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Brigades Hosting Gubernatorial Candidate Berwick
On: 01:24PM / Monday April 08, 2013
Dr. Donald Berwick

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Brigades are hosting a reception for Dr. Donald M. Berwick, Democratic candidate for governor, at the new office on the second floor of 55 North St.

Berwick, 66, is a pediatrician with a long career in health-care administration. President Obama made him administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in a recess appointment in 2010 but he left less than a year later in face of Republican opposition.

He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and a former president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement. A New York City native, he attended high school Connecticut and received his master of public policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He completed his residency at Children's Hospital, where he remains on the adjunct staff. He is a professor at both Harvard's Medical School and School of Public Health and has written extensively on health care policy, technology and quality.

The gubernatorial election is in 2014; Gov. Deval Patrick is not running for re-election and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray has indicated he will not run for the post either. Treasurer Stephen Grossman, who appeared at the Brigades' annual dinner last month, is expected to announce his interest in the race later this year.

The Berkshire Brigades is the Democratic organizing group in Berkshire County.



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Senate Candidate Lynch Meets With Unions, Voters in Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever On: 12:56PM / Saturday April 06, 2013

U.S. Senate candidate Stephen Lynch poses with supporters at Dottie's Coffee Shop on Saturday morning.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Firefighters Association wants Stephen F. Lynch to be the first card-carrying union member on the U.S. Senate floor. 

The union leaders greeted Lynch at Dottie's Coffee Shop on Saturday morning to show their support for his Senate bid. The 8th Mass District representative is vying for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Secretary of State John Kerry.
 
"Congressman Lynch is a working man. He came from labor, he was a steelworker for 18 years and he understands the problems of the middle and working class," President Tim Bartini of International Association of Firefighters Local 2647 said. "He understands the issues we have."
 
Local labor officials made up the majority of the crowd at Dottie's, giving Lynch a chance to express his views to the strong local organizations. The local electrical union, IBEW Local 2324, and General Electric retirees, IUE Local 254/255, were on hand.
 
"Technically, we don't take a stand on the primary so our executive board hasn't taken an official vote," said International Union of Electrical Workers Local 254/255 President Peter Menard. "But we stay active and we got an email saying he would be here so I came to meet him."
 
The underdog candidate in the Democratic primary (set April 30) has made a recent splash in the race by reeling in more than 40 union endorsements. 
 
"I know what it is like to work hard. I know what it is like to work from week to week. I know what it is like to stand in unemployment lines," Lynch said of the support he's gained. "I've got a lot of the work ethic that you see out here in the Berkshires."
 
Lynch is running on a platform calling for tax reform to close corporate loopholes, incentivize companies to stay in the country and ending what he sees is unneeded spending.
 
"We've also built in, over time, incentives for companies to move their business off shore. Those are incentives the legislature has put in over the years into the tax code that is serving to export jobs," Lynch said. "There may have been a day in this country where we could afford to do that but that day has since passed."
 
Lynch said there are programs that Department of Defense leaders and the president have said are unneeded but they continue with support from congressmen in those districts only because they are putting people to work.
 
"You've got programs that are not needed that are being pushed for the purpose of creating jobs," said the South Boston native. "We've got to be smarter. I'd rather have our defense workers working on something we actually need than projects we don't."
 
Health insurance has also become a talking point for Lynch, who says medical manufacturer in his district is looking to expand into Ireland because the federal Affordable Care Act has loaded on too many taxes. The country is "fumbling away" an industry that is "perfect for Massachusetts," said Lynch, who broke with Democrats to vote against the act.
 
Lynch is calling for reform of the ACA because he says more and more companies will be trying to sidestep those taxes. Additionally, he believes billions could be saved with reform to federal employee health insurance benefits. 
 
"Some of the federal employee health benefits are not only ripping off the employees but also ripping off the taxpayer because we don't have a competitive system," Lynch said. "I think we could save billions of dollars on our employee health."
 
But Lynch's overall message is that corporations have become too big and powerful that "regular folks" don't stand a chance. Banks are getting larger and larger and telecommunications and media are becoming more and more consolidated.
 
With the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, basically recognizing organizations have free speech rights, corporate interests have a much bigger play in Washington, Lynch said.
 
"We're not being treated fairly. They are using the public airwaves, the public spectrum and we're being ripped off in the process and that is because of the power of money in Washington," he said.
 
And with that, there has been the cultivation of a negative attitude toward unions.
 
"We've become a pariah. I don't get it. I don't understand that. These unions, all they are trying to do is to give workers a voice in the work place," Lynch said. "These companies are getting so big and so powerful that you don't have a prayer in negotiating with your employer unless you've got the opportunity for collective bargaining."
 
Lynch is a third-generation union man who believes that health care, wages and pensions negotiated by unions "sets the bar for non-union workers." He reminds voters that the eight-hour work day and 40-hour work week exist because of unions.
 
The middle class has been whittled away over the 15 years, he said, and where once a CEO made 60 percent more than the average worker, that has grown to 600 percent while wages have generally stayed flat.
 
"We are having a trend in this country of having a class of haves and have-nots. There are a whole lot of people in the have-not department," Lynch said, who says "a lot of the blessing in my life" came because his parents were union workers.
 
But despite reeling in so much union support, Lynch is still considered the underdog candidate. The congressional delegation's dean, U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey of Malden, wrapped up key Democratic endorsements on entering the race, including union backing from SEIU and the powerful Masachusetts Teachers Association, and, says Lynch, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.
 
"The intent was clearly to clear the field for one candidate. They had chosen our next senator. Everybody dropped out, except for me," Lynch said. "If they are going to be success in picking out our next U.S. senator, then they are going to do it all the time."
 
