Bruce Chester in race for Worcester and Hampshire District Senate seat


Athol Daily News Editor
Published: 9/22/2023 5:20:46 PM
Modified: 9/22/2023 5:20:04 PM

ATHOL — Third time may be the charm for Bruce Chester as he seeks the Republican nomination in a race for Anne Gobi’s former Senate seat.

Chester, a resident of Gardner, will face off against state Rep. Peter Durant, R-Spencer, in the Oct. 10 primary of a special election called after Gobi stepped down from her Senate seat to take a post in the Healey-Driscoll administration as the first director of rural affairs. Chester has previously run for state representative for the 2nd Worcester District on two occasions. According to his campaign website, he wants to bring prosperity and family values back to the district.

“Things are progressing that locally are not benefiting the people of the district, state and country,” Chester said.

When asked about what sets him apart from Durant and state Rep. Jon Zlotnik — who is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination — Chester cited his 15 years with the military as a logistics officer, which included a year spent in Iraq. While there, he witnessed firsthand what happens when government power is allowed to run unchecked.

“I know how to get things done,” said Chester, who said that if elected, he would decide whether to run for re-election after two terms. “I don’t want to lose our country to those that look in the short term.”

Aside from serving as a chairman for Ward 4 of the Gardner Republican City Committee, Chester is a relative newcomer to politics. Still, he believes his time in the military, coupled with business experience and working as an adjunct professor of computer science at Fitchburg State College, provides insight into the needs of the communities.

Among the issues he plans to focus on are helping small businesses and improving transportation options, including bringing the MBTA to western Massachusetts. He also wants to improve communication in the schools, so parents can have more of a say in what is being taught. Chester said that introducing new courses is fine, but there also needs to be a focus on reading comprehension and math.

“It’s great if you can do gender studies, but you also need to know math and reading,” Chester said, adding that he supports a re-engineering of the MCAS.

Chester describes his campaign platform as focused on government transparency and accountability. He said he hates waste and believes taxpayer money should not be spent without the people getting a say in the matter. As an example, Chester cited a proposal to build a horse racing track on conservation land in Gardner, which many in the city have spoken against. Chester said the focus should be on finding a new use for the former furniture manufacturing sites in Gardner.

“I haven’t met one person in the hundreds of people I spoke to that wants that (horse racing),” Chester said.

Another issue for Chester is the influx of migrant families to several Massachusetts communities, Gardner among them. The state is already spending approximately $45 million per month on programs and housing for migrant and displaced families, and Chester questions the end result, especially when he’s seen homeless veterans in Gardner that cannot even get shelter.

“We need to get control of our borders and then we can talk about helping these people,” he said. “It should never have happened to begin with. There should have been a plan in place.”

Max Bowen can be reached at 413-930-4074 or at

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