Libertarian announces run against Neal


Thursday, June 30, 2016

SHELBURNE FALLS — Thomas Simmons, of Shelburne Falls, has collected enough signatures and is running for Congress as a Libertarian candidate.

Simmons, a business professor at Greenfield Community College, has been circulating nomination papers to seek the 1st Congressional District seat now held by 27-year incumbent Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield.

There are no Republican candidates for the 1st District seat. Simmons said his campaign has already collected more than the required 2,000 signatures due by Aug. 2 at the secretary of state’s office to be listed on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Simmons, 56, said his announcement coincided with meeting the required threshold in signature collection, and that he was surprised to read a story published by the Recorder paralleling what he has found as he travels around the district. In North Adams a couple of weeks ago, according to his Facebook page, “not a single person I met and spoke with (and it was about 40 people) had even heard of” Neal.

Simmons, who has taught at GCC for 18 years, is a founding member of the Faculty Advisory Board of the Springfield-based Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative, which helps college students begin their own small businesses.

“For far too long,” Simmons said in a written statement, “Mr. Neal has faced little to no opposition in his races for re-election. In all of that time, he has amassed a campaign war chest funded largely by pharmaceutical, banking, and out-of-state corporate interests, and has ignored the working people of western Massachusetts.”

Simmons said the Democratic incumbent “has consistently voted for spending that has put us $2 trillion into debt, while voting to curb civil liberties, including a woman’s right to make medical decisions with her doctor without interference from politicians.

“Worst of all,” Simmons added, “Mr. Neal has incessantly pushed federal Common Core mandates, which have resulted in our teachers hands being tied as students are trained to take tests that line the pockets of private curriculum companies. Change is needed, and it is needed now.”