PITTSFIELD, Mass. — U.S. Rep. John W. Olver officially endorsed his colleague, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, on Monday in the campaign for the 113th Congress for the new First Congressional District, as re-drawn by the state legislature during the redistricting process.
"Richard Neal is an outstanding fit for the new First District," the Amherst Democrat said. "He is a strong supporter of everything the district cares about, and he has been a great friend and partner in the House during my congressional service."
Neal has represented the 2nd Mass District along the southern border for 24 years. Beginning in 2013, his hometown of Springfield will be part of the 1st Mass.
Two Berkshire Democrats, Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. and Bill Shein, have also announced for the nomination for the congressional seat. No Republican has entered the race yet.
Olver praised Neal's work as a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the tax code, trade law, Social Security and Medicare.
"Congressman Neal has worked tirelessly to exempt the middle class from the Alternative Minimum Tax, while at the same time fighting to end loopholes that allow profitable corporations to avoid paying taxes by re-locating offshore," said Olver. "It has also been his cause to make it easier for middle income workers to save for retirement, and Congressman Neal vigorously opposes Republican proposals to privatize Social Security, which would undermine the fiscal stability of the system."
Olver and Neal have served together during Olver's entire 21-year congressional career, with each representing parts of Hampden and Hampshire counties in the Pioneer Valley, and each representing different north-south ends of Worcester County.
"As a former mayor and city councilor, Richie knows about local economic development and how important federal investment and federal seed money is to local projects," added Olver. "And he is a real rising star within the Democratic Caucus. The residents of the new First District will be quite fortunate indeed to be represented by him."
Olver was first elected to Congress in the First District in 1991. He will retire at the end of 2012.