ADA Swihart is candidate for State Rep. Kulik’s seat

Recorder Staff
Thursday, March 15, 2018

A fifth person has announced plans to run for state representative for the 1st Franklin District.

Elizabeth Swihart is seeking the House seat held by Stephen Kulik, who recently announced his retirement. Swihart is a Democrat and an assistant district attorney in Franklin and Hampshire counties.

In announcing her candidacy Friday, she said she sees the results of this community’s poverty every day. She said she will “engage in solutions that involve deep funding for our rural schools, transportation, and fresh local food support, which would in turn benefit local agriculture, taxpayers, and all citizens alike.”

Swihart was raised in Franklin and Hampshire counties. She was born in Goshen, attended Leverett Elementary School and the Amherst public school system through middle and high school. She now resides in Turners Falls with her husband, William, and their two young girls.

Swihart’s priorities would include the unique funding requirements of Franklin and Hampshire counties’ rural schools. “Our concerns here in the 1st Franklin District are regionalization and collaboration so that our resources are shared in a way that benefits all of our schools,” she said.

Swihart said she earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice at Northeastern University in Boston, graduating magna cum laude. She went on to law school at the University of San Diego School of Law and has been a lifelong environmentalist. After graduating, Swihart made the decision to come home to be close to her family, and to bring her skills back to the Franklin and Hampshire county communities.

Swihart was hired as an assistant district attorney by the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office after returning home in 2011. She serves as the attorney-in-charge at the Orange District Court and specializes in domestic violence prosecutions.

Swihart said she believes that supporting local agriculture and strategic funding of public transportation are additional ways to encourage opportunity for our children. She said she will fight to maintain funding for programs that work, like the Healthy Incentives Program. “Putting local, fresh fruits and vegetables into reach helps children focus in school.”

Swihart joins four others in the race for Kulik’s seat: Francia Wisnewski of Montague, chairwoman of the Hampshire and Franklin Commission on the Status of Women and Girls; Kate Albright-Hanna of Huntington, a former video director for Barack Obama’s 2007 presidential campaign; Natalie Blais, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce executive director and Casey Pease, chairman of the Worthington Democratic Town Committee.

The Massachusetts 1st Franklin District comprises Ashfield, Buckland, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Cummington, Deerfield, Goshen, Huntington, Leverett, Middlefield, Montague, Plainfield, Shelburne, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Whately, Williamsburg and Worthington. Primaries are scheduled for Sept. 4.