Senate candidate Beth Lindstrom visits Hadley


Staff Writer
Thursday, July 19, 2018

HADLEY — A Republican candidate for the United States Senate, Beth Lindstrom, visited the Pioneer Valley on Friday to meet with business owners and talk about their values ahead of the primary in September.

“I think people create jobs. I don’t think government creates jobs,” Lindstrom said in an interview. “Making sure you have an environment where people can create jobs is what it’s all about.”

Describing herself as a “fiscal conservative,” Lindstrom said one surefire way to support local businesses is through lower taxes. She has been critical of her Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren’s call to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, but said Democratic friends call her an “anomaly.”

“I have been someone who over my career has been able to bring people around a table who disagree of different belief systems and figure out where you have common ground,” Lindstrom said. “In this area, I just ask people to give me a chance, meet me and hear what I have to say.”

She said some business owners told her about the changes to minimum wage laws and sick time could cause them strain, but the sentiment is not widespread in the Valley.

“For the most part I’ve heard people are trying to pay their employees higher than that anyway,” Lindstrom said.

One of the candidate’s last stops was at Esselon Coffee Roasting Company off Route 9 in Hadley. There she met with owner Mark Krause and executive chef Dennis Lupien. Together they talked about the farm-to-table restaurant model, and toured the restaurant garden seating area lined with fresh herbs. Krause said his business takes a seasonal approach to their dishes, capitalizing on Hadley’s famous asparagus season and other local produce.

Krause said that he pays his 42 employees a fair wage and provides generous benefits, so changes to the minimum wage laws will not affect his business much. He was careful to note that Lindstrom’s visit was apolitical, and the establishment welcomes any candidate who would like to visit.

“My platform, if you will, is to make sure we continue to be an economic engine,” Lindstrom said. “When you create jobs, to me, you create dignity for people and you create taxpayers, then that creates the money to help people who can’t help themselves.”

Lindstrom talked about the role of technology in sustaining a small business, and how innovators can make it easier for entrepreneurs to afford gadgets like portable card readers that greatly help them do business. The price of technological upgrades can impede a business’s growth, she said.

“It’s such a conundrum for a small business owner,” Lindstrom said.

The 56-year-old candidate is a mother of three and owner of the Body Mind Spirit Salon & Day Spa in Groton, where she sells organic skincare products. She was the first-ever female executive director of the Massachusetts Lottery, and has been involved with four startup business ventures.

“I understand how hard it is to start a business,” Lindstrom said.

While this is Lindstrom’s first time running for office, she is no stranger to politics. She is the former campaign manager of Scott Brown’s 2010 Senate race, worked as secretary of consumer affairs and business regulation for former Gov. Mitt Romney and as president of the super PAC that helped to elect current Gov. Charlie Baker.

On Friday, she also visited Mill Valley Milk Company and Hadley Scoop after stopping at Koffee Cup Bakery in Springfield and Boilards Lumber in Indian Orchard. On Saturday she plans to visit the Great New England Air Show at the Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee.

“For the most part, you have people who are running their businesses who truly want to offer a good service, and have great employees,” Lindstrom said of the business owners she met on Friday. “Everybody wants that same thing, to be able to have a thriving business.”

With the Republican primaries scheduled for September 4, Lindstrom said she feels good going head-to-head against Republican opponents state Representative Geoff Diehl and John Kingston. Diehl will also be visiting western Massachusetts this weekend, stopping at Saturday’s Air Show followed by a tour of Holyoke and a stop at the Wachusett Mountain Food Truck Festival.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at srobertson@gazettenet.com.