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State Senator Finegold Seeking Treasurer Post
By Andy McKeever On: 02:36PM / Saturday April 12, 2014
State Sen. Benjamin Downing with colleague Sen. Barry Finegold, who is now seeking the treasurer's office, at a meet and greet Friday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Barry Finegold doesn't want the state's pension funds invested in fossil fuels.

Sure, he can support a bill to do that. But Finegold says he wanted to do even more with the pension system.

So he is running for treasurer.

"I want to make sure we are responsible and I want our pension funds to reflect our values. Instead of investing in companies like Exxon Mobile, we should invest in green tech and renewable companies," the Andover Democrat said on Friday, when he met with members of the Berkshire Brigades at Juice and Java on South Street.

After four years in the state Senate, Finegold is looking to fill the shoes of Treasurer Steve Grossman, who is running for governor. Finegold says through the office, he can make a bigger impact on the entire state.

"You have the ability of an office to do a lot for so many people. Whether it is financial literacy, whether it is School Building Authority, pension funds, abandoned property, Cultural Council, it is a very important position that has a lot of influence," Finegold said.

The treasurer also oversee things like the revenues from the Lottery system, which in turn get passed on to the cities and towns.

"It is a huge generator of revenue to local communities. It is a lot. Places like Pittsfield and the surrounding communities depend on local aid and the Lottery drives a lot of money back to the communities."

The treasurer chairs the School Building Authority and Finegold says he'll try to find ways to smooth the process for town's looking to build and advocate for even more funding.

"I want to have one of the most robust school building authorities in the country. The elementary school I went to is still in the same shape it was when I went there in the '70s. If we are serious about giving people 21st-century education, we have to have schools that are 21st century," he said.

He also wants to boost financial literacy across the state because "we have way too many people losing their houses to foreclosure and bankruptcy."

And Finegold believes he has the qualifications to truly make an impact on the job and do it well. He went from living in the Georgetown Housing Projects to Beacon Hill. His parents were living in the Hyde Park project when he was young and the family moved to Andover when his father took a job as a teacher at Northern Essex Community College. His mother was a special education teacher.

"My family moved out from the Georgetown Housing Projects so I tell people, I wasn't a rich kid. I wasn't a poor kid. I was truly middle class. I worked for everything I had and worked my way through college and law school," Finegold said.

From there he moved to Pennsylvania to attend Franklin & Marshall College. He returned to Massachusetts to earn his law degree at the Massachusetts School of Law.

Only a year after college, at age 29, he started a firm that has grown to employ 25 people.

In 1992, he heard former President Bill Clinton speak and it inspired him to get into politics. He was elected to the Andover Board of Selectmen. Shortly after, he was elected to the state House of Representatives. Four years ago, he was elected to the Senate. He later attended John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

"I think it is a position where you can do so much good for so many people," Finegold said of now seeking the treasurer position. "My background with the private sector and the public sector, I feel like I can do a great job."

In the Senate, Finegold spent a lot of time on environmental issues. He says he is a "big proponent of renewable energies" including solar, wind and thermal. He is currently chairing a committee seeking election reform, which he hopes will allow early voting and same-day registration.

In January, he launched his campaign for the treasurer and says he has receive a lot of support from mayors and state officials.

State Rep. Thomas Conroy is also seeking the Democratic nomination for the treasurer position. The Green Rainbow party will be putting Ian Jackson on the ballot for it.



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Green Rainbow Party Places 3 Candidates on Statewide Ballot
By Andy McKeever On: 10:11AM / Sunday April 06, 2014
Both Daniel Factor and Ian Jackson gave stump speeches at the meet and greet event.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Green Rainbow party is putting three candidates on the statewide ballot.

Last week, two of the three rallied party members at the Rainbow Restaurant, just a few weeks prior to when the campaign officially kicks off.

Attorney Daniel Factor of Acton is seeking election as the secretary of the commonwealth. Factor says he is running to spread ideas currently unheard under the current, mostly Democratic, government.

"We're at a point right now in Massachusetts where basically there is only one party running the show. But when we have conversations with people all over Massachusetts, there is a very wide diversity of views but those view don't end up being represented," he said.

Factor wants to shift the focus of elected officials and policies from catering to large corporate interests to focusing on human rights.

"I am against having a society and a commonwealth that is based on corporate greed. There are things we can do if we recognize that every person in Massachusetts has basic human dignity, respect and love."

One idea Factor poses is that the state ends foreclosures altogether by using eminent domain to take the properties from mortgage holders.

"We can take the real estate from the mortgage company and guarantee that everyone has the right to remain in their home. It is these types of ideas that people have that aren't reflected in our elected officials," Factor said.

Meanwhile, he says job creation needs to be a focus and workers need a "living wage." He calls for a creation of an "economic bill of rights" guaranteeing people have enough to live.

