LUDLOW — On Tuesday night, Senator Eric P. Lesser spoke at the Ludlow Boys and Girls Club, where he held his second of three town hall forums this month.
For nearly two hours, Sen. Lesser took more than a dozen questions on topics including the state’s opioid addiction crisis, the EpiPen bulk purchase program that Sen. Lesser proposed and the governor signed into law earlier this year, and the economy and jobs.
He also discussed his proposed Student Loan Bill of Rights in response to a question from a student in the audience. The bill would protect student borrowers from deceptive practices by student loan servicers and require those servicers to be licensed by the state. The bill would also empower state officials to investigate students’ complaints and take legal action against servicers who violate this bill of rights — including forcing servicers to repay student borrowers if they were overcharged.
One constituent asked about the political system and possible changes to how candidates are elected through primaries.
“I really think that most people are consensus-minded. I think for most of us in our lives, in our homes, and in our personal relationships, our instinct is not just to attack. There’s clearly something sick in our political system right now that creates that incentive structure in our politics. We need our politics to more accurately reflect normal human behavior, which is listening to each other and trying to build consensus and trying to focus on the things we agree on,” Sen. Lesser said.
Sen. Lesser was also asked about east-west rail connecting Boston to Springfield, and discussed the state’s regional economic differences and how the rail connection would help the Western Mass economy.
“Western Mass is a fantastic place to live. I’m raising two young kids here, I own a home here, my whole family is here, my parents are here. But we have some serious challenges, which is the economy changed and the economy now is about technology and about innovation and industries that we have traditionally not led,” he said. “We need to connect ourselves, we need growth, we need opportunity that we’re seeing in other parts of our state and our country and I think rail is an important part of this. We have a perfect location, we have amazing universities and assets and talented people and we’re really close to places that have super red-hot economies that we could connect ourselves to. Rail is a win-win for both sides of the state.”
Sen. Lesser also met with the Ludlow School Committee and Board of Selectmen before the town hall to get an update on a variety of issues affecting the town.
The final forum will be at Springfield’s Greenleaf Community Center on Monday, Sept. 25, at 6:30 p.m. Doors open to the public at 6 p.m.