Senate Minority Party Loses Quarter of its Membership as Veteran Legislator Knapik Announces Departure
State Senator Michael Knapik (R-Westfield) recently resigned the Second Hampshire and Hampden Senate seat to join Westfield State University as the new executive director of advancement. Senator Knapik was serving his 10th term in the Senate, and previously served two terms in the House. He had been the ranking Republican on the Senate Ways and Means Committee since 2001 and served on more budget conference committees than any other lawmaker. According to Westfield State University, part of Knapik’s new job is to work with the Westfield State Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money and manages charitable gifts for the university. Senator Knapik’s resignation means that a special election will be held for the sixth time in the 2013-2014 legislative cycle. The Second Hampden and Hampshire District includes Holyoke, Westfield, parts of Chicopee and the towns of Agawam, Granville, Montgomery, Russell, Southwick , Tolland, Easthampton and Southampton. Accordingly, there are at least five people are attempting to succeed Senator Knapik. Rep. Donald Humason, a Westfield Republican and former aide to Knapik; and Michael Franco, a Holyoke resident and retired Air Force major at Westover Air Reserve Base, make up the Republican field vying in the special election, according to city elections departments in the district. Easthampton Mayor Michael Tautznik; David Bartley, a Holyoke City Councilor and son of the former House speaker; and Christopher Hopewell, of Holyoke, are Democratic candidates who turned in nominating papers, according to city halls. The districts major municipalities are Holyoke, Westfield, Agawam and Easthampton. The primary is Oct. 8 and the special election is scheduled for Nov. 5.