EDWARDS ENDORSED BY CARPENTERS LOCAL 108 - Campaign Press Release

CARPENTERS UNION ENDORSES EDWARDS

(Springfield, Massachusetts August 15, 2014) Councilor Melvin Edwards announced today that the New England Regional Council of Carpenters Local 108 has endorsed his candidacy for State Representative in the Tenth Hampden District.

“I am humbled by the decision of Local 108 to support me in my election campaign,” Edwards said, continuing “I’ve always been a supporter of union jobs, fair wages and fair benefits. As retired members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 93, Palmer, Massachusetts, my wife and I worked hard to provide services to those who cannot provide for themselves, just as all union workers have labored mightily year in and year out to build and rebuild our great nation.

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Edwards Calls for New Approach to Combat Drug Epidemic - The Valley Advocate

New Approach Needed to Combatting Drug Epidemic 

By Springfield City Councilor Melvin Edwards

 

In March, Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency in our Commonwealth in the wake of over 150 deaths as a result of heroin overdoses. Here in Springfield and throughout the Pioneer Valley, the opiate abuse epidemic has been evident. While tragic, these deaths highlight the failure of the nationwide “War on Drugs” and a failure of policy here in Massachusetts. While we have spent decades instituting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses and countless dollars policing our streets, drug use has continued to rise and the effects in our communities have been detrimental. It is time that we rethink the way in which our judicial system responds to non-violent drug offenders.  

Massachusetts has made headway in recent years with action in the legislature to repeal and scale back mandatory minimum sentencing laws, but we can do better. If we are to solve this problem, it must be with smart policy and new ideas. It is time we began addressing addiction for what it really is, a medical emergency. We must do away with outdated drug sentencing laws, and explore treatment and rehabilitation options for non-violent drug offenders. 

 

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Armory for the Future- Edwards respects the past

When Melvin Edwards was a student at Springfield’s Cathedral Grammar School, he recalls, the institutions near the school—the Central Library, the Quadrangle, the Springfield Armory—“were essentially my playground.” He and his friends would head to the library to do their schoolwork (“I came up before Google and had to master the Dewey Decimal System”) and to the wide, open greens at the Armory to play sports.

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Edwards Enters 10th Hampden Race - The Valley Advocate

Ward 3 City Councilor Melvin Edwards is the latest candidate to join the race to replace state Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera in the 10th Hampden district.

Edwards—whose name has been circulating heavily in the city’s rumor mill as a possible candidate since Coakley-Rivera announced earlier this month that she’s leaving office to take a job as assistant clerk at Hampden Superior Court—made it official yesterday.

In his announcement, Edwards, a Democrat, emphasized the importance of remaining connected to voters, saying, “It is my belief that elected officials are responsible first and foremost to their constituents, and in order to serve those constituents one must make themselves available to listen to the voices of those they serve, and to then work hard on their behalf.”

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Springfield City Councilor Melvin Edwards announces candidacy for state representative to replace Cheryl Coakley-Rivera in 10th Hampden District - MassLive.com

SPRINGFIELD — Ward 3 City Councilor Melvin Edwards announced his candidacy for state representative in the 10th Hampden District on Wednesday, seeking to replace Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera, D-Springfield. 

Edwards, 54, of 20 Dexter St., in the Maple High-Six Corners area, said he pledges to continue his “steadfast commitment” to constituent services and accessibility if elected to the state Legislature in November.

“I am eager to seek an opportunity to continue my service to the citizens of Springfield as a member of the State Legislature” Edwards said. “It is my belief that elected officials are responsible first and foremost to their constituents, and in order to serve those constituents one must make themselves available to listen to the voices of those they serve, and to then work hard on their behalf.”

Coakley-Rivera recently announced her resignation, saying she will work as assistant clerk for Hampden County Clerk of Courts Laura Gentile. There will not be a special election to fill her seat.

 

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Springfield City Councilor Melvin Edwards Announced Bid for State Representative - Campaign Press Release

SPRINGFIELD CITY COUNCILOR MELVIN EDWARDS ANNOUNCES BID FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE IN 10th HAMPDEN DISTRICT

Pledges to fight for Springfield issues in Boston

For Immediate Release March 26, 2014

SPRINGFIELD - Ward 3 Springfield City Councilor Melvin A. Edwards announced today that he will seek the State Representative seat for the 10th Hampden District of Massachusetts.

“Today I proudly announce that I will stand as a candidate for State Representative. I am eager to seek an opportunity to continue my service to the citizens of Springfield as a member of the State Legislature” said Edwards of his run.

