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Longtime City Councilor Cariddi Kicks Off State Rep Campaign

By Patrick Ronan

NORTH ADAMS, Mass.  — The sun broke through gray clouds just after noontime Friday. It was perfect synchronicity for Gailanne Cariddi.

To kick off her campaign to become state representative of First Berkshire District, Cariddi shed light on her top priorities in front of the North Adams Public Library. Joined by a modest gathering of family, friends and supporters, including fellow Councilors Ronald Boucher and Marie Harpin, the North Adams native drew upon her more than 20 years of experience as an elected official and her imbedded roots in the business field as the outlining criteria for her candidacy.

"I am committed to using my skills as a listener and facilitator to bring our collective wisdom to Boston," said Cariddi, who is in her 21st year as a city councilor. "I know that working together we can make our district and our commonwealth better, safer and more prosperous."

Cariddi is hoping to fill the position currently held by fellow North Adams resident Daniel E. Bosley, who is ending his 24-year tenure as state rep in an attempt to become Berkshire County sheriff. Cariddi, 56, is running against David Bissaillon and Edward McDonald, both Adams Democrats, with the primary election date set for Sept. 14.

She said the First Berkshire District, which encompasses 11 communities, has an "economic engine" in the arts, culture and creative sector. If elected, Cariddi plans on creating a capital fund to foster the development of new space for artists. She also hit on topics ranging from small-business growth, small-town farming, health-care costs and budget control, which can be found in more detail here.

Cariddi also discussed the state's PILOT ("payment in lieu of taxes") fund, which provides annual payments to communities that host state property. According to Cariddi, the First Berkshire District is home to 47,000 acres of of state-owned land, and in rural towns such as Hawley, Monroe and Savoy, the PILOT fund is a vital source of aid.

"Despite reports from the state auditor that the program be fully funded, this has hardly ever occurred," she said. "This year, the program is slated to be level funded at $27.2 million, well short of where the appropriation needs to be. If elected, I will join the Legislative Rural Caucus to push for full funding of the PILOT budget."

Standing beside Cariddi during her speech, which was taped for Northern Berkshire Community Television, was her 94-year-old father, Jimmy Cariddi. He has been an operating partner with Cariddi Sales Co. for over 70 years, and said his daughter was a hard worker from a very young age.

"She started working with me when she was 10 or 11 years old," he said.

While she's a seasoned vet in city government, Cariddi is looking forward to the new challenges of a broader role. She admitted that the biggest challenge, if elected, will be her status as a freshman rep.

"You don't have all the clout you probably deserve going down to Beacon Hill [as a new rep]," she said. "I think I'll earn their respect with my work ethic and my ability to network and communicate with my co-legislators."

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