(WWLP) – Incumbent Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane of Northampton is facing two challengers for the Democratic nomination, corrections specialist Yvonne Gittelson of Goshen, and registered nurse Caitlin Sepeda of South Hadley, who currently works at the Berkshire County Jail.

First elected in 2016, sheriffs serve six-year terms in Massachusetts. Cahillane, a Northampton resident, is a former corrections officer and served in the National Guard.

Sheriff Cahillane spoke with 22News Tuesday night talking about his 40 plus years of experience, also reflecting on his last six years as Sheriff and getting the Hampshire County Jail through the COVID-19 pandemic. Cahillane says if reelected, one of his top priorities would be to address the health and safety needs of the LGBTQ+ community that is incarcerated.

“Those years of experience are important because a lot of people from the outside look at this job and they look at it from the perspective that its an easy job to do, and it’s not. It’s a very complex job, we have seven different divisions within the department and each is different, and we are dealing with human beings,” said Cahillane.

Yvonne Gittelson is a corrections specialist for the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and formerly worked as the corrections education program coordinator at the Hampshire County Jail.

Caitlin Sepeda of South Hadley is a registered nurse who worked at the Hampshire County Jail, and now works at the Berkshire County Jail.

“I think it’s really important and democracy is an issues particularly lately,” said Northampton resident Rita Bleiman.

“It’s important to have good candidates and we feel that it’s important that we select them,” said Bruce Bleiman of Northampton.

The winner of the primary will face independent candidate John Vanasse in the general election. There is no Republican candidate on the ballot.