Councilor Edwards, who is now serving his third term on the Springfield City Council, pledged to continue his steadfast commitment to constituent services and accessibility if elected to the State Legislature, saying “It is my belief that elected officials are responsible first and foremost to their constituents, and in order to serve those constituents one must make themselves available to listen to the voices of those they serve, and to then work hard on their behalf.”

Edwards points to his decade long involvement in non-profit and service based organizations as proof of his commitment to the community, “My work extends far beyond the City Council” said Edwards. In addition to his City Council position, Edwards serves as President of the Maple High Six Corners Neighborhood Council and the non-profit Keep Springfield Beautiful, as well as the Armory Alliance. Edwards is also Vice Chair of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s Board of Directors. Additionally, he is a member of the Board of Directors of Springfield Partners for Community Action, HAP Housing, and the Springfield Preservation Trust. Edwards is a member of the Hampden County Sheriff’s “Chess Program,” the Chancellor of UMass Diversity Committee, and the Ward 3 Democratic Committee.

On the Council, Edwards is well known for his support of community organizations and his work related to environmental issues, as well as his leadership in the aftermath of the 2011 Tornado which affected large portions of his City Council ward as well as the 10th Hampden District.

“The tornado was a disastrous event for residents across our city and my district. Within hours of the tornado hitting I was walking the district with housing officials to assess the damage. In the confusion of multiple levels of government attempting to provide support, I served as a liaison between the community and those who could provide help and coordinated a calm response to the tragic events which took place.”

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Councilor Edwards immediately began to hold public meetings in the aftermath of the tornado. He pledges the same work ethic and passion when it comes to the issues he will face in the State House.

“Serving as State Representative would be an opportunity I would be honored to fulfill. But with that service will come the need to confront the issues that our district, our city, and our state face. Our next State Representative will bear the responsibility of responding to those issues, and I pledge that if elected I will be a champion for the issues of my constituents. This city is poised for great things and that movement forward will require bold leadership, and collaboration among our Western Massachusetts delegation. I will bring those issues to the State House and I will fight for them on the floor of the House of Representatives. I will not shy away from the decisions that I will face, and I promise the voters that I will continue to work hard, to listen and to make service to others paramount.” said Edwards.

Edwards concluded saying “I respectfully ask for the votes and support of the residents of the 10th Hampden District.

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Edwards Joins Springfield Preservation Trust

Springfield – Springfield’s Ward 3 City Councilor Melvin A. Edwards is excited to announce that he has joined the Board of Directors of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

“I have been a proud supporter of The Trust for many years, and I am excited to be taking a bigger role in the organization.” said Edwards.

Edwards has been involved in the Preservation Trust for the last four years, attending their fundraisers and also acting as a docent on several of the organization’s annual walking tours of historic homes. Edwards was elected to the Board of Directors on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at the organization’s Annual Meeting, held at Atwater Enterprises on Warwick Street in Springfield.

The Springfield Preservation Trust began in 1972 and is the only non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to historic preservation in Springfield, Massachusetts. Since then, the Trust’s activities have included advocating for the creation of Historic Districts in the city, fighting the demolition of significant historic buildings within Springfield, organizing tours of historic homes and buildings throughout the city, sponsoring lectures related to historic preservation and home ownership, and restoring historic homes in the city.

“Historic preservation is a key part of the renaissance of our city,” said Edwards, “Historic preservation is a key component of economic development. Springfield possesses a very unique and large collection of historic properties, our architecture is second only to Boston, and this architecture is a key part of attracting new residents, homeowners, and business to our city.”

Last month, Councilor Edwards was elected Vice Chairman of the Puerto Rican Cultural Centers Board of Directors.

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Melvin Edwards Becomes Board Vice Chair for Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Springfield City Councilor, Melvin Edwards is proud to announce that he has joined the board of directors of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. At a recent special meeting of the board of directors of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, an invitation was extended unanimously by the executive board and accepted. Edwards was promptly nominated and voted vice-chairman of the organization. 

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A Letter from Springfield Resident Ellen Berry

Hello folks,

I am writing to ask you to consider voting in this Thursday's primary election for Melvin Edwards for the State Senate seat for the Hampden district.  Melvin is a friend, neighbor, and my ward's City Councilor. Melvin is also the president of our neighborhood council and of Keep Springfield Beautiful. He cares deeply about our communities and has proven it with his public service. It isn't a facade. Last year, just after the tornado hit our neighborhood, I heard a knock on my door. It was Melvin. He went door to door through the whole neighborhood, checking to see if everybody was alright and if they needed any help. He wasn't campaigning for office then and it wasn't a 'photo op'. That's just the kind of man Melvin is. When the Hampden district was redrawn for this year, Melvin saw an opportunity to serve a larger community as State Senator. He is someone who carefully considers all sides of an issue and doesn't just vote a 'party line'. I strongly endorse his candidacy, and politely ask that you consider supporting him with me.

