Karen Lee: Embrace a 'new type of candidate' in Pease

The 1st Franklin District state representative race is a microcosm of what we’re seeing around the country and in many local races: viable candidates who want real change for working families are running for the first time, and Casey Pease stands out in the crowded field for several reasons.

If we look at the occupations of the candidates, and those currently serving, there is not any shortage of attorneys, consultants, graduate or professional degrees. There is a shortage of farmers, average Americans, women, people of color and young people. If we want a truly representative body, we’ll need to embrace and be inclusive of a new type of candidate.

Casey represents the youth demographic and who not too long ago experienced the rural public school system. He understands first hand the community of farmers and residents who face the unique challenges in the district because they are his challenges, too. I think it is vital for Massachusetts to have the insight of the demographic that Casey represents to help plan for the future direction of the commonwealth.

As a field organizer during the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, he learned about the distinct needs of people in the states he worked, including the four counties in western Massachusetts. Casey and I got to know one another during the presidential primary. He is driven, focused and my initial impression of him remains true today: There is an honesty and sincerity in his leadership that inspires confidence. 

More importantly, his activism has been close to the ground with unwavering core beliefs on economic justice and the rural needs of the region and I believe his gifts will translate into a responsible, responsive and accessible state representative for the residents of the 1st Franklin District. #GivePeaseAChance

Karen Lee, Springfield
Former Western Mass Field Organizer, Sanders 2016 Presidential Campaign

Originally published in the Recorder

Cory Bisbee