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Markey, Democratic Leaders Rally For U.S. Senate Race

By: Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
U.S. Rep. Edward Markey rallied voters in Pittsfield on Friday with local and state Democratic leaders including his House colleague, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Despite leading in the polls before the special election for the U.S. Senate, Democratic candidate Edward Markey isn't coasting the final four days because "overconfidence breeds complacency and complacency breeds disaster."

He is on a tight schedule through Tuesday that took him Friday to the Berkshire Brigades' offices, where he was joined by Gov. Deval Patrick, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and a large group of Democratic leaders and elected officials.

"I don't feel confident. You can't feel that way. It's like asking the Bruins 'are you going to win the Stanley Cup?' they don't know," Markey said before entering a full room of supporters. "You have to keep at a high level of intensity just so you maximize the result on election night. Then you can celebrate. Then you can relax."

The congressman from Malden is running for the seat vacated by John Kerry, who accepted appointment as U.S. secretary of state. Being a special election and held on an atypical election schedule, voter turnout is expected to be the biggest concern for Democrats.

"For the final four days it is all about getting out the vote," Markey said. "I want to win out here. I am trying to get up the enthusiasm, get the troops out there and make sure that people get out and vote Tuesday."

Auditor Suzanne Bump of Great Barrington said Democrats are not competing with the Republicans but rather "apathy."

She said the decision of who to vote for is easy because Markey has "already demonstrated his values." But Democrats need to "take it to the streets" in order to win the election, she said.

"This is not a leap of faith when we cast this vote. This is a vote of confidence," Bump said. Republican competitor Gabriel Gomez of Cohasset has been positioning himself as a fresh face and has criticized Markey for being a career politician. Markey was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1974.

But all of the speakers rallied behind representative's 38-year record in expanding broadband access, support for social programs and protecting the environment.

"New isn't always better. Being better is better," Patrick said. "Being right on the issues is better. Seeing us all, not just the mighty but the meek is better. Voting right on the issues, that's better. Caring about lifting the commonweath and the country up, that's better. Putting national interest before party or partisan interest, that's better."

Patrick received roaring applause from the crowd of about 150 people sporting in Markey campaign stickers. He said Markey knows what it takes to give the opportunity for the American dream.

"The American dream requires personal responsibility, grit, determination and resilience — all the things we often hear our conservative friends talk about — self-reliance. They're right," Patrick said. "But the American dream also requires a good education. It also requires affordable health care and a safe neighborhood.

"It also requires a clean environment and true and equal opportunity. All of those things make the American dream possible and we fight for good government because good government makes those things possible."

Gov. Deval Patrick said Markey voted the right way on the issues.

Markey said building the American dream means to look to the future, as he has done in the past when he has "sided with companies that did not exist yet." He is supportive of furthering technology and making Massachusetts the "biotech capital of the world."

"This race is about the future and we have to make sure we protect and advance it," Markey said.

Neal, who has worked with Markey the longest and would be come the dean of the congressional delegation if Markey wins, said his colleague has always been looking toward the future.

"Those of us who are his peers, know how good he is," Neal said. "He is kind, he is decent and he is a great legislator."

Also speaking were state Reps. Paul Mark and Tricia Farley-Bouvier, state Sen. Benjamin Downing and Mayor Daniel Bianchi. The office was filled with elected officials — including North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, District Attorney David Capeless, City Council President Kevin Sherman and Register of Deeds Patsy Harris — and local Democratic leaders.

"We need to be with Ed Markey because time after time, Ed Markey has been with us," Patrick said.

The special Senate election is Tuesday, June 25, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Also on the ballot is Twelve Visions Party canddiate Richard A. Heos.

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Mayor Alcombright Seeking Third Term

By John Durkan
iBerkshires Staff
Mayor Richard Alcombright discussed his plans, challenges and accomplishments at his home on Friday afternoon.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mayor Richard Alcombright will run for a third term.
 
"I think I've been blessed to be in this position as mayor of the city for the past three and a half years and I certainly want to continue," Alcombright said, during an announcement at his home on Friday. "I found out that the pace is frantic at times, most times, and the challenges are many, but at the end of the day, besides being a parent, I think being mayor has been the most rewarding thing I've ever done."
 
The mayor discussed his challenges and successes of the first two terms before laying out  his plans for the next two years.
 
The biggest challenges, he said, are the fiscal ones, specifically balancing the budget. He said the city not where he wants it to be financially.
 
However, the mayor boasted dropping the budget deficit from $2.6 million to $306,000 and controlling the budget year-to-year, currently only .6 percent higher than the fiscal 2012 budget.
 
Alcombright said another challenge is infrastructure, which shows its worst during harsh weather like last week's flash flooding. Alcombright is calling for more capital projects, including complying American with Disabilities Act at public buildings, public safety and sewer maintenance.
 
The mayor said Conte Middle School was the most recent accomplishment, citing the school committee's work with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to receive the $29.7 million borrowing order to renovate the building. He also credited the citizens who organized the petition for a vote, which passed the project narrowly. Alcombright hopes as the project continues the opposition will warm up to the school.
 
