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Another chance to connect with voters."

Gouveia on Longmeadow Democratic Breakfast

By G. Michael Dobbs

There are two area political events that provide journalists ¬ and political wonks – access to a large group of elected officials and candidates.

One, of course, is the annual fundraiser presented by Sheriff Nick Cocchi, which enables reporters unique access to local pols. The other is the Longmeadow Democratic Town Committee breakfast, which may not have the numbers of people as the other event, but certainly has a similar intensity.

The Longmeadow event returned to in-person status for the first time in two years on May 1.

I readily admit that I enjoy the “hunt” at both events, although some candidates clearly want to avoid the press. I chased Sen. Elizabeth Warren across the sheriff’s event one year in pursuit of a comment, but her handlers kept me at bay despite the assurances of one local Democrat that I was “okay.”

This is politics at a very grassroots level. Both events afford voters and candidates the kind of face-to-face personal communication that is not easy to achieve. In the digital age, it’s been shown that old-fashioned campaigning remains potent.

At the entrance, a small army of people gathered asking the event’s participants to sign nomination papers for candidates. It’s my habit to sign any nomination papers, and so I did when asked.

Of the candidates present, two of the Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor were present: state Sen. Eric Lesser and state Rep. Tami Gouveia.

Gouveia told me she sees such events as “another opportunity to engage voters.” She has been running for lieutenant governor for the past 10 months. A public health social worker, Gouveia’s campaign has attracted more than 200 volunteers, she said. Events such as this one are “another opportunity to engage voters.”