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Szczepaniak Promises To Keep Officials Accountable
By: Patrick Ronan On: 11:18PM / Wednesday May 26, 2010

DALTON, Mass. — To prove how accessible he is to the public, Tom Szczepaniak announced his cell phone number to a crowd of about 100 people at the Dalton American Legion.

The Lanesborough native, who views himself as a "working man's candidate," officially launched his campaign to become the state representative of the 2nd Berkshire District on Wednesday night. The 43-year-old said he's ready to bring his work boots to Boston.

Szczepaniak is the owner of Variety Trucking & Demolition.

"We need a business-minded person with deep, local government experience," he said. "Not some greenhorn, and not another lawyer."

Szczepaniak will square off against fellow Democrats Paul Mark, of Hancock,  and latecomer to the race Noreen Surinar of Middlefield, in the Sept. 14 primary. The victor will then take on the Republican primary winner and independent Stefan G. Racz of Buckland in November's general election.

Tom Szczepaniak wants to get rid of Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day.

Currently in his third term as a Dalton selectman and president of the Berkshire County Selectmen's Association, Szczepaniak said he'd draw on his wide-ranging experience in local government and his commitment to the people. If elected, he promised to keep legislators honest in an attempt to control spending.

To make state officials more accountable, he suggested the elimination of two Suffolk County holidays given annually to government offices. 

"We need to get rid of Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day, and save $5 million dollars a year," he said.

He also came down on the amount of money spent on lawyers by state agencies.

"No more gold-plated handouts for outside counsel — $145 million for private lawyers and in the public defenders office, $35 million. Not happening [if I'm elected]," he said. "Why are we lavishing money on pricey law firms when each agency has its own legal staff?"

Other platforms included in his speech:

• To prevent casinos from coming to Massachusetts

• To stop micromanaging the judicial branch through the budgeting process

•  To support the green energy movement

• To shift more focus on public schools and public transportation

About 100 supporters attended Szczepaniak's campaign kick-off on Wednesday at the Dalton American Legion.

For more information on Szczepaniak's campaign, visit his Web site here.

As chairman of the Dalton Senior Center Feasibility Committee, Szczepaniak was instrumental in securing an override for the creation of a new senior center. The groundbreaking for the new building will be on June 7.

"It's a huge accomplishment," he said. "We've been working on that for about 12 years. Our elders will finally have a place that they deserve."

The 2nd Berkshire District consists of 22 towns in Berkshire, Franklin and Hampshire counties. Denis E. Guyer, of Dalton, will not run for re-election after three terms.



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Szczcepaniak Kicking Off 2nd Berkshire Campaign
By: Campaign Statement On: 04:49PM / Tuesday May 25, 2010

Tom Szczepaniak of Dalton will formally announce his candidacy for state representative for the 2nd Berkshire District on Wednesday, May 26, at 5:30PM at the American Legion Post 155, 258 North St. (Route 9) in Dalton.

Szczepaniak, 43, is in his third term as a Dalton selectman and also serves on a number of civic and community boards. He is owner of Variety Trucking & Demolition in Lanesborough.

A Democrat, he will face off in the Sept. 14 primary against Paul Mark of Hancock; the winner will meet the Republican primary winner in November.

The 2nd Berkshire District, consisting of 22 mostly rural towns in Berkshire, Franklin and Hampshire counties, has been represented by Denis E. Guyer of Dalton. Guyer, a Democrat, has declined to stand for re-election.



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Cahill Seeking Grassroots Support
By: Tammy Daniels On: 07:04PM / Friday May 14, 2010

Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill, right, and WJJW host Charles Schneitzlen the MCLA radio station on Friday morning. Cahill was making a swing through the Berkshires that included a stop at a mayors'  forum in Lenox.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Tim Cahill wants people to know what he stands for — even if he has to tell one person at a time.

The gubernatorial hopeful was hammered earlier this week with an all-out attack on his record as state treasurer and Quincy city councilor by the Republican Governors Association on behalf of GOP opponent Charles D. Baker Jr., former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health.

"It's a gross distortion of my record," said Cahill on Friday morning during an interview with "Charlie in the Morning" host Charles Schneitzlen at WJJW at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. "[They want] to try to define me before I get to define myself."

Cahill says he's "a fiscal conservative who'll run a fiscally conservative administration." He left the Democratic Party last summer because, he said, the two-party system is broken.

The GOP's motives aren't hard to divine: Scott Brown's stunning election victory in January to fill the Senate seat of the late Edward M. Kennedy has boosted the aspirations of the moribund party — its recent string of governors notwithstanding. With Cahill running as an independent, he threatens to split the vote for Baker.

"The Republicans want to regain power," said Cahill. "[Mississippi] Gov. Haley Barbour [RGA chairman] poured over a $1 million into attack ads."

The former Democrat says he won't attack back — at least not using negative ads.

"Conventional wisdom tells people that I need to go out and run my own negative ads against Charlie Baker or  Deval Patrick, which we're not going to do," he said. "We could spend a million or two on the air, but I think that would leave people confused of who's telling the truth. It's much better for people to do it one on one and that's what I'm doing — that's why I'm here today."

Despite slipping polls, he said a rally Thursday night in Dorchester turned out more than 1,100 people. He's building a grassroots network across the state to talk to people "about who I really am and what I've done for the commonwealth."

Cahill points to his efforts to return Lottery monies to towns, and to cleanup and structure the School Building Authority, restoring its financial health and targeting worthwhile, economically feasible projects. If elected, he would apply part of the sales tax revenue into fixing infrastructure problems and give students 21st-century classrooms. Education, he said, is key to rebuilding the economy.

