James McGovern represents the 3nd Congressional District in Massachusetts, an area that currently encompasses 28 towns stretching from Leicester through Worcester to Westboro and snakes south towards Fall River. In the next election in November, Rep. McGovern will be running to represent a newly configured 2nd Congressional District, which will include 63 communities, keeping only of 11 of his current towns, and altering 60% of his constituency.
The change is the result of last year’s once-a-decade federal redistricting, in which Massachusetts lost one of its ten Congressional seats, necessitating a redrawing of the districts, and impacting all the current representatives. The three Western Massachusetts districts effectively became two, with Richard E. Neal running in the 1st District, which will include Dudley, and Mr. McGovern in the 2nd, which will include Webster and Oxford. Congressman Neal has represented Webster, Oxford and Dudley for the last 23 years.
Rep. McGovern visited Webster on Tuesday, April 3, in a plan to familiarize himself with the communities in the newly-configured district before the election. He said that if is re-elected and knows about the issues and projects in advance, he “can hit the ground running.”
He said he was born and grew up in Worcester, and knows the area, having often visited Webster Lake when he was younger.
Tuesday’s visit began with a presentation in the Irene Martel Conference Room at the Town Hall. Town Administrator John McAuliffe reviewed all the plans in progress for downtown revitalization, including the new police station, the A.J. Sitkowski Senior Housing project, the public library, and the Park Avenue Elementary School.
Selectmen Donald Bourque and Deborah Keefe accompanied the congressman on a tour of Main Street, stopping in at businesses along the route.
The first was a visit with Joseph V. Waskiewics Jr., owner of JV Mechanical Contractors. The company is a distributor for PAW, a German manufacturer of high tech products for solar and hydronics systems. Mr. Waskiewics has rehabbed a building at 25 Davis Street, behind the Post Office, and it’s a showcase for the solar and radiant heating products.
The next stop, on Main Street, was with Nancy Healy, of the Citadel Company, and owner of considerable real estate in town. Down the block, Dan Marcoux of the Party Planner wowed the congressman with his huge selection of party goods.
Across the street, the touring group stopped in at Jeanne’s Hair Loft, talked with Tina Puzo, branch manager at the Hometown Bank, and then visited with Steve and Chris Charniak of Charniak Insurance.
The last stop was the Eastern Pearl restaurant, where he met owner Sam Zhu, as well as a few of the citizens having lunch there.
Back at the town hall parking lot, Mr. McGovern said “I feel optimistic about Webster. You have some great things going on. And I like to work with community leaders to get things done.”