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New England News

Rep. Neal Explains Decision To Skip Berkshire NAACP Debate

Congressman Richard Neal

Facing criticism from the NAACP Berkshire County Branch for skipping a debate, Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal says he has a scheduling conflict — and a perfect NAACP voting score. 

Branch president Dennis Powell told WAMC he was disappointed by Neal’s decision to not face primary rival Tahirah Amatul-Wadud in an August 15th debate in Pittsfield. Neal, a Democrat from the first House district, said Monday in Springfield he has a scheduling conflict, but has agreed to two broadcast debates.

“I accepted a long time ago an invitation to celebrate Sister Mary Caritas’ 95th birthday party, and that’s where I intend to be,” said Neal.

Caritas is a Catholic community leader, currently the Vice President of the Holyoke Sisters of Providence congregation, and a familiar face in the healthcare community of Western Massachusetts. She served as the president of Mercy Medical Center in Springfield from 1977 to 1993.

The primary is September 4th.

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