"It won marginally, but it still won," the mayor said. "I guess my biggest hope now that as the project progresses that we make believers out of many people who maybe had some concerns or didn't think it was the right thing. I hope seeing is believing on that project."
 
Alcombright also said he's proud of how 27 businesses — ranging from Bark N' Cat, the small Holden Street pet store, to the new Walmart Supercenter — have opened up in the past three and a half years.
 
The mayor said he hopes to privatizate Western Gateway Heritage State Park, to continue working on renovations to the Mohawk Theater and working on the master plan, which is set to release at the end of the year or beginning of next year and a part-time planner will be hired this summer to help move the project along.
 
In addition, Alcombright stressed his positive relationships with other local leaders, the county's legislators and Boston. He said he speaks with Adams Town Manager Jonathan Butler on a regular basis, specifically on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail extension and the scenic railway.
 
"[Those projects] are going to create significant economic impact," Alcombright said.
 
Alcombright won his first election in 2009 after defeating 13-term Mayor John Barrett III and then won re-election in 2011 against then City Councilor President Ronald Boucher.
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Senate Hopeful Gomez Stresses Security at Lenco Armored

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

Gomez addressing dozens of supporters at Lenco in Pittsfield.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. —  With a backdrop of Lenco-made armored vehicles, U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez make the case Tuesday that he is a stronger voice for homeland security than his opponent.

The Cohasset Republican is campaigning for the special election to replace the seat vacated by John Kerry. He is up against Democrat Edward Markey, a U.S. House member representing the 5th Massachusetts District.

Gomez held a rally Tuesday at Lenco and cited reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and two resolutions honoring the victims of 9/11 as bills he supports and that Markey had opposed.

Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, believes he is the better candidate to make decisions regarding homeland security.

"We live in a dangerous world, which we were reminded of five weeks ago. We need someone who will be strong on national security. My opponent could not be any weaker on national security."

Gomez ran the Boston Marathon, finishing just shortly before the bombs went off. He recalled the "amazing" scene of first responders rushing in to help and then a few days later when police shut down the city to find and capture Dzokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of being one of the bombers.

That day was a "reminder" of how increasingly dangerous the world is now, he said.

"We've got to make sure not only our troops but our law enforcement and emergency responders are safe. And it is because of this company right here that they are," Gomez said standing in front of a newly built armored BearCat, the  the same type used by many law enforcement agencies in Tsarnaev's capture .

Following Tsarnaev's arrest, Gomez said it was provisions in the Patriot Act that should have been followed. Gomez says instead of being held as a suspect, Tsarnaev, an American citizen, should have been held as an enemy combatant.

"He should not have been read his Miranda rights. We still don't know where he trained, who he trained, what he was trained in and how he trained and potential other threats that are out there that we could be facing," Gomez said. "It is within our right to hold someone as an enemy combatant."

Markey voted against reauthorizing the Patriot Act, whereas Gomez believes it provides law enforcement needed tools. Markey, a 37-year House veteran, voted twice against resolutions to honor victims of the 9/11 attacks, which Gomez said was "unconscionable." Markey said he voted against them because it linked the attacks to Iraq and referenced the Patriot Act. But Gomez calls that a partisan choice and not one for the people.

"One of the main difference between me and Congressman Markey is that he will put party and politics above everything else. I will always put the people ahead of party and politics," said Gomez, a newcomer to politics.

Markey also voted against the formation of the Department of Homeland Security saying it took away collective bargaining rights of some federal workers.

While Gomez mostly focused on homeland security Tuesday, he addressed an array of issues while answering questions from the dozens there.

Mostly, Gomez painted a moderate position, saying he supports background checks for gun purchases and that he supports the idea of the Affordable Health Care Act but would repeal many parts of it.

"When I go down to D.C. I will look at every bill that is front of me and the first question I will ask is, does it follow my fiscal conservative beliefs?' And then second, is this important, is it right for the people of Massachusetts?" Gomez said, striking a similar tone to former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, to whom Gomez has been compared. "It shouldn't matter who gets the credit as long as it is the right thing to do."

Those positions were also coupled with his belief in decreasing the corporate tax, support for defense spending and proposing an "adult discussion on entitlements."

He calls for increasing the retirement age and implementing means testing for Medicaid and Medicare.

"I'm a Navy guy. I am a father. I am a husband. I am an American. I am with the Republican Party and have been all my life. But I am not tied to an ideological position," he said of his stance on issues. 

The statewide election will be held on June 25, leaving the campaigns just short of five weeks to rally their respective supporters.  

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State Democratic Chairman Rallies Berkshire Voters

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

State Democratic Committee Chairman John Walsh rallied Berkshire Democrats on Sunday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — John Walsh delivered a dose of adrenaline to Berkshire Democrats on Sunday as the party ramps up campaigning for Edward Markey.

The chairman of the state Democratic Committee was the main speaker at a ceremony opening the regional Democratic office on North Street. Walsh was joined by state Rep. Paul Mark and state Sen. Benjamin Downing in giving rally speeches.

