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Bosley Calls for Expanded Use of County Communications
By: By Bosley Campaign On: 12:03PM / Monday August 23, 2010

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Daniel E. Bosley, candidate for Berkshire County Sheriff, called for expanded use of the county's communications system to enhance the safety of seniors.

“I believe that we can create a new program that calls for us to check on seniors who live alone or are in remote areas in the county,” he said.

Bosley explained that the sheriff operates the County Communication Center for most of the towns in Berkshire County. The sheriff also is a member of the Triad Safety Program, which was created for enhanced safety for senior citizens.

“It makes sense for the sheriff to reach out to ensure the safety of at-risk seniors. Our communications center does a great job and I feel that we can check on our seniors to ensure their well-being without an increase of cost to the center.”

Bosley explained that Franklin County had, until recently, several deputy sheriffs who would travel around their county checking on seniors in small towns. He said that the rural nature of Franklin County necessitated this approach. However, recent budget cuts ended this program.

“In Berkshire County, our communications center can use reverse calling to reach out to seniors that would sign up for a phone call each month or at a determined time. This would save us the cost of a more expensive outreach like Franklin County, but would ensure that every senior would be connected to someone who could check on their safety and well being.”

Bosley said that the sheriff’s roles in both Triad and County Communications make the sheriff’s department the logical contact point to conduct this program.  If there is a problem, the call center is the place where an emergency call would come for most towns. “This is a low-cost way to ensure that our seniors are safer and are able to get help if they need it," he said.

Bosley also said that working with these agencies would allow the center to give information to seniors each month as well. “Each message could be a health or safety tip, or could contain information that is vital to the well-being of our seniors,” he said.

Bosley commented that his experience in dealing with such agencies as Elder Services would help to coordinate efforts with social and human service agencies and the call center, ensuring the well-being of senior citizens.



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Mass. Voter Deadline; Vermont Primary
By: Staff Reports On: 10:49AM / Monday August 23, 2010

Massachusetts voters have until Wednesday, Aug. 25, to register to vote in the Sept. 14 primary. Most town and city clerks will be open late Wednesday to accommodate voter registration; check with your town or city hall to confirm times.

Berkshire County will be selecting from a range of state offices on Sept. 14, including state representatives in the 1st and 2nd districts and sheriff on Sept. 14, to determine the Republican and Democratic candidates for the November election.

Vermont's holding its primary elections earler than usual: voting is tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 24, with the main event the selection of a Democratic candidate for governor in the general election.

On the Democratic ballot are state Sen. Susan Bartlett of Hyde Park; six-term Secretary of State Deb Markowitz of Montpelier; state Sen. Douglas Racine of Richmond, a former lieutenant governor; state Sen. Peter Shumlin of Putney, current president pro tem of the Senate; and Google executive and former legislator Matt Dunne of Hartland.

The winner will face the Republican candidate, current Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, and Progressive candidate Martha Abbott and independents Cris Ericson, Dan Feliciano, Ben Mitchell, Em Peyton and Dennis Steele on Nov. 2.

Polls open in Pownal at 7 a.m. at the Pownal Center firehouse; in Readsboro at 10 a.m. in the school gym; and in Stamford at 10 a.m. in the school gym. All polls close at 7 p.m. For other polling locations and opening times, click here.



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Local Radio Hosts State Rep Forums
By: Staff Reports On: 02:47PM / Friday August 20, 2010

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Vox Radio is teaming with veteran journalists Clarence Fanto and Dan Valenti to present three live radio forums involving candidates for the two state representative seats in contention on Sept. 14, primary day.

Valenti, a broadcaster and writer, will moderate the events. Fanto will serve on the panel with Vox news director Larry Kratka, who is hosting. Fanto is a freelance writer and columnist for the Berkshire Eagle. He is the Eagle’s former managing editor.

The forum schedule is as follows:

    • Aug. 31, 11 to noon, from WBEC studios, 1420-AM, 2nd Berkshire District Democrats Thomas Szczepaniak of Dalton, Paul Mark of Hancock and Noreen Suriner of Middlefield.
     • Sept. 1, 11 to noon, also from WBEC, 2nd Berkshire District Republican candidates Michael Case of Washington and Rosanne Frieri of Richmond.
     • Sept. 2, 9  to 10 a.m., from WNAW studios in North Adams, 1230-AM, 1st Berkshire District Democrats David Bissaillon of Adams, Gailanne Cariddi of North Adams and Edward McDonald of Adams.

