Springfield attorney to challenge Neal for US congressional seat

This story has been updated to include Tahirah Amatul-Wadud's party affiliation.

By Amanda Drane
The Berkshire Eagle

PITTSFIELD — A Springfield attorney who serves on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women announced Monday she will run against Congressman Richard Neal to represent the 1st Congressional District.

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, 44, will visit the city Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Dottie's Coffee Lounge to mark her campaign's first public appearance.

Amatul-Wadud, a progressive Democrat, has served the Commission on the Status of Women for nearly four years, and in her work as an attorney fights for the civil rights of marginalized communities. In serving these roles, she said she's won an audience with thousands of residents over the past few years.

She said she'd like to address the urgent issues she's seen facing families — the opioid epidemic, housing security and unemployment among them.

"I've realized that there's a sense of apathy and hopelessness that is setting in," she told The Eagle, adding Western Massachusetts boasts a "diverse and broad" population. "The best of us hasn't been allowed to shine."

She said she'd like to deal with the lack of access to high-speed internet, which she said creates gaps in skills and wages and "hampers business growth and development" in the area.

In her work as an attorney, Amatul-Wadud specializes in domestic relations and religious persecution. She attended Elms College and Western New England University School of Law. She is married and a mother to seven children.

Amatul-Wadud says she's deeply concerned about disparities in handling of the opioid crisis, with policies surrounding Medicare and student loans and how they impact families.

"The 1st Congressional District deserves someone who is there advocating fiercely for all of our interests," she said. "Now is the best time to deliver that, right now when the country is in such political turmoil."

Reach Amanda Drane at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, or at 413-496-6296.


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