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Chicopee’s Joseph Wagner leaving Massachusetts House after 30-year run

Massachusetts House Rep. Joseph Wagner of Chicopee.
State House News Service
Massachusetts House Rep. Joseph Wagner of Chicopee.

Chicopee Representative Joseph Wagner has announced he's not seeking reelection this November, after more than 30 years in the Massachusetts House.

In a press release, Wagner's office said the representative felt it was time to "look forward to and embrace new challenges in the next chapter of his life." The announcement was made as nomination papers are becoming available, and Wagner said he hoped to give candidates time to make decisions and organize campaigns.

"When I first ran for office, the one campaign promise I made was to work to ensure that Governors, Senate Presidents and House Speakers would know that Chicopee is more than just an exit on the Massachusetts Turnpike," Wagner said in a statement. "As Chicopee's Representative, I've worked each day to try to deliver on that promise, and I hope that my efforts and contributions will be viewed as having improved the quality of life for the residents of Chicopee and for communities across Massachusetts."

Over his career, Wagner has been especially active on transportation and economic development legislation, and his work is reflected in the state's distracted driving and junior operator laws and the 2011 casino law.

Looking ahead to his final months in office, Wagner said he hoped to address impacts of inflation on the costs of housing, home heating and health care, particularly for seniors, as well as education funding, using federal aid in western Massachusetts, and plans to deal with problems at the Hampden County Courthouse.

About 10 years into his career on Beacon Hill, Wagner was among the top House Democrats who opposed funding a voter law calling for public financing of elections, a point of view that at one point led supporters of the law to try to sell his office furniture.

Wagner is on Speaker Ron Mariano's leadership team as Second Assistant Majority Leader. Mariano, who is seeking reelection, recently lost his majority leader, former Rep. Claire Cronin, who is now the U.S. ambassador to Ireland.