The format will allow for candidates to engage in dialogue and argumentation with each other in addition to responding to questions from the panel.

Candidates will not be allowed to have notes. There will be no timed answers. Valenti said the format, which he devised with Fanto and Kratka, is designed to feature maximum interaction between and among candidates as well as testing their ability to think "on the fly."



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1st District Candidates Discuss Jobs, Experience
By: By Tammy Daniels On: 12:52AM / Wednesday August 18, 2010

Anne Skinner, left, moderated the League of Women Voters debate between the candidates for 1st Berkshire District.

 NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The three candidates for the 1st Berkshire District fielded questions on jobs, school funding and environmental concerns for an hour on Tuesday night in the muggy confines of the Church Street Center.

David Bissaillon of Adams, Gailanne Cariddi of North Adams and Edward MacDonald of Adams, all Democrats, are seeking to replace outgoing Rep. Daniel E. Bosley in the State House. Each stressed his or her background in government and business and how that would translate into the best representative for the 12-town district in the far northwest corner of the state.

The forum was sponsored by the Williamstown League of Women Voters and moderated by league President Anne Skinner, who posed questions from the league. This was the second time the three candidates have met in a public forum and comes just a month before the Sept. 14 primary that will essentially determine the winner.

The main focus was on jobs, not surprising considering the current economy. Bissaillon, a former president of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, said the main thing he'd been hearing over the months has been concerns about employment.

"Business owners want a state government that supports small business, both new and existing, and a government that allows all businesses an opportunity to provide jobs for others," he said, suggesting the Berkshires had to do it the "old-fashioned way" by helping many small businesses grow a little rather than expecting another GE or Sprague to boost the economy. "If we can help 25 companies grow two jobs, that's like creating a mid-sized company."

Bissaillon was president of the Chamber of Commerce.

Bissaillon said he would champion ways to increase energy efficiencies, develop green jobs and other new industries, and collaborations between Berkshire Community College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to prepare a better-educated work force for the needs of the area's more technology-driven companies.

Cariddi, a North Adams city councilor who runs a family business, said she's already been working on such matchups between educational institutions and business as a member of the Berkshire Regional Employment Board. She would work on legislation to support innovation and entrepreneurs and would lobby for seats on committees important to the area.

"I've been saying for months that we need to need to have a seat on the Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Committee," said Cariddi, so that the Berkshires will have a voice in one of its more important economic drivers. She would also try for the seat on the Natural Resources and Agricultural Committee currently held by outgoing Rep. Denis E. Guyer of Dalton, to ensure Berkshire farmers were represented. "We need to bring our collective wisdom back to Boston."

MacDonald, the town administrator for Chester and a former Adams selectman, said, "Our priorities right now is small industry, [small-business] jobs because that generates 40 percent of the gross revenue in Massachusetts."

Cariddi is a longtime city councilor recognized for her environmental advocacy.

He said he would support a state bank that would back higher-risk loans to help business move forward, incubator programs, and allow small business to spread their losses over three years according to the federal model. MacDonald said representatives have to be more aware of how legislation affects all sectors of the economy, for example the recently passed measure that allows small businesses to team up for better health insurance rates. While good for them, it's being paid for by mid-sized and larger companies.

He pointed to his experience working on legislative issues in both Boston and Albany, N.Y. "I know who's there; I know how to get things done."

In how the area's natural resources play into development, Cariddi, long a supporter of green and environmental initiatives, said "commonsense standards are needed."

MacDonald said town boards working together under the state's permitting laws can aid in development while protecting resources. 

"I think there always remains a healthy tension between the economic concerns and development concerns," said Bissaillon. "It wouldn't be the Berkshires if we didn't have those ongoing discussions."

With gaming on the horizon, all three said they would fight for the interests of the county should a casino be built in Palmer. Cariddi said she would prefer it not be a self-contained facility such as in Connecticut but a gaming center that wouldn't compete with local venues.

