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The
Fatherhood

Coalition

Kane, Knapik challenged for state seats

By Pat O'Conner, Holyoke Sun Staff Writer

May 2, 2002.


State Representative Michael Kane (D-Holyoke) will have some competition in the state elections this November. Last Friday, political newcomer, Mike Franco, 39, decided to challenge the first-term incumbent.

Franco, of 7 Primrose Lane in Holyoke, filed the required 150 certified signatures with the Registrar of Voters Office Tuesday, April 30. Next, these signatures must be filed with Secretary of State's Office by May 28.

Franco, a republican, said he decided to run for state representative because it is a grassroots position that offers an opportunity to work with the community.

In addition, he said he wants to work closely with Mayor Michael J. Sullivan, Police Chief Anthony R. Scott and School Superintendent Eduardo Carballo.

"I plan to follow their lead," he said.

A Holyoke resident for eight years, Franco has a bachelor's degree in Business Management from Westfield State College and a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Texas.

Franco has also been in the Air Force Reserve for the past 20 years and now serves as executive officer for a group commander at Westover Air Reserve Base. In his spare time, he volunteers as the state co-chairman for the Fatherhood Coalition.

If elected, he said he plans to increase technology in schools and work to raise teachers' salaries. He also said there should be more professional jobs available to Hispanic residents in Holyoke.

"We need to help the Hispanic residents integrate just like past immigrants did," he said.

Kane said he welcomes the competition. He said he plans to run on his democratic, working class values and still work to increase aid for education and health care.

For the last two years in office, Kane said he has familiarized himself with state agencies and began to build relationships with House leadership.

"It is extremely important that you have the eyes and ears of the leadership," Kane said. "You have to build a relationship with these people so they don't shut you off."

Kane hopes this relationship will help Holyoke when the FY '03 House budget is set this month. House Ways and Means committee members proposed a recommended budget with approximately $2 million in cuts to cities.

This week, state representatives will discuss several revenue enhancement methods, which could include freezing the state income tax rate at 5.3 percent or raising it to 5.6 percent.

"(The budget) is all dependent on (future) debate," said Kane. "It's a little early to comment on what is going to happen."


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