The major portion of Cahill's plan to rejuvenate the state's economy is across-the-board tax cuts and incentives to promote entrepreneurial investment, such as tax relief for the first three years of a startup. He thinks the current and past administrations have focused too much on big business and specialized areas rather than broadly based incentives for all small businesses.

"I was a small-business man out of college. I realized through experience how difficult is to manage your own business when government takes more and more of your revenue," said Cahill. "We want to allow people to keep more of their money."

The Quincy native operated Handshakes Cafe, which grew to three locations during the 1980s, credited the Reagan tax cuts for helping him expand his business.

The cuts would be an investment paid through the job growth — more people working and buying means fewer people depending on government assistance to get them through hard times thus less government spending, he said.

"Let the pivate sector not the public sector rebuild our economy so we can invest in infrastructure."
 
Cahill was to take up those topics in his address to the Massachusetts Mayors Association later in the morning at Cranwell Resort in Lenox (Gov. Deval Patrick was also speaking Friday; Baker spoke Thursday) and visit Taconic High School in Pittsfield in the afternoon.

For more on Cahill's positions, go to timforgovernor.com.



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Longtime City Councilor Cariddi Kicks Off State Rep Campaign
By: By Patrick Ronan On: 05:54PM / Friday May 14, 2010

NORTH ADAMS, Mass.  — The sun broke through gray clouds just after noontime Friday. It was perfect synchronicity for Gailanne Cariddi.

To kick off her campaign to become state representative of First Berkshire District, Cariddi shed light on her top priorities in front of the North Adams Public Library. Joined by a modest gathering of family, friends and supporters, including fellow Councilors Ronald Boucher and Marie Harpin, the North Adams native drew upon her more than 20 years of experience as an elected official and her imbedded roots in the business field as the outlining criteria for her candidacy.

"I am committed to using my skills as a listener and facilitator to bring our collective wisdom to Boston," said Cariddi, who is in her 21st year as a city councilor. "I know that working together we can make our district and our commonwealth better, safer and more prosperous."

Cariddi is hoping to fill the position currently held by fellow North Adams resident Daniel E. Bosley, who is ending his 24-year tenure as state rep in an attempt to become Berkshire County sheriff. Cariddi, 56, is running against David Bissaillon and Edward McDonald, both Adams Democrats, with the primary election date set for Sept. 14.

She said the First Berkshire District, which encompasses 11 communities, has an "economic engine" in the arts, culture and creative sector. If elected, Cariddi plans on creating a capital fund to foster the development of new space for artists. She also hit on topics ranging from small-business growth, small-town farming, health-care costs and budget control, which can be found in more detail here.

Cariddi also discussed the state's PILOT ("payment in lieu of taxes") fund, which provides annual payments to communities that host state property. According to Cariddi, the First Berkshire District is home to 47,000 acres of of state-owned land, and in rural towns such as Hawley, Monroe and Savoy, the PILOT fund is a vital source of aid.

"Despite reports from the state auditor that the program be fully funded, this has hardly ever occurred," she said. "This year, the program is slated to be level funded at $27.2 million, well short of where the appropriation needs to be. If elected, I will join the Legislative Rural Caucus to push for full funding of the PILOT budget."

Standing beside Cariddi during her speech, which was taped for Northern Berkshire Community Television, was her 94-year-old father, Jimmy Cariddi. He has been an operating partner with Cariddi Sales Co. for over 70 years, and said his daughter was a hard worker from a very young age.

"She started working with me when she was 10 or 11 years old," he said.

While she's a seasoned vet in city government, Cariddi is looking forward to the new challenges of a broader role. She admitted that the biggest challenge, if elected, will be her status as a freshman rep.

"You don't have all the clout you probably deserve going down to Beacon Hill [as a new rep]," she said. "I think I'll earn their respect with my work ethic and my ability to network and communicate with my co-legislators."



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Patrick, Cahill Speaking in Berkshire County
By: Staff Reports On: 10:41AM / Thursday May 13, 2010

Two of the state's top elected officials — who also happen to be in contention for governor — will be speaking at the Massachusetts Mayors Association annual spring conference on Friday at Cranwell Resort in Lenox.

Gov. Deval Patrick and state Treasurer Timothy Cahill's separate talks will be closed to the press but we're guessing the Great Recession that's created historic deficits for towns and cities across the commonwealth will be the No. 1 topic. Patrick, a Democrat, and Cahill, who was a Democrat and is now running as an independent, will likely both be speaking to their strategies for increasing jobs and revenues as well as commenting on issues relative to their current positions.

Cahill is speaking at 10 and the governor at 11, both with press availabilities afterward.

Cahill, however, will be on the air earlier with "Charlie in the Morning" on WJJW 91.1-FM at 8:30 a.m. The station is operated by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and morning radio host and graduating senior Charles Schnitzlein over the past year has tapped into both local and state politics by interviewing officials such as Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley and local selectmen, along with musical guests. Cahill will be the first major political guest who's traveled to the college for a sitdown interview.

iBerkshires will be joining Schnitzlein for the morning program; we'll also be at Cranwell for press roundtable with the governor at noon. If you have any questions you think we should ask either Cahill or Patrick, related to current or campaign issues, let us know at info@iberkshires.com, tweet to @iberkshires or @CharlieMorning or comment here or on our Facebook posting.

The mayors conference opened Wednesday at Cranwell and continues through Friday at 5. Both Berkshire County Mayors James M. Ruberto, who represents the association's District 1, and Richard Alcombright are expected to attend the event.



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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Election
Tuesday, Nov. 4

Voting is from 7 to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation is 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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