"I don't think it will be a big moneymaker for the state but I think the community should be allowed to vote because it is going to tremendously impact them," she said, adding surrounding communities should also have a voice.

MacDonald said the expected $300 million to $400 million in revenue would help reduce next year's $1.2 billion deficit in the state budget. "It enhances the state to be competitive; what casino gambling does is give us money for education, to take care of seniors." A third of that money should go to back to the cities and towns, and another third to education, he said.

Bissaillon said he'd heard for years that $500 million to $1 billion in revenue was leaving the state for Connecticut casinos. "Casino gambling is coming to Massachusetts," he said. "What I will do is make sure we protect our interests as much as possible as it relates to the 1st District."

All three also agreed that the state needed to step up its commitment to regional school transportation and, in response to questions from Skinner, said they supported abortion rights and the Transgender Civil Rights bill in the Legislatures. Bissaillon and Cariddi said they were against the death penalty; MacDonald said that while he did not believe it prevented crime, he would support in cases of murder of a public servant or particularly heinous crime.

MacDonald has worked in state and local government.

The candidates expressed their hopes for votes on Sept. 14 and each stated their preparation for the job.

"They need to hear people with real-life experience because small business is the economic driver of our economy," said Cariddi. She noted her 20 years as councilor, and participation on numerous boards and commission. "I have been a responsible and trusted voice for over 20 years and I will be that voice in Boston."

"When necessary, I will get up my Irish dander, that I inherited from my mother and fight like hell for what we need. Fight to make sure those in Boston do not ignore us here in the 1st Berkshire District," said Bissaillon, a vice president of Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins Insurance Agency with a long history of community volunteerism. "I am the right choice at the right time."

MacDonald, whose loss against Bosley in 1988 for the post spurred him on to college and graduate school, said he had the experience for the Legislature.

"I know how government works because I do it every day. I will be your voice," he said. "And I will work hard every day. No one will work harder than me."

The debate was shown on Northern Berkshire Community Television; it will be repeated later this week and on WilliNet. We'll update with times when we get them.



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Decreased School Aid Unacceptable to Bissaillon
By: Bissaillon Campaign On: 10:57AM / Tuesday August 17, 2010

ADAMS, Mass. — While recognizing the difficult financial times the state is working through, 1st Berkshire District state representative candidate Dave Bissaillon said it is not acceptable to him that cities and towns were forced to deal with a 4 percent decrease in Chapter 70 aid for district schools.

Bissaillon also said he would not support a budget that decreases aid to schools until the formula used to determine aid amounts is reevaluated.

"Ensuring that every child in Massachusetts is entitled to a challenging and invigorating public education should not have to be a rallying point for political action," Bissaillon said. "Through funding and various requirements it sets, the state has taken on a role in the education of our
children, and needs to live up to that responsibility."

Bissaillon pointed out that in the First Berkshire District, where employment opportunities are fewer, it is even more critical that all children obtain an education that fully prepares them for career options, today and for the future, in which change is constant.

"Shortchanging education, even in difficult times, cannot be an option in a state that has always prided itself on providing the best public education for its residents," he said. "I will not support a state budget that does not provide the necessary education dollars for our region."

Insufficient funding forces communities to lay off teachers and cut programs, or increase taxes and decrease municipal services. This should not be the choice that voters, school districts and municipalities face, Bissaillon said. The state has imposed a number of new requirements on schools in recent years and is obligated to provide schools the resources to meet and exceed those obligations.

Even without the 4 percent across-the-board cut, school funding is problematic. The formula used to calculate Chapter 70 aid from the state has not been adequately adjusted to reflect the actual costs of education today, Bissaillon said. Chapter 70 is the law intended to assure fair and adequate minimum per student funding for public schools. With the exception of inflation adjustments, the factors used to determine what the state calls the foundation budget have remained stagnant since 1993.

"As your state representative, I would support a formal re-evaluation of the foundation budget levels," Bissaillon pledged. "Until that review is completed, I will never support a budget that decreases aid to any of our public schools. It is time for elected officials to start making tough decisions so that our local communities don't have to. Our children deserve that, at the very least."

For more information about Bissaillon, visit www.bissaillon.com, call 413-672-2460 or e-mail dave@bissaillon.com.



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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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