Voters in the 1st Franklin District were overwhelmingly in favor of approving ballot Questions 3 and 4 on Tuesday, encouraging state Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, to support legislation to further renewable energy efforts and promote transparency within government subcommittees.
Ultimately, Question 3 and 4 were approved in every one of the 19 towns. The Franklin County towns in the 1st Franklin District are Ashfield, Shelburne, Buckland, Conway, Deerfield, Whately, Montague, Sunderland, Leverett and Shutesbury. It also includes the Hampshire County towns of Plainfield, Goshen, Cummington, Williamsburg, Worthington, Chesterfield, Huntington and Middlefield, and Chester in Hampden County.
Across the 10 Franklin County towns in the district, 13,353 voters cast their ballots in support of Question 3, while 4,074 residents were against it. Question 4 garnered 15,411 in favor, and a mere 1,797 “no” votes. (Final numbers may change, as mail-in ballots are being accepted through Friday at 5 p.m., provided they were postmarked Tuesday.)
Question 3 instructs Blais to support legislation to require Massachusetts to get to 100 percent renewable energy within two decades, and Question 4 will see her support legislation that would make votes in legislative committees publicly available on the Legislature’s website.
Speaking Wednesday after winning a second term running unopposed, Blais said she was patiently awaiting the full, final results on the two ballot questions. The numbers matter, she said, and “what they signal matters.”
“It’s important to make sure we hear the opinions of all those voters,” Blais said. “It’s really important to me to make sure that I’m representing all 19 communities in the 1st Franklin District, no matter how long it takes. It’s kind of like the national election right now.”
Blais has been a strong proponent for climate change legislation since being sworn into office as the first female state representative for the 1st Franklin District in January 2019. In addition to her support for environmental legislation, Blais noted she already currently lists committee votes on her website for the sake of transparency.
The feedback from these ballot questions, she said, will prove useful in helping shape legislative initiatives for the new session beginning in January. Blais said she will “certainly be mindful to input,” and looks forward to speaking with the groups who sponsored Questions 3 and 4.Zack DeLuca can be reached at email@example.com or 413-930-4579.