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Healey and Campbell campaign together in Springfield's Mason Square

Andrea Campbell ( at left) with Attorney General Maura Healey listen to "Nashville" Thompson, owner of Phoenix Records & Tapes in Springfield, Massachusetts, as they campaigned together on August 17, 2022
Paul Tuthill
Andrea Campbell ( at left) with Attorney General Maura Healey listen to "Nashville" Thompson, owner of Phoenix Records & Tapes in Springfield, Massachusetts, as they campaigned together on August 17, 2022

They listen to the concerns of Black business-owners

Maura Healey and Andrea Campbell made a joint appearance on the campaign trail in western Massachusetts Wednesday.

Healey, the current Attorney General and presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, and Attorney General candidate Campbell, whom Healey has endorsed to succeed her, met with small business-owners in Springfield’s historically Black Mason Square area.

They stopped at several shops in a block on State Street starting with Phoenix Records & Tapes where owner “Nashville” Thompson said that after two-and-a-half years of the COVID-19 pandemic small businesses like his are hanging on by a thread.

“For a small business, especially a Black business, we are struggling to keep our head above the water, so I think we need much more recognition and support,” Thompson said.

And he pointed to another problem in the neighborhood he said needs to be urgently addressed.

“The drugs are out of control in this community,” Thompson said. “That drug addiction problem is out of control and we need to do something about that.”

Healey and Campbell listened sympathetically.

“I think we hear you on the access to capital,” said Healey.

Campbell said she comes from a neighborhood in Boston, Mattapan, that, like Mason Square, does not get its fair share of government resources.

“I know regional equity is a major issue and the AG’s office can help a lot in terms of housing affordability, protecting tenants, economic development and absolutely anything to do with racial disparity, discrimination of any type and any kind,” Campbell said.

Speaking with reporters after the small business tour, Healey highlighted the transportation agenda her campaign published Tuesday and her pledge to appoint a “West-East Rail Director” who will be tasked with making the long talked about transportation project a reality.

“We gotta make it happen,” Healey said. “ For me it is about making things happen, that’s the kind of governor I want to be.”

Healey said she endorsed Campbell out of confidence that she will continue to run the Attorney General’s office as “the peoples’ law firm.”

“I believe that Andrea has the right mix of smarts, inspired lived experience, and ability to work well with teams in the office to deliver and the ability to work with outside stakeholders across government,” Healey said.

While Healey is the odds-on favorite to become the state’s next governor, Campbell is in a tight race for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General. Her competitors are Shannon Liss-Riordan, who is spending millions of dollars of her own money to promote her candidacy, and Quentin Palfrey, who won the Democratic Convention endorsement.

Healey’s endorsement “brings significant credibility to my candidacy,” said Campbell.

Voting by mail in the state primary is already underway. In-person early voting starts Monday August 22nd. The final day to vote in the primary in Tuesday September 6th.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.