Hi my name is Sean Goonan and I am running for state representative for the 8th Hampden District. The election is on November 8, 2022. The Massachusetts Legislature is comprised of 40 senators in the State Senate and 160 representatives in the State House of Representatives. The 8th Hampden District is entirely in Chicopee in Ward 1, part of Ward 2, part of ward 3, part of Ward 4, Ward 5, Ward 6, Ward 7, Ward 8, and Ward 9.
I grew up in Chicopee and graduated from Chicopee High School in 2011. I went to George Washington University for three years where I majored in economics, but I didn’t graduate because I wanted to change my life path and pursue agriculture. I’ve worked on a variety of farms and I’ve been developing my own farm. I’ve also done other work like substitute teaching for Chicopee Public Schools and I currently work as a laborer/carpenter’s helper for BRJ Builders which is based out of Bernardston, MA. I also wrote a book titled “The Foundation for Exploration” which you can learn about on this website.
I previously ran for Chicopee city-council-at-large in 2019 and 2021. I developed an interest in running for political office because I had ideas to improve the community and felt I had to take the initiative to make them happen. I don’t adhere to any political party and I feel that the two current mainstream parties have failed the American citizenry for too long. I believe that the entrenched political establishment needs to be disrupted and shaken up, and new ideas brought to the forefront.
I believe that power should be strongest at the local level (as opposed to the state and federal level), where people can have more input and control over their government and how their community is shaped. As a state representative I will fight to decentralize power away from Beacon Hill and Boston and decrease the power of the state government. At the same time, I would use my position to allocate tax dollars where it is necessary to directly improve people’s quality of life in Chicopee (and across Mass as well). Some of the best ways to help directly improve people’s lives right now are to strengthen individual neighborhoods where people live and increase the small businesses/job opportunities in the area (making neighborhoods more enjoyable, walkable, safer and functional), to keep people’s money in their own pockets by lowering taxes, and to intertwine nature more in daily life by expanding conservation land and improving city greenspace and aesthetics, primarily by planting more trees. I also believe that people’s social lives would improve with more community spaces. I believe that by working with residents and figuring out exactly how we want to develop our neighborhoods, this will lead to the best outcome, instead of Beacon Hill and Washington D.C. continuing to gain more power and forcing top-down proposals upon people.
To learn more about my ideas please continue reading:
1. Intelligent Economic and Community Development
It is the job of state representatives to help shape communities physically, economically, and socially in a way that will enhance people’s lives overall. I question if most politicians have truly helped improve people’s quality of life and financial situations, when it is apparent to me that income inequality is rising, the economy is teetering on the edge of the volatile global market, and people are angrier and less satisfied with the quality of their communities.
As a state representative I will allocate funds to spur more entrepreneurship and small business ownership and enact laws that will allow communities the freedom to lower property taxes for small businesses. I will allocate funds for city projects that will improve street design to slow cars down, make roads safer, and make neighborhoods more walkable and more economically productive, with more small businesses. Chicopee needs to be restructured away from the sprawling big-box store model of development which requires more extensive and expensive infrastructure needs. The neighborhood center model of city development has proven to be the best over thousands of years since the beginning of civilization. Our communities need to be made less auto-dependent and instead be centered on mixed-use development with businesses and residences intertwined in the right way on a smaller scale. This will also strengthen the region more against the volatile international markets, with more goods being created here in western mass, and more money being retained in the community instead of profits being extracted from corporations and bankers.
I think Chicopee needs a few community centers spaced out in various neighborhoods, where people who live nearby can go for socializing, being active, and learning/skill building. Right now we have schools as a social space for young people to go to during the day and for learning, and we have the one senior center for seniors to use, but nothing for people in between those ages (or for people of all ages) to use. It is important that not just one large central community center is built, but multiple smaller centers be created where people could walk or bike to, and connect with other people of their immediate neighborhoods.
2. Lower Taxes
Politicians have steadily expanded the scope and power of the government. It is now commonplace for politicians to unquestioningly say they are raising spending year after year for all sorts of programs, projects, initiatives, grants, and plans- all put forth as lightning bolt solutions to society’s ills … yet there is nothing to show for any of this and things are getting worse. This is because by their nature, most programs and initiatives will always fail because they are not aligned with the true will of the people and are not a natural, cooperatively created endeavor of citizens of a community, but rather a top-down proposal from an outsider with ulterior motives, including the expansion of political and bureaucratic power. This is not to say that there is no place in society for the government to collect taxes to use for expenditures for the greater good, but I believe it is time to recognize that the wasting of money that has been going on for so long needs to stop.