Walsh asked local Democratic leaders to forget about their other responsibilities for the next month and focus on the campaign because the U.S. Senate seat, he said, is too important to lose.

"I don't want a United States senator voting in my name against an assault weapons ban, against a women's right to choose, against Social Security. I want Ed Markey and I know with Ed Markey that I can trust him because he's done this for us. He's a national leader," Walsh said to loud cheers from dozens gather at the new office.

"We're never going to replace the glory days we had with Ted Kennedy and John Kerry as the stalwarts of the United State Senate. But, I'll tell you, with Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, that's pretty good."

Markey is going up against Republican Gabriel Gomez in a special election on June 25 to fill the seat vacated by Kerry, who resigned to become secretary of state. Voter turnout is going to be key, Walsh said, because many people will forget about election day.

"I know it is a bad time. I know it is a challenging time of the year. Your friends, who you can count on, will forget this," Walsh said.

He encouraged Democrats to do everything they can in the next month to spread the word and remind people to vote. He called for campaign leaders to have "face to face" conversations with voters, knock on doors and make phone calls because Democrats can't afford to again lose a Senate seat.

"Are we going to send somebody to Washington who will support President Obama's agenda or are we going to send someone who will become a national figure in opposition?" Walsh said. "We spent a year and a half making sure that we finally sent a strong woman to the United States Senate in Elizabeth Warren and it is about time."

Warren's vote would be countered by Gomez, he said, recalling how Democrats lost the last special U.S. Senate election in 2010 when Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley. The party doesn't want that to happen again.

"The first thing is to remember how you felt the morning after the last United States Senate special election. Remember that feeling. Now, remember how you felt on election night last November. Remember how you felt when the networks called for Elizabeth Warren. Remember those two feelings," Downing said.

The opening of the regional North Street office, a partnership with Berkshire Brigades, is an indicator of the importance of the coming elections to the Democratic Party even in deep-blue Western Mass., where Warren picked up 70 percent of the vote.

"We could sit idly by as Republicans in Washington try to spin small mistakes into big scandals, try to spin huge coverups out of nothing. We can sit idly by and we can can get one of those results. Or we can do what we do best as Democrats," said Downing. "We can go door to door. We can talk to our friends. We can talk to our family members. We can talk to our neighbors. We can talk to our fellow employees in the business place. We can talk to everyone we know about why we need Ed Markey to be our United States senator and we could have that exact same feeling that we had in November."

Brown's election was seen as an affirmation of the tea party movement and led to many Democrats being ousted from seats, Mark said.

"We're not going to let that happen. We're not even going to let Gabriel Gomez get within 5 percent. We're going to put him away because we're not going to have him drafted for governor. We going to make sure we win this year; we are going to make sure we win next year," Mark said.

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Senate Candidate Gomez to Visit Pittsfield

Letters to the Editor

What are you doing next Tuesday? Do you have time to do something for your country? Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, needs your support in his bid to become our next U.S. senator. Please join me in welcoming Gomez back to the Berkshires on Tuesday, May 21, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. at Lenco Armored Vehicles, 10 Betnr Industrial Drive in Pittsfield.

The stakes are high and the choice is clear in the special U.S. Senate election scheduled for June 25. Gabriel Gomez is a political newcomer, a family man, and a first-generation American who believes in the American Dream. His opponent, Congressmen Ed Markey, is a career politician who has sided with flag burners and job killers over a 40-year career marked by bounced checks and broken promises.

Now is the time to take a stand. Please join me in welcoming Gabriel Gomez back to the Berkshires on Tuesday, May 21 from 2:30 to 3:45 PM at Lenco Armored Vehicles, 10 Betnr Industrial Drive in Pittsfield. It’s time to take our country back from the career politicians. Come meet Gabriel for yourself and see the difference that a true leader can make.

Steven Melito
Adams, Mass.
May 14, 2013

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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Election
Tuesday, Nov. 4

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation was Oct.15.


Candidates on the ballot in races for state office; all others on the ballot are unopposed. Links will take you to their campaign websites.

U.S. Senator
Edward J. Markey, Democrat
Brian J. Herr, Republican

Governor/Lieutenant Governor
Charlie Baker & Karyn Polito, Republican
Martha Coakley & Stephen Kerrigan, Democrat
Evan Falchuk & Angus Jennings, United Independent Party
Scott Lively & Shelly Saunders, Independent
Jeff McCormick & Tracy Post, Independent 

Attorney General
Maura Healey, Democratic
John B. Miller, Republican

Secretary of State
William Francis Galvin, Democratic
David D'Arcangelo, Republican
Daniel L. Factor, Green-Rainbow

Treasurer
Deborah B. Goldberg, Democratic
Michael James Heffernan, Republican
Ian T. Jackson, Green-Rainbow

Auditor
Suzanne M. Bump, Democratic
Patricia S. Saint Aubin, Republican
MK Merelice, Green-Rainbow

Municipal Elections

The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015

You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.

2010 Special Senate Election Results

Election 2009 Stories

Election Day 2008

 

 

 



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