Thursday, April 17, 2014 05:23pm
North Adams, MA now: 48 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
Downing Kicks Off Senate Re-election Campaign
By Andy McKeever On: 09:17PM / Monday March 17, 2014
State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing kicked off his re-election campaign Monday night at Spice Dragon with St. Patrick's Day flavor.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — At age 24, Benjamin B. Downing stood on the steps of City Hall with a speech he rehearsed dozens of times to announce his candidacy for the open state Senate seat.

Eight years later, and seeing yet another term come to an end, he looked back on that speech and focused on a Bill Clinton quote he had altered: "It it our job not only to build a bridge to the 21st century but make sure that every one in every corner of the Berkshires and the commonwealth has the opportunity to cross that bridge."

He thought of the $90 million broadband expansion, the new center for science and innovation at MCLA, upgraded downtowns and reforms to government to say the bridge is being built.

But, he also looked at a rising poverty rate and homelessness.

"No. No we can't say that everyone has as good of an opportunity that they should to make use of their God-given talents," Downing said Monday night as he kicked of his campaign to keep the seat he's had for eight years.

Downing kicked off another campaign as he has begun gathering signatures to be on the ballot. Among a room full of municipal, state, business and cultural leaders, Downing said his job on Beacon Hill isn't done.

"I am running for re-election because this community, Pittsfield, the Berkshires, Western Massachusetts has given me everything, every opportunity anyone could ever ask for," he said. "But until every single kid in every corner of the commonwealth from Boston to the Berkshires, from Provincetown to Pittsfield, from North Adams to North Attleboro can say the same thing, then our work is not done."

He boasted of making "government smarter and more efficient" to ensure that the tax dollars are going to programs and "not bureaucracy."

But child poverty has increased from 12 percent to 15 percent — with the Berkshires 20 percent higher — and 135,000 people are dependent on food banks and more than 20,000 people statewide homeless, Downing said.

While still seeing those numbers after eight years in office could make someone "cynical," Downing says he is "more hopeful" than ever. His job takes him to meet volunteers passing out Thanksgiving meals to the needy, teachers inspiring classrooms, community activists fighting for the environment and "decent hard-working people" in all 52 of his Senate district's communities, he said.

"Today, more so than any day since I took to those steps at City Hall, I am more hopeful today than ever before," said the Democratic senator. "I am hopeful because of all of you. Because of the good decent hard-working people that make up the 52 communities."

Downing said government still needs "new energy and new ideas to make decisions with future generations in mind and not future elections in mind." And he believes he can provide that.

"I am running for re-election because if the last two years have taught me anything is that we can take absolutely nothing in this life for granted. We don't know if the sun is going to come up tomorrow. We don't know if we will get to see it. But we do know that if we do everything in our time, everything in our power that whenever that last sunset comes, whenever we see it. .... whether we are 27 or 72, whether we are 107 or 12, we will be able to say we made the most of every opportunity that was given to us," Downing said.

Attorney Don Dubendorf and state Rep. Steve Kulik were among those in attendance.

"If you continue to give me the opportunity in the Senate, I may not be able to say that I am always be right. I won't. I may not be able to say that we will always agree. We won't. But you will be able to say that your state senator worked harder than anyone else, drove farther than anyone else, listened more than anyone else and was more committed to making sure that we ...  we will be able to say we have done everything we could to make sure that everyone can cross that bridge."

Downing is still collecting signatures for the ballot and doesn't know if he'll have a competitor. The senator has run unopposed since 2008. He said he plans on running the campaign as if he does have an opponent.

"Whether there is another candidate or not, it is a great opportunity to get out and talk to people and make sure you are in touch with the municipal leaders and the voters," Downing said after his kickoff speech.
 
Besides poverty, which Downing has placed high on his priority list, he also expects substance abuse and treatment to become hot topic issues.

