WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — A longtime legislator from Western Mass is leaving office to take a job at a local university.
For the last 23 years, republican Mike Knapik of Westfield has served in public office – first as a State Representative and now as a State Senator.
But all that is about to change in less than a week.
“I will conclude my service in the State Senate on Friday at the close of business and start at the university Monday morning,” said Knapik.
That university is Westfield State.
Late last week the school offered Knapik the position of Director of Advancement… and the politician who’s weathered 12 election cycles jumped at the opportunity .
“You’re at a stage in your age and your life and your career and it made sense for me and I’m so pleased to be going to Westfield State University. As I said, rather than driving a hundred miles east starting next Monday I’ll be driving 2 miles west.”
In a statement released Monday – Westfield State University President, Evan Dobelle said of Knapik – “I know of no other public figure in Massachusetts more widely regarded for his bi-partisanship and resolute integrity than the Senator.”
And it’s that bi-partisan work ethic that served Knapik well.
First and foremost he strived to focus attention here on Western Mass.
“The priorities of Chicopee or Westfield or Agawam or Holyoke or Springfield or West Springfield. They were all of ours together so I’m proud of accomplishments, the building projects in the districts.”
One of his proudest achievements was the Great River Bridge, an $85million project that took 20 years – working with several former mayors, the state delegation, and 6 governors.
“I’m pleased with and honored with the opportunity to represent this region of ours in the state for so long and look forward to the next chapter, for me, for the university, and for Western Mass.”
Knapik says he hasn’t ruled out running for office again at some point in the future… but for now, he hopes who ever fills his seat is a fellow republican.
The bid for his seat has already begun…
Representative Don Humason says he will run for Knapik’s seat.
Hummason is currently serving his sixth term as state Rep. for the 4th Hampden District.