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Two vying to challenge Neal

Wesley, Fleitman seeking 2nd District seat in Congress

May 09, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — For the first time in years, veteran U.S. Rep Richard Neal, D-Mass., has opposition in November.

Both of Neal's Republican challengers — Thomas Wesley of Hopedale and Dr. Jay Fleitman of Northampton — claim some Tea Party inspiration, but otherwise come from very different walks of life. Neal is a Springfield resident.

Lacking experience in elected or appointed government, Wesley is essentially running on his military background and related experience in the defense industry, which he claims has taken him around the world and exposed him to a lot of cultures and ideas. Doing that, he said, he's developed "appreciation for multiple sides of small business and large business."

"I'm a career citizen. I love my country, but think it's pretty broken," he said. " When it came time to settle into a civilian career, every one of my jobs has involved traveling abroad. Local politics never had the opportunity to take root."

By contrast, Fleitman was chairman of the Northampton Board of Health until starting this campaign, and has been a practicing doctor for 25 years.

See Monday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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