Gene RauhalaSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our Smugmug site.
Gene Rauhala

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our Smugmug site.

TOWNSEND -- Townsend Democrat Gene A. Rauhala has announced his intention to run for the 1st Middlesex District State Representative seat, challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Sheila Harrington.

Rauhala, who practices law in Townsend, has served as town moderator for the last 16 years.

He plans to officially announce his candidacy at the Townsend Common on Saturday at 11 a.m.

"I grew up in this area, lived here most of my life and I just feel that the time has come for someone to step up and lead for the six towns in this district, which from my perspective has suffered from disinvestment and is showing a lot of issues due to that lack of investment," Rauhala said.

If elected, Rauhala said, he would focus on increasing state aid and business investment in the six-town district, which includes Ashby, Ayer, Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell and Townsend.

Places such as Willard Brook State Forest in Ashby and Townsend, Rauhala said, used to be regional tourist attractions. Now the infrastructure to get to these places is so poor that they are no longer bringing business to town.

"To see it from its height of activity to where it is now, in my mind it's a lot to do with this area not getting its fair share of state funding," Rauhala said.

He said that by pushing for a return of state funding, areas like Willard Brook could be revitalized.

"These towns are so linked by rivers, streams, ponds and lakes and our state forest that we have to do more to both protect them and develop them and bring this place back to the destination spot it was to visit and, for a lot of us, to live in," Rauhala said.

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