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, the state employee pension system has gotten out of control, and taxpayers are footing the bill in billions of dollars as people struggle in the uncertain private sector. This means that less burden should be put on the taxpayer to pay for government pensions, though I’m not saying we should get rid of government pensions, as these employees have worked hard for their compensation. We also need to recognize that throwing more and more money at the education “industry” is not going to help improve society or benefit students, because we need to reform the way we educate the youth before spending more money on a failing system. Instead of forced schooling based around state-mandated standardized testing and curriculum, we need to do better for our children (and parents) by bringing more power to the local and family level and create environments that will help develop a free-thinking, independent, self-reliant population. The current (extremely expensive) model seeks to create obedient, conforming worker drones and expand its own power. By reforming education, it will save money by needing less administrators and will bring power and freedom back to families and teachers, who are in great need of a morale boost after being under the current system for so long.
Infrastructure spending has also gotten well out of control. It’s unfortunate, but too much sprawling infrastructure has been built and we are now paying the price of maintaining it all, and it will bankrupt us if we do not understand the situation correctly for what it is. We need targeted infrastructure spending at the neighborhood level to improve the quality of life of residents. Better road design is needed to slow down vehicles to make neighborhoods safe and walkable. I would support a higher-speed train to connect Springfield, Worcester, and Boston, but not defeat the purpose by adding too many stops, and especially not bankrupt the commonwealth by expanding it out to the Berkshires, where there would not be enough ridership to justify the cost at this time. We need better public transportation at the local level especially if we’re going to expand passenger rail.
Massachusetts has some of the highest taxation rates out of all the states in the country. I believe that income taxation should be scaled more towards millionaires and billionaires in order to curb the outrageous income inequality occurring, but aside from those outliers, people overall should be paying less state taxes.
We are a part of nature, not separate from it. We also shape the environment, and the environment shapes us. The intelligent use of land and resources is vital. It is also vital to preserve untouched natural environments in many areas large and small because we need nature for its beauty, inspiration, and health benefits.
I will pass legislation to allow cities and towns to enact their own conservation zoning ordinances so that it is easier for individuals and communities to designate valuable forestland for preservation. Currently all conservation efforts have to go through state programs, making it more difficult. A city created conservation ordinance may not have the same strength as state conserved land because a city council may vote to change the zoning of a property for development, but it is better than nothing. I will approve funds for more trees to be planted and parks improved. The added shade and beauty of these trees will enhance neighborhoods and improve people’s quality of life.
Securing the Slate Road Conservation area for official conservation land status, and blocking any industrial development there, will be a top priority of mine. The quasi-public Westover Metropolitan Development Corporation must be reduced in power and scope, as it has exceeded its original intention of developing vacant properties of the former Westover Air Force Base.
I think it was an injustice for the state legislature to go back on the voter’s decision on the 2016 ballot question in which 77% of MA voters chose to ban the cruel confinement of farm animals like chickens and pigs. It is a clear example of big-business industrial agriculture infiltrating the legislature to get their way and secure more and more profits while abusing animals. The industrial farms and lobbyists provided bogus claims that there would be a major egg shortage if the new law was not repealed. Yet the focus should be to strengthen local small-scale agriculture to begin with, which will be a major priority of mine if elected.
If you’d like to donate to my campaign you can do so in the form below. Any donation amount will go a long way and I really appreciate it. Some statistics to consider: I ran for Chicopee City Council-at-Large in 2019, spent $474 of my own money on campaign flyers and received 24.49% of the vote as a newcomer in a city-wide election. In 2021 I ran again for city council-at-large, raised $175 and spent another $920 of my own money, campaigned harder and received 38.55% of the vote in a city-wide election. I am looking to spend $1500 on this election and every dollar helps. I have raised $220 as of 8/18/22.
413-330-3643 / [email protected]
Now that it is getting closer to election day in November, I’ve begun to ramp up the campaign. I’ve started going door to door passing out flyers and speaking with constituents. I am also hosting a meet and greet event on Wednesday August 31st at my home at 6 Lincoln St. from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. Anyone is welcome to attend, grab a burger and hot dog, and speak with me about their concerns for what they want seen done in the state legislature for the district. Check out the event page on my new facebook page: Sean Goonan for State Representative | Facebook .