State Rep. Sean Curran, who is now in his fifth term (I know; I can’t believe it’s been that long, either), has announced that he won’t run for re-election next year.
“When I was elected to my first term in 2004, I was optimistic that public service was a way to improve the City of Springfield,” Curran, who represents the 9th Hampden district, said in his announcement. “At the time, our city was bankrupt and without a vision for the future.
“Today after nearly ten years at the State House, I believe the City of Springfield has a clear path to prosperity. I am convinced now more than ever, that state government, with the right leadership, can continue to bring about further revitalization, economic growth, and a renewed civic spirit.”
Curran went on to note some “ important accomplishments” from his time on office: the restructuring of the city’s finances, via a $40 million loan and state-imposed Control Board, in the wake of the post-Albano mess (note: “post-Albano mess” is my term, not Curran’s; I just can't help myself); the siting of the $120 million state data center at the old Tech High (again, Curran doesn’t note, but I will, that he and fellow Rep. Angelo Puppolo Jr. had to do battle with their Bigfoot colleague, Tommy Petrolati, to bring the center to the Tech site); the development of the forthcoming UMass “satellite campus” in downtown Springfield; and funding for Union Station.
I'll add that Curran was also very much involved in the controversial fight to have the closed Our Lady of Hope church designated a historic district (an issue, by the way, that is far from over).
“Beyond brick and mortar projects, I am proud of my advocacy for policy initiatives to improve benefits for veterans, expand early childhood education, and increase access to healthcare,” Curran said. “My political philosophy is neither liberal nor conservative, but rather; if I think something can improve the fortunes of Springfield and Western Massachusetts, then I fight for it!”
Curran said he’ll spend the remainder of his term fighting to increase the minimum wage, pursuing the possibility of replacing the county courthouse (a meh project, in my opinion; sure, the courthouse is an eyesore, but do we want to spend the funds to redo it right now?) and (oh, yes, please) rebuilding parts of I-91 in the city.
Now begins the scramble to replace Curran, who hasn’t faced any real threat since his first election in 2004. That year, he beat incumbent Chris Asselin, who had just been indicted, with a number of family members, on federal corruption charges. Over the years, Curran has handily turned back a thin list of challengers that included perennial candidates Robert Underwood and Joe Fountain, plus the train-wreck that was Asselin’s 2010 attempted return to office after serving time in federal prison.
An open seat, now, that’s a different matter. Here’s hoping for a good race next year.