It could be said that Adam Gomez defeat of 5-term incumbent West Springfield State Senator Jim Welch in the Senate Hampden Primary was a David Vs. Goliath victory.
After it was all said and done, Gomez, the first Puerto Rican to win election to the Massachusetts state Senate, won with 60-percent of the vote (10,270 votes to Welch’s 6,929) in the first statewide election that included a vote-by-mail option.
“We’re excited, we’re overwhelmed, but we’re happy, and we’re ready to meet with all leaders and all parts of the community that are encompassed in the Hampden District,” Gomez said. The first Latino from Hampden County to achieve a seat in the state said his top priorities are economic development, housing, and health care.
When asked in an interview with MASS Live how Gomez would promote racial equality (stemming from the national debate regarding combating racism) in his district, he answered: Racism has created disparate outcomes in housing, education, unemployment, criminal justice, and is a social determinant of health. This must be brought to an end. That is why I was the lead sponsor on the Springfield City Council resolution that declared racism a public health crisis, and outlined actionable steps to enhance diversity and antiracism principles, promote racial equity, and develop policies to improve health in communities of color. Of course, this is only the beginning. As your state senator, I will ensure that the principles and policies we are creating in Springfield become a reality at the state level.
Gomez will join state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, D-Springfield, as the newest member of the Legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus. “I think we’ll bring about a sense of better understanding about the issues that are important to the communities of color, particularly in cities like Springfield, and we talk about it from the personal perspective — not only from outside looking in,” Gonzalez said.
Maria Perez, a member of the Springfield School Committee and longtime community activist, told MASS Live when they began fighting for a seat at the table in politics the demographics were much different than they are now. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey, Latinos now make up 44.7% of the city’s population.
“Back then it was very difficult because we didn’t have the demographics we have now, but we fought and we did that work so that our children and their children would have the opportunities they are finally having now,” Perez said.
“I think the city of Springfield right now is reflective of what diversity really means, and diversity is not only about race, it’s about age and gender too,” Gomez said. “Now what we are seeing is that the way government was written, the structures that were in place years ago, is not what people want. They want more inclusivity, they want more access to what we are making decisions on and what we are voting on and this election reflects that desire the people have.”
Gomez’s victory and wins by two other legislative candidates of color will boost the ranks of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus from 13 to 15. There is no Republican on the ballot for November’s general election, making Gomez all but certain to claim the seat. The term begins in January.
Gomez is the Springfield Ward 1 City Councilor and is very active in the Springfield and Latino communities in Hampden County. Gomez is midway through a two-year term on the council: it’s not certain whether he will finish out his term.