across the district. Part of Neal’s introduction to the voters in the new district was the signature gathering process. Neal’s volunteers collected over 7000 signatures, more than tripling the minimum requirement to appear on the ballot. With respect to regional equity, Neal’s percentage of signatures per county nearly matched the population percentages.
“From the largest city to the smallest town, each vote counts equally,” said Neal. “The reception I have received in every community could not be any better.”
Since the signature drive, Neal’s continued focus on accessibility and accountability to voters has included opening regional headquarters in Springfield and Pittsfield with Elizabeth Warren. Neal also established a Wibiya Bar on his website which translates the content into 12 languages and is communicating through Facebook and Twitter.
“While communication techniques continue to evolve, there is no better way to speak with a voter than to knock on his or her door,” said Neal. “I can guarantee my campaign will be knocking on doors through November in all 87 cities and towns.”
Neal’ listening tour continues today as he visits Plainfield, Savoy, Hawley, Heath, and Leyden before honoring Olver at the Franklin County Selectmen’s Association dinner in Greenfield.