Elizabeth Warren was in Northampton over the weekend where she made some comments, the full context of which is not entirely clear. What she did clearly say is “you’re not as landlocked as some parts of the state.” And, true to form, our friends at the Massachusetts Republican party have seized on this statement to suggest that Warren had committed a Charlie-Baker-ish gaffe that revealed a lack of knowledge about western Massachusetts.
Unfortunately, it appears to be our pals at the MA GOP who have forgotten key geographical points about western Massachusetts. You see, to be “landlocked” means to be “enclosed or nearly enclosed by land.” It does not mean “not on the ocean.” And, while Northampton is obviously not on the ocean, it is on the Connecticut River, “the largest and longest river in New England.” Northampton is well aware of its watery neighbor, and of the many activities its residents find there:
Northampton is bounded by the Connecticut River, on which many people enjoy fishing, travel, and recreational activities. Summer weekends will find hundreds of people out on the river in everything from canoes and kayaks to fishing boats, jet skis, and even water skis. The privately owned, 300-slip Ox-bow Marina provides docks, a boat ramp, and boating events. Elwell Recreation Area on Damon Road at Route 9 and I-91 (part of the Connecticut River Greenway State Park) provides canoe and rowing access to the Connecticut River including a paved access ramp to a wheelchair accessible dock on the river. The Oxbow Ramp on Route 5 on the Easthampton/Northampton boundary offers a paved ramp, customarily used by high powered recreational craft and larger fishing boats. The river is also home to crew teams from area colleges and the Northampton Youth and Community Rowing program, which enrolls rowers from 15 – 65+ years of age.
So, sorry Nate, Tim, and the rest of the merry MA GOP gang. This time, the gaffe’s on you.