Ludlow’s Harrington seeks Republican nomination for 7th Hampden District


Staff Writer
Published: 3/10/2022 4:22:15 PM
Modified: 3/10/2022 4:21:42 PM

LUDLOW — James “Chip” Harrington, who has served in the public sector at the local level for 32 years, is seeking to take his political passion to Boston.

The lifelong Ludlow resident has announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the state House of Representatives’ 7th Hampden District, which will include Franklin County and North Quabbin towns under redistricting plans set to go into effect next January.

The 7th Hampden District currently consists of parts of Belchertown, Chicopee, Springfield and Ludlow. But under redistricting plans, this fall will mark the first time voters cast ballots as residents of the new 7th Hampden District, which will include Belchertown, New Salem, Wendell, Ludlow, Pelham, Shutesbury and Petersham.

“Every town has their own special need, but as a group, we’re all western Mass. people,” Harrington said. “One thing that we always need in western Mass. is a legislator that understands how things get done.”

The 7th Hampden District is currently represented by Rep. Jake Oliveira, a Democrat who is vacating his seat to run for state Senate. Aaron Saunders of Belchertown has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

Harrington, 53, said he has served Ludlow as a recreation commissioner, on the Selectboard and, for the past 18 years, on the School Committee, in addition to several other bodies.

“I feel I can make a significant difference,” he said. “And I feel the (state) Legislature needs some common-sense voices and balance, to some extent.”

Harrington said he is an enrolled Republican, but described himself as a moderate who would rather focus on solving problems in the same way as Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, both Republicans reelected handily in deep-blue Massachusetts.

He started working for the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office in 1992 and serves as a program manager who writes curriculum for the program’s re-entry division. He is also a part-time police officer in Ludlow and ran the Our Town Variety store in Ludlow before selling it after 14 years.

“That gave me a real unique perspective,” he said, referring to what he called a ripple effect that occurs when the government meddles unnecessarily with private businesses. “I have a deep appreciation for small businesses in Massachusetts and the challenges that they deal with.”

Harrington, who raised two children with his wife in Ludlow, said he would like the Legislature to better emphasize and support students who elect to attend trade or vocational schools instead of four-year colleges. He said there is a shortage of workers in the trades, which often offer good-paying jobs with benefits and don’t saddle young people with student loan debt. He also said there is no reason why, in 2022, there are gaps in broadband connectivity or cellphone service in Massachusetts.

This is not the “first swing at the plate” for Harrington. He ran for the 7th Hampden District seat in November 2020 and initially was told he had won before the town clerk in Belchertown called him the next morning to say she had miscounted the votes. After a recount, Oliveira wound up winning the race by around 130 votes.

Harrington, one of three sons, explained his father nicknamed him “Chip” after the youngest son on the TV show “My Three Sons” when he was a baby.

“I still have a sixth-grader’s nickname,” he said.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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