Besides being an incumbent, Downing also received support on Monday night from many county leaders and elected officials. Those in attendance included Sheriff Thomas Bowler, state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, state Rep. Paul Mark, state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, state Rep. Steve Kulik, District Attorney David Capeless, Adams Town Administrator Jonathan Butler, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's representative Dan Johnson, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, City Councilor Jonathan Lothrop, and Register of Probate Court Francis Marinaro among an array of business and cultural leaders.

"He's done a fantastic job. We need to clone him. We need to get this guy tenured. Ben Downing's been a great friend to all of us and he's been a mentor to me," Pignatelli said.



Write a comment - 0 Comments            
North Adams City Council Candidate Profiles
On: 08:05AM / Saturday November 02, 2013

There are a dozen candidates running for nine seats on the City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The nine highest vote-getters will be elected. 
 
We asked the candidates to offer some personal information and their thoughts on a number of issues that have been before the City Council or raised in the mayoral election over the past few months. Their responses varied, so not every candidate answered every question, but we believe they have provided enough information for voters to get a good grasp on their backgrounds, ideas and stands on a number of critical issues.
 
The nine candidates who have returned their questions are listed below; their profiles also include the NBCTV panels they participated in, which were moderated by state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, which are also available on this page. They were also interviewed by on WNAW radio by Editor Tammy Daniels and the radio's Megan Duley and those programs will be repeated on WNAW through the weekend.
 
Click on the banner to go to the candidate's profile page.
 
     
Forum 1: Michael Hernandez, Benjamin Lamb, Kate Merrigan and Wayne Wilkinson
Forum 2: Lisa Blackmer, Keith Bona, Nancy Bullett and Robert Cardimino
Forum 3: Jennifer Breen, Eric Buddington and Joshua Moran

 

Write a comment - 3 Comments            
Alcombright Rings Up Endorsements in Mayoral Race
On: 10:31AM / Tuesday October 29, 2013

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Incumbent Richard Alcombright has received endorsements in his campaign for a third term as mayor of North Adams from U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, Attorney General Martha Coakley, state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, and Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas N. Bowler.

"Over the course of his tenure as mayor, Dick Alcombright has continued to put the residents of North Adams first. Whether it is through his efforts to work with the northern Berkshire communities to regionalize veterans services or his diligence in finding new businesses to grow the Route 8 corridor and create more jobs, Mayor Alcombright understands what it takes to keep North Adams thriving.  Knowing his history and dedication to the City, I wholeheartedly endorse Mayor Dick Alcombright for re-election."

Congressman Richard Neal


"As your attorney general, it goes without saying that I am a strong advocate of public safety.  As a prior resident of North Adams, I commend Mayor Alcombright for taking decisive steps to work with District Attorney Capeless, the state police and the sheriff's department to increase police presence over the past three months. Dick has clearly recognized the problems within the community and has taken action to protect the citizens of North Adams. Dick's ability to work collaboratively with law enforcement has resulted in multiple arrests and created a safer city for residents and visitors alike. I have known Dick for over 50 years and can attest that his only motivation day in and out is to move North Adams forward.  I am proud to support Dick for re-election."

Attorney General Martha Coakley


"Dick Alcombright cares deeply about every issue a mayor deals with, and more. He is a passionate advocate for North Adams and for those causes which will improve quality of life in his community. He has been an able partner in every effort we have undertaken regionally to expand opportunity in the Berkshires. I am proud to call him a friend and hope that residents of North Adams agree with me that he has earned a 3rd term."

Sen. Benjamin Downing


"As sheriff of Berkshire County, I have had the delightful pleasure for the past  2 1/2 years of working very closely with Mayor Dick Alcombright. What I have discovered is that he is a man of integrity, and simply a person who cares for the citizens of North Adams. Since in office, he has reduced the city’s deficit, created new jobs and brought many new businesses to the city of North Adams.  It is very evident his goal is to enhance your quality of life ... which all of you deserