Staff Reports On: 07:17PM / Monday January 16, 2012
ALFORD, Mass. — Political activist and humorist Bill Shein has joined the race for the 1st Massachusetts seat.
Shein posted the announcement on his Facebook page Monday, saying "It's time to get big money out of politics, fix our broken democracy, make clear that corporations aren't people and money isn't speech ... ."
A self-described progressive Democrat, he has been involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement in South County and has outspoken against the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, which granted personhood to corporations regarding political spending.
In protest, Shein's campaign is Human People for Shein and he's not accepting donations of more than $99. No corporations; no PACs.
"We need Democrats in Congess who will tell the truth about the insidious role of money in politics and do something about it," he writes on his website, www.billshein.com, calling for public funding of elections.
Shein was raised in New York City and moved to the Berkshires a decade ago. His op-ed column, "Reason Gone Mad," has won three National Press Club Award for Humor and appears in The Berkshire Eagle. He's never run for office but did work on Paul Simon's presidential campaign in 1988 and for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee after graduating from Tufts University in 1990.
He wrote jokes for Al Franken on Comedy Central's "InDecision '92" and "ran for president" as faux candidate Will Markson in 2004. He also occasionally contributes to Red Crow News when he's not raising ducks.
On his site, Shein said he's running for the Democratic nomination on campaign reform, including banning contributions from lobbyists; a fair and progressive tax code; economic development that promotes local enterprises; a national health-care program; quality education; addressing climate change and promotoing a foreign policy based on diplomacy not violence..
Also running for the Democratic nomination is Middle Berkshire Register of Deeds Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, whose Springfield district is being consolidated next year into the 1st Mass. No Republican has so far announced for the seat. U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, who currently represents the 1st District, is retiring.
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