Here is a link to his campaign's website for more information: http://www.votemelvin.com/

The Hampden district includes all of West Springfield, much of Springfield and parts of Chicopee. Here is a link that explains which wards are included: http://www.votemelvin.com/hampden_district

Even if you are registered as an Independent, you can vote in this primary. It will not change your party affiliation. Simply ask for the Democrat's ballot and vote! 

It's an odd day for an election, but this Thursday, September 6, is the primary election. Mark your calendars!

Thank you,

 Ellen

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Who is State Senate Candidate Melvin Edwards?

Four weeks before the Democratic State Primary, Springfield City Councilor and State Senate Candidate Melvin Edwards tore the tendons in both his knees during a charity basketball tournament. Edwards’ injury required reparative surgery followed by three weeks of hospitalization and in-patient physical rehabilitation. All the while, Edwards’ campaign for the State Senate carried on.

From a hospital bed, Edwards continued to rally support for his campaign to unseat incumbent State Senator James Welch. On the ground, an all-volunteer staff continued to market Edwards’ candidacy in Springfield, West Springfield and Chicopee vis-à-vis daily door knocking, phone banking and other grassroots activities.

On Saturday, September 1, Edwards was released from in-patient rehab. Twenty days after he was injured, Edwards is home and back on the campaign trail – albeit, in a wheelchair. It will be a month before Edwards will be able to walk again.

Edwards has a long history of tackling daunting tasks and getting the job done in the face of adversity. Edwards says it is this experience that qualifies him to represent the Hampden District in Boston.

Proof of Performance #1

Edwards is President of Keep Springfield Beautiful (KSB), a position for which he receives no financial compensation. KSB, the “go to guys to get clean and go green,” is Western Massachusetts’ premier non-profit organization promoting litter and graffiti prevention, recycling, conservation and beautification of communities.

Edwards is at the helm of KSB’s Annual Citywide Cleanup. It is a massive undertaking and its success is contingent entirely upon community support. Working with an all-volunteer staff, Edwards secures donations of goods and services, and recruits and organizes thousands of individuals and hundreds of groups to clean, green, and beautify all of Springfield’s 17 neighborhoods – removing graffiti, rehabilitating blighted parks and properties, planting trees, flowers and shrubs, and clearing trash from illegal dumpsites and city streets. In the last 7 years, at no cost to taxpayers, 8000 KSB volunteers have cleared well over a million pounds of trash and debris from the city.

Litter devalues surrounding property by 20%: the impact KSB has had on the community is staggering.

In the State Senate, Edwards says he will continue to foster and support programs that improve communities through innovative solutions and frugal spending of taxpayer dollars.

Proof of Performance #2

Edwards is President of Maple High Six Corners Neighborhood Council, a position for which he receives no financial compensation.

In June of 2011, the tornado that ripped through the City of Springfield tore a devastating path through Maple High Six Corners (MHSC), the oldest and one of the most depressed neighborhoods in Springfield. An abundance of historic, costly to restore, properties – many of which were uninsured or underinsured – were damage or destroyed in a community already handicapped with the lowest percentage of home ownership and one of the highest concentrations of poverty in Springfield.

Edwards initiated a grassroots campaign that leveraged MHSC’s greatest asset, the diversity of its residents, and put the responsibility of neighborhood restoration in the hands of the residents themselves. Edwards compelled community participation by promoting the truth: “The city couldn’t fix our problems before the storm. They won’t fix our problems now. It’s up to us.”

The end result was the development of a comprehensive Community Vision plan to rebuild and redesign Maple High Six Corners. The plan was created and continues to be executed by neighborhood residents. It has forced positive change continuously since its inception. It has forged friendships between neighbors and win-win partnerships with public, private, and non-profit groups. In the process, MHSC Neighborhood Council became the most active and proactive, efficient and effective, resident-run organization in Springfield. Edwards’ efforts galvanized residents into action, which in turn inspired a model and catalyst for the city as a whole.

Edwards notes the absence of Senator Jim Welch during the tornado recovery efforts of Maple High Six Corners.  Welch did not tour MHSC or attend any neighborhood meetings. Welch continues to be absent from Rebuild Springfield meetings regarding the restoration of sites like the Brookings School, with the exception of attending press events.