With the Democratic backing for Markey, Lynch is distinguishing himself as an outsider to his own party.
 
"I know I am fighting an uphill battle, folks have called this a 'Braveheart' campaign. But given the challenges we have in Washington, I can honestly say the most important relationship in Washington is with the people who sent me there," he said. "I don't work for Nancy Pelosi, I won't work for Harry Reid. I work for the people who sent me there and sometimes that gets me in trouble. If I read a bill and I think it is bad, I vote against it. That puts me at odds with people in my party sometimes but, damn it, I don't represent the Democratic Party in Washington. I represent these people here."
 
Lynch says he won't be able to "outspend" Markey but he "will out work him."


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Four Candidates Eyeing 2 Adams Selectmen Seats
By Andy McKeever On: 09:21PM / Tuesday March 19, 2013

ADAMS, Mass. — Four candidates will be vying for two vacant seats on the Board of Selectmen.

Nomination papers were due Monday and Richard Blanchard, Joseph Nowak, Donald Sommer and Michael Young have all returned papers to be on the ballot. They have until April 3 to withdraw their nominations.

That's one short of last year, in which five candidates tried for two seats. The race also ensures new faces on the board — albeit Sommer has served before.

The two three-year seats available are those that had been held by Paula Melville and Scott Nichols. Melville resigned from the board last year and Nichols has opted not to run for re-election.

Nichols instead will be running for moderator against Edward Driscoll, another former selectman. Both are looking to fill the seat left vacant by Joseph Dean Jr., who died in December.

The one-year seat left open by the resignation of former Chairman Richard Frost on the Board of Health will also see competition with two candidates. Glen DeMarsico and Allen Mendel are both vying for it.

A three-year Board of Health seat held by Roy Thompson is also up for election but Thompson will run unopposed.

Three people will by vying for one three-year assessor seat. Dennis Gajda, Lorraine Kalisz and Susan Rowe have all returned papers to run.

There are a number of unopposed elections as well; Holly Denault for treasurer; Karen Kettles for library trustee, Martha Stohlmann for Planning Board; Lawrence Clairmont for cemetery commissioner; Elizabeth Buskey for Redevelopment Authority; and Joseph Allard for McCann School Committee (Northern Berkshire Vocational School District). Paul Butler and Joshua Ryan DeMarsico-Birkland are running unopposed for two seats on the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District Committee.

A three-year library trustees, a five-year Housing Authority seat and a one-year Redevelopment Authority seat have no candidates.

The town election is Tuesday, May 6.



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Adams Selectman Nichols Opts Out Of Re-election Bid
By Andy McKeever On: 02:43PM / Friday March 01, 2013

Nichols served two nonconsectutive terms on the Board of Selectmen, in 2003 and 2010.

ADAMS, Mass. — Selectman Scott Nichols will not be seeking re-election.

The sports director at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts announced Friday that he would not run in the upcoming election.

 "After a great deal of thought I have determined due to my personal and professional commitments, I cannot devote the time to the office that the people of Adams deserve," Nichols said in a statement on Friday.

His departure means there will be no incumbents in the election. His seat and the seat of Paula Melville, who resigned from the board, will be on the ballot.

Both Nichols and Melville were elected in 2010, the second part of a massive turnaround on the board. In 2009, two incumbents were ousted by newcomers and Nichols and Melville continued that trend a year later — beating then Chairman Donald Sommer.

This is also the second time Nichols has left after one term. He also decided not to seek re-election in 2006, only to return in 2010.

"I believe there are other potential candidates that may want to run for office and I wanted to give enough notice so they have time to submit their paperwork," Nichols said in a statement Friday. "I want to thank everyone who supported me and wish the board the best of luck in the future."

Nomination papers are due in the town clerk's office by Monday, March 18, and so far Richard Blanchard and Joe Nowak have returned papers and are qualified to be on the ballot. Blanchard has run unsuccessfully twice before; Nowak is on the chairman of the Agricultural Committee and a member of the Conservation Commission.

Michael Young and Glendon Diehl also took out papers but have yet to turn them in. Last year also saw heavy interest for the position with five candidates vying for two seats.



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Pro-Choice Group Endorses Markey in Senate Primary
Submitted Statement On: 02:28PM / Thursday February 28, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, announced on Thursday that the organization's political action committee endorsed U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Malden, in the special primary election for Massachusetts' open seat in the U.S. Senate.

"I am proud to have NARAL Pro-Choice America endorse my candidacy," said Markey. "I strongly support a woman's right to choose and believe women should have access to the full range of reproductive health care choices. With reproductive rights under constant attack, women across the country and in Massachusetts need a champion on these issues in the Senate. I've spent three decades fighting for women's freedom of choice, and I will continue this track record if elected to the Senate."

"Rep. Markey is the only candidate in this race with a steadfast commitment to protecting reproductive freedom and privacy," Hogue said. "Markey shares the widely held belief that women are capable of making their own health-care decisions without interference from politicians. Despite considerable losses in the 2012 election cycle, anti-choice politicians continue their relentless attacks on women's reproductive rights. We must ensure the Senate continues to serve as the firewall against an agenda that's out of touch with our nation's values and priorities."

Hogue said NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC has given the maximum contribution of $5,000 to a special primary election and will work with Megan Amundson, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, to organize activists and provide on-the-ground support for Markey's campaign.

Amundson praised the endorsement and said Markey would build on his record as an effective leader for reproductive rights.

"Ed Markey is a champion for women's reproductive choice," Amundson said. "As a member of the House, Ed has shown an unwavering commitment through some of the most intense attacks against reproductive freedom. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts holds Ed Markey in the highest esteem and we are proud that NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC has endorsed his candidacy."

The primary is April 30.



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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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