"One day there will be a state that eradicates poverty. I'm not talking about tolerating poverty or ameliorating it. What we need to do is talk about eradicating it," he said.

He supports a single-payer health insurance system, bans on fracking and nuclear power while moving toward more renewable energy, he opposes casinos and is calling for the creation of a "bank of the commonwealth." That bank will invest in creating more co-operative business ownership.

Daniel Factor of Acton is running for secretary of the commonwealth.

Further, from the secretary's office, he wants to change the way corporations are chartered by making any company prove they are working for the public good before earning the designation.

"Our policy has to be that people matter more than profits," Factor said.

Factor grew up in New York City before going to Northwestern University for his undergraduate degree in political science. He then went to Vermont Law School, where he earned his law degree with a focus on environmental law.

Ian Jackson, of Arlington, is hoping to win the treasurer's seat. His goal is to create a "bank of the commonwealth" focused making "investments we can be proud of."

He doesn't want the state to put their money into fossil fuels but rather invest in greener companies. He feels that won't just help with the environment but also makes "financial sense."

Jackson said he would also be pleading the case for a single-payer health care system to help save businesses and the state money. Further, he wants the state's money to be allocated in helping "the common man."

"We need people who will be for the common man and try to restore us to a commonwealth where we are trying to do for the common good," Jackson said.

The treasurer sits on the Massachusetts School Building Authority board and Jackson says he'd use that seat to help streamline the building of new schools.

Ian Jackson of Arlington is running for state treasurer.

"My town like many other towns are going through the process of building a school. I'm sure there are plenty out here in the Berkshires. Half of the schools go through the process more than once. Something is wrong with the process. I believe most school committees, when they get together are reasonable," Jackson said.

"I'm sure the superintendents have better things to do than filling out the application a second time."

He earned a business management degree from Clark University and then his master's degree from Northeastern in computer science. He currently works as a software engineer while also investing on the side.

Jackson opted to run for the seat after the Green Rainbow party helped his son. He is now lending his time in hopes to help the party.

His son, Frank, got involved with the party when he was working as a residential assistant at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

"He realized he was making less than minimum wage. When he brought that up to the administration, they wouldn't help him. Nor would the people in Boston," Jackson said. "He organized as a union with some of his fellow students and with the help of the Green Rainbow party candidates was able to get enough money so that the students could live."

M.K. Merelice is also running for auditor but she was not in attendance at the meet and greet.

The Green Rainbow party is still a small but growing sector of voters. Locally, L. Scott Laugenour, a member of the party's state committee and former Green Rainbow party candidate, says the party is growing.

When he first joined the party, only eight registered voters in Lenox were Green Rainbow. Now, there are 34 and as the warm weather comes, the party will be out there growing the membership even more.

Laugenour says people feel "disempowered" with politics and the Green Rainbow party is hoping to turn that around. He says everybody agrees that money and politics should be separate and the best way to send that message is to vote for the Green Rainbow party candidates, who do not take in corporate donations.

Having candidates on the ballot every year helps spread the word about the party as they seek to become larger players in state government.

"We like, as a party, having statewide candidates because it gives every voter in the commonwealth an opportunity to vote Green Rainbow and to think about 'hey, politics can be different,'" Laugenour said.



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Four Races on Cheshire Town Election Ballot
On: 10:45AM / Saturday March 22, 2014

CHESHIRE, Mass. — There several races on the ballot this year for the annual town election, set for Monday, May 5, at the Senior Center on School Street.

The town has two races for two seats on the Board of Selectmen this year, with three newcomers on the ballot for one of them, ensuring at least one new face on the board.

James M. Boyle of Daniels Terrace, Robert S. Ciskowski of South State Road and Karmen B. Field-Mitchell of West Mountain Road are vying for the one-year seat.

E. Richard Scholz, of Stafford Hill Road, will challenge longtime incumbent Paul F. Astorino of Meadview Drive for the three-year term.

There is also a race for the two-year term on the Board of Health between Michael J. Biagini Jr. of Richmond Street and James Geary of Meadowview Drive.

For Water Commission, Michael J. Biagini and Rick Gurney of Greylock Road will face off for a one-year term.  

Incumbents running for re-election are Moderator Edmund St. John IV, one year; Board of Health member Jeffrey B. Warner, one year; Cemetery Commissioner Neil W. Baker, three years; Water Commissioner Donald F. Rueger, three years; Planning Board member Christopher Walsh, five years; Planning Board member Daniel L. Speth, one year; and Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee, Cheshire representative Edmund St. John IV and Adams representative Regina Hill, both for three years.



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Adams Voters to Decide Three Races on 2014 Ballot
Staff Reports On: 09:49AM / Wednesday March 19, 2014

ADAMS, Mass. — The town will see several races on this year's election ballot, including for the one selectman's seat.

