By Dan Glaun |

Ludlow convenience store owner James “Chip” Harrington, who is challenging Eric Lesser for the First Hampden and Hampshire state Senate seat, accused Lesser of hypocrisy Tuesday afternoon for his position on supporting small businesses.

“Mr. Lesser wants to have his cake and eat it too,” Harrington wrote in a post on his campaign website. “He wants to show up for photo opps and write pieces about caring for small businesses and present one thing through his press machine out here in Western Massachusetts but do another thing on Beacon Hill and hope we do not find out.”

Harrington was responding to an opinion piece Lesser wrote that was published Monday on MassLive. In that piece, Lesser praised small businesses like the cosmetics boutique Cheeky City that recently opened in downtown Springfield, and said the state should work to support such enterprises, not obstruct them.

“State government must also do a better job creating an environment where small businesses can easily thrive and operate efficiently,” Lesser said. “One of the best ways to do this is by streamlining permitting, zoning, licensing and other regulations involved in owning and operating a business.”

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