Congressional candidate forced to cancel Hadley event

HADLEY — The Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat in the United States House of Representatives was in Pioneer Valley on Sunday.

Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette, from Shrewsbury, had planned to attend a Bikers Against Child Abuse event at the Young Men’s Club of Hadley. But his plan to meet voters was canceled after he said the group did not want political figures and the press.

“Human trafficking is part of my campaign,” Sossa-Paquette said in a phone interview. “I wanted to come out and support them in their efforts.”

Sossa-Paquette is running for the seat currently held by U.S. Representative Jim McGovern, D-Worcester. This district mainly covers the county of Worcester, but includes the Hampshire county communities of Northampton, Amherst, Hatfield, Hadley, Pelham, Shutesbury, Williamsburg, Westhampton, Goshen and Chesterfield. The district also covers Greenfield and a significant portion of Franklin County.

Sossa-Paquette, who is gay himself, was recently in Washington where he was trying to convince senators to support the Respect for Marriage Act that had just passed the House, fearing that the Supreme Court would strike down the law. legalization of same-sex marriage after overturning landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade.

“This is my family,” was his message to senators, he said. “If you don’t, you affect my family… This shouldn’t be open to debate.”

But, in the political party of Sossa-Paquette, it is open to debate. Only 47 of 211 House Republicans voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would provide legal protection for same-sex marriage. And he faces a strong rise in the Senate.

Sossa-Paquette has also been criticized by Republicans in Massachusetts for simply being gay and married. Last June, for example, there were calls for Deborah Martell – a Ludlow representative on the 80-member Republican State Committee – to resign after saying she was “disgusted” that Sossa-Paquette and her husband have adopted children, according to the Boston Globe.

But Sossa-Paquette says that doesn’t mean he’s in the wrong political party.

“What that tells me is that I have a lot of work to do in the Republican Party,” he said.

Sossa-Paquette is a businessman who owns a daycare. This is his second campaign against McGovern to represent the state’s 2nd congressional district; in 2019, he suffered a stroke during the election campaign and had to drop out of the race, undergo surgery and learn to speak again.

Sossa-Paquette largely finances his campaign himself, according to federal campaign finance records. He loaned his campaign $90,000 of the total $127,570 he raised between March 24, 2021 and June 30, 2022. During this period, he spent $116,461 on his campaign account and finished with $11,109 in cash.

McGovern, meanwhile, withdrew $850,817 from Jan. 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. Of that amount, $605,735 came from individual donors. Another $244,250 came from political action committees, or PACs. Labor unions and progressive groups largely make up the PACs that gave to McGovern. But he also received contributions from lobby groups for sugar producers, PACs for the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors, medical associations, California winemakers and major law firms.

On his website, Sossa-Paquette says he is “America First,” listing among his top issues the national debt, support for school choice, and “funding that follows the child,” “responsible progress towards eliminating discrimination in all its forms” and supporting adoption over abortion.

Bringing back manufacturing jobs is another concern Sossa-Paquette said he hopes to bring to the campaign trail.

“I want to bring the grant money to our district,” he said. “It’s a part of the state that has been ignored.”

The 2nd Congressional District is a reliable Democratic district, and McGovern has won every time he has had a Republican opponent. McGovern won more than 65% of the vote in 2018 and 2020 when he beat physiotherapist Tracy Lovvorn of Grafton.

Dusty Christensen can be contacted at [email protected]

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