Incumbent Michael Ouellette will vie for a third three-year term against newcomer Jeffrey Michael Snoonian of 1 Berkshire Square.

Ouellette, of Tramway Drive, was first elected in 2008 and won a narrow victory to retain his seat in 2011.

There will be a three-way race for treasurer/collector between the town's financial assistants Paula Schrade and Town Meeting Member Kelly F. Rice, and Melissa McGovern-Wandrei, currently the appointed treasurer/collector in Clarksburg.

The incumbent, Holly Denault, is retiring in May; the winner of the election will complete the two years left of Denault's term.

Dennis A. Gajda and George J. Haddad will vie for the one three-year seat on the Board of Assessors being vacated by Lynn D. Avery.

Incumbents Joseph F. Greenbush and David M. Strzepek are running for the two three-year library trustee seats; Jill Pompi, appointed to the trustees in December, is running for the two-year seat.

Jacob N. Schutz, an incumbent, and Scott E. Cernik are running for two three-year Park Comission seats.

Incumbents also running for re-election are Moderator Edward Driscoll, one year; Planning Board member Barbara Ziemba, five years; Housing Authority member, Mark Alan Covert, five years; McCann School Committee member Daniel J. Maloney Jr., three years, and Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee member Regina A. Hill, representing Adams for three years.
 
No candidates submitted nomination papers for a five-year spot on the Redevelopment Authority or a three-year seat on the Cemetery Commission.

The election will be held Monday, May 5, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the town garage; the deadline to register to vote is April 15 by 8 p.m.



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Lt. Gov. Candidate Kerrigan Building 'Grassroots' Campaign
By Andy McKeever On: 07:16PM / Tuesday March 18, 2014
Kerrigan celebrated St. Patrick's Day in Pittsfield where iBerkshires was able to catch up with him and talk about the campaign.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lieutenant governor candidate Stephen Kerrigan is happy with his campaign's presence at caucuses across the state. But, he says, the hard work is far from over.

Kerrigan was in Pittsfield on Monday to support state Sen. Benjamin Downing, who held a kickoff event for his own campaign. Meanwhile, the Lancaster resident is one of four Democrats seeking nomination from the party for state's second-highest post.

"We did incredibly well in the caucus season. We had 80 percent of the caucuses covered across the state. We got thousands and thousands of signature. I believe we were the best organized campaign," Kerrigan said.

"It gave us an opportunity first and foremost to talk to really loyal, dedicated Democrats as possible. We went to 80 percent of these caucuses. Now it is about reaching back out to those elected delegates, making sure that they understand what we are focused on during this course of this campaign."

Heading into the Democratic State Convention in June, Kerrigan said he is building a "grassroots" campaign while still meeting with large groups to "reach as many people as possible."

"It's the hard work. It's the three yards and a cloud of dust that these type of campaigns are all about," Kerrigan said.

The former aide to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy has held many "behind the scene" roles in government including being the CEO of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Now he is hoping to step out of the shadows and into a leadership role — starting with lieutenant governor.

"Folk want to make sure that we've got a government that is as affective as possible. Everyone is focused on job creation and the biggest tools for job creation is a well-educated workforce and strong infrastructure transportationwise," Kerrigan said. "You can't get those things if we don't build a strong budget for our state, if we don't start investing in the right things."

Kerrigan has already said his first priority if elected would be to do a "complete review" of the state's assets and budget. He said he would analyze tax incentives for effectiveness. After revamping the state's finances, Kerrigan said he would then start advocating for education and transportation funding.

"People want a government that is worthy of the sacrifice that they make each and every day with their tax dollars. I want to make sure that we run a more efficient and effective government, that we continue to make Massachusetts the best and brightest place in America," he said.

He says while investing in those areas are important and cited the expansion of broadband. He said there are a number of areas where the government can step aside and let economic competitiveness lead the way.

"We want to talk about competitiveness all across Massachusetts," he said.

Kerrigan is running for the Democratic nomination against James Arena-DeRosa, whose campaign was also at Downing's kickoff, Jonathan Edwards and Mike Lake.



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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Primary
Tuesday, Sept. 9

Voting is from 7 to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation is Aug. 20; only unenrolled voters may select which primary to vote in. More information on registering can be found here.

Candidates on the ballot in a race for their party nomination; all others on the ballot are unopposed

Republican
  Governor: Charles D. Baker & Mark R. Fisher

Democratic
  Governor: Donald M. Berwick, Martha Coakley & Steven Grossman
  Lieutenant governor: Leland Cheung, Stephen J. Kerrigan & Michael E. Lake
  Attorney general: Maura Healey & Warren E. Tolman
  Treasurer: Thomas P. Conroy, Barry R. Finegold & Deborah B. Goldberg
 

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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