Proof of Performance #3

In 2008 Edwards was elected to the Springfield City Council, the inaugural office holder of the Ward 3 seat following the switch to ward representation in Springfield.  Ward 3 contains two of the city’s most debilitated neighborhoods, Maple High Six Corners and the South End. Edwards says he considers himself a Councilor for all of Springfield, addressing the concerns of both his Ward residents and the residents of the entire city. Edwards lists his personal cell phone number on the city website, and answers constituent calls himself. Edwards has passed historic legislation as a City Councilor.

Edwards was one of the earliest and strongest opponents of the proposed biomass incinerator in Springfield. Many Councilors took campaign donations from developers. Many Councilors refused to take a position on this controversial issue. Edwards met with both opponents and proponents of the incinerator and made an informed and unbiased determination that the incinerator posed serious health risks to residents, especially children and seniors. Through the leadership of Councilor Edwards, the incinerator was halted.

Edwards was a strong supporter of the Home Foreclosure Mediation Ordinance, a home rule piece of legislation passed by the Springfield City Council in 2011 which forced predatory banks to meet in mediation with homeowners they intended to foreclose upon and attempt to workout solutions for the families to keep their homes and make the necessary payments. The ordinance stated that should a compromise not be possible, that the bank post a 10,000-dollar bond to secure the property and maintain it. The Home Foreclosure Mediation Ordinance was praised nationwide as the strongest protection against predatory banks in the country.

Edwards has released statements detailing his interest in introducing legislation to place homeless families in real homes and give them the tools they need to be employable and self-sufficient, as opposed to the current system of housing these families in welfare motels, with no long term plan for self-sufficiency or for reducing homelessness.

Edwards’ received the endorsement of the Massachusetts Sierra Club who praised Edwards work against the biomass incinerator and for his plan to bring green jobs and a green economy to Western Massachusetts. Edwards credits his keen understanding of the green industry to volunteer work with Keep Springfield Beautiful, the “go to guys to get clean and go green.”

The District:

The Senate is comprised of 40 members, with each Senator elected to represent a district consisting of approximately 159,000 people. The Hampden State Senate district was altered in 2011 to include more precincts with large numbers of black and Latino residents; it is now a “minority-majority” district that is 41% white, 37% Hispanic and 18% African-American. It includes all of West Springfield; Wards 2, 3, 4 in Chicopee; Wards 1, 3 and majority of Wards 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, in Springfield.

Edwards’ camp contends that Springfield, the 3rd largest city in the state, does not have proper representation on Beacon Hill. As Springfield is the hub of the Pioneer Valley, this adversely affects all of Western Mass.

  • James Welch has never lived in Springfield. He was born, raised, and now lives in the affluent suburb of West Springfield, which is comprised of 28,000 people. The Hampden District State Senate Seat is comprised of 159,000 people, the majority of whom live in Springfield. Senator Welch did not maintain a District Office in Springfield – until after Edwards announced his campaign. Given the vast socio-economic disparity between Welch and his constituents, Edwards’ camp contends that Welch cannot adequately represent the Hampden District.

Melvin Edwards was born and raised in Springfield, the center of the Hampden District. He is a resident and homeowner in Maple High Six Corners, one of the City’s most depressed and ethnically diverse neighborhoods. Edwards’ family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and constituents reflect the demographics of the newly altered Hampden “minority-majority” district.

  • The bulk of James Welch’s financial contributions and union endorsements come from Boston.

All of Melvin Edwards’ endorsements and the bulk of his financial supporters are local.

  • Historically, James Welch has not been a top performer in the public, private, or non-profit arena. A career politician, Welch’s has spent the majority of his adult life in an elected office he “inherited” from Stephen Buoniconti. Welch was a state rep for the 6th Hampden district – a position previously held by Buoniconti (when Welch was his aid). In 2010, Welch won the Senate seat – vacated by Buoniconti to run, unsuccessfully, for district attorney. In Boston, Welch votes with the Democratic Machine and has yet to introduce broad sweeping legislation that would promote economic prosperity in the Hampden district.

Melvin Edwards is a proven top performer in the public and non-profit sector. On the City Council, Edwards is a leader, having already passed historic legislation. Edwards is a Proven Public Servant with a long legacy of doing more with less. Edwards is an engaged and responsive two-term Springfield City Councilor; President of Keep Springfield Beautiful; President of Maple High Six Corners Neighborhood Council; board member of Springfield Partners for Community Action and board member of the Housing Allowance Project.

PRESS CONTACT:            

Jesse L. Lederman | Press Secretary | 413 351 6785 | jesse@votemelvin.com

Carol de Carlo | Marketing Director | 413.265.0891 | camelothot@comcast.com

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Melvin Edwards
Proven Public Servant