Four hopefuls vie for Democratic nomination.
In one of the most hotly contested races in the state, five candidates are on the ballot seeking the Democratic nomination as state representative in the 2nd Franklin District.
One of the candidates, Martin A. McGuane of Greenfield, announced in July he was withdrawing from the race because of health issues and personal reasons, after admitting to sufficient facts for a finding of guilty on a drunken-driving charge and losing his license for 45 days. He remains on the ballot because he withdrew after the deadline for withdrawals in June.
Democrats actively seeking the nomination include Denise Andrews of Orange, Lee E. Chauvette of Athol and David R. Roulston and Roxann D. Wedegartner of Greenfield. The winner of the primary will face Republican Steve E. Adam and independent/unenrolled candidate Genevieve C. Fraser, both of Orange.
The candidates come from a variety of backgrounds and political experience.
Ms. Andrews is chief operating officer and managing partner for global development at Legacy Unlimited, an international leadership and diversity consulting firm in Orange. She is a member of the Orange Human Resources Committee and a project coordinator for the Orange Revitalization Partnership. She has also served on the Governor's Diversity Advisory Council.
Mr. Chauvette is an environmental manager for Munksjo Paper in Fitchburg. He also owned the Daily Grind Restaurant in Athol from 2003 to 2009 and served on the Athol Fire Department, rising to the rank of deputy chief. He served on the Athol School Committee from 2001 to the present. He has also served on the Athol Downtown Partnership and the Athol Traffic Safety Committee.
Mr. Roulston is a lawyer in Greenfield focusing on criminal, juvenile and mental health law. He served on the Greenfield Redevelopment Authority from 1991 to 1996. He is also clerk and secretary for the Four Rivers Charter School Committee, president of the Franklin County Bar Advocates and a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association Joint Bar Committee.
Mrs. Wedegartner is a corporate training consultant. She is chairman of the Greenfield Planning Board and has served on the board since 2001. She is a member of the Franklin County Regional Planning Board and has served on the Greenfield, Warwick Elementary and Pioneer Valley Regional school committees.
Pioneer Renewable Energy Corp. of Cambridge has met strong opposition in the district over plans to build a 47 megawatt biomass wood-burning plant on 28.5 acres in Greenfield at 37 Butternut St. The $250 million plant was opposed by Greenfield voters in a referendum and is opposed by all the Democratic candidates in the 2nd Worcester District race, who say they are concerned about air quality issues and deforestation to provide wood for the plant.
Ms. Andrews said she does not see large-scale wood burning plants as a good investment for the district. She favors small-scale biomass plants for heating and cogeneration, as well as other green energy alternatives.
Mr. Chauvette said he favors investigating wind, solar and water power projects for the district, but opposes the biomass project in Greenfield because of air quality and other environmental concerns.
With a "Biomass no thanks" sign on his lawn, Mr. Roulston's opposition to the plant is clear. He compares the idea of the plant being forced on the region to the flooding of Swift River Valley towns to create the Quabbin Reservoir.
Mrs. Wedegartner said she opposes large scale biomass projects as inefficient and wasteful, but favors small-scale biomass cogeneration facilities paired with sustainable forest management. She favors other green energy alternatives for the region's future power needs.
Name: Denise Andrews
Address: 21 Beach Lane, Orange
Personal: Partner Candi Fetzer
Occupation: Chief operating officer for Legacy Unlimited.
Education: Bachelor's degree, UMass-Amherst; master's degree, Xavier University
Issues: Opposes large-scale biomass plant, supports high quality education and need to address unfunded state mandates in education, supports environmentally friendly energy and a focus on job growth for the region.
Political experience: Orange Human Resources Committee, Orange Revitalization Partnership and Governor's Diversity Advisory Council.
Name: Lee E. Chauvette
Address: 255 Lake Ellis Road, Athol.
Personal: Wife Sharon and sons Corey and Kevin
Occupation: Environmental manager.
Education: Athol High School
Issues: Opposes large-scale biomass ptants but favors wind, solar and water power for region; supports increased funding for education, greater efforts at job retention and creation and increased local aid.
Political experience: Athol School Committee, 2001 to present
Name: David R. Roulston
Address: 134 High St., Greenfield
Personal: Two children
Education: Law degree, Georgetown University
Issues: Opposes large-scale biomass projects, opposes regionalization of state services, favors reviewing tax policy to ensure it is equitable.
Political experience: Greenfield Redevelopment Authority
Name: Roxann D. Wedegartner
Address: 85 Hastings St., Greenfield
Personal: Husband Richard and children Ian and Kirsten
Education: Bachelor's degree, UMass-Amherst
Issues: Opposes large biomass project but supports small scale projects and other green energy alternatives, would work for needs of small businesses, improved education.
Political experience: Warwick Elementary School Committee, Greenfield School Committee, Greenfield Planning Board