DALTON, Mass. — To prove how accessible he is to the public, Tom Szczepaniak announced his cell phone number to a crowd of about 100 people at the Dalton American Legion.
The Lanesborough native, who views himself as a "working man's candidate," officially launched his campaign to become the state representative of the 2nd Berkshire District on Wednesday night. The 43-year-old said he's ready to bring his work boots to Boston.
Szczepaniak is the owner of Variety Trucking & Demolition.
"We need a business-minded person with deep, local government experience," he said. "Not some greenhorn, and not another lawyer."
Szczepaniak will square off against fellow Democrats Paul Mark, of Hancock, and latecomer to the race Noreen Surinar of Middlefield, in the Sept. 14 primary. The victor will then take on the Republican primary winner and independent Stefan G. Racz of Buckland in November's general election.
|Tom Szczepaniak wants to get rid of Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day.
Currently in his third term as a Dalton selectman and president of the Berkshire County Selectmen's Association, Szczepaniak said he'd draw on his wide-ranging experience in local government and his commitment to the people. If elected, he promised to keep legislators honest in an attempt to control spending.
To make state officials more accountable, he suggested the elimination of two Suffolk County holidays given annually to government offices.
"We need to get rid of Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day, and save $5 million dollars a year," he said.
He also came down on the amount of money spent on lawyers by state agencies.
"No more gold-plated handouts for outside counsel — $145 million for private lawyers and in the public defenders office, $35 million. Not happening [if I'm elected]," he said. "Why are we lavishing money on pricey law firms when each agency has its own legal staff?"
Other platforms included in his speech:
• To prevent casinos from coming to Massachusetts
• To stop micromanaging the judicial branch through the budgeting process
• To support the green energy movement
• To shift more focus on public schools and public transportation
|About 100 supporters attended Szczepaniak's campaign kick-off on Wednesday at the Dalton American Legion.
For more information on Szczepaniak's campaign, visit his Web site here.
As chairman of the Dalton Senior Center Feasibility Committee, Szczepaniak was instrumental in securing an override for the creation of a new senior center. The groundbreaking for the new building will be on June 7.
"It's a huge accomplishment," he said. "We've been working on that for about 12 years. Our elders will finally have a place that they deserve."
The 2nd Berkshire District consists of 22 towns in Berkshire, Franklin and Hampshire counties. Denis E. Guyer, of Dalton, will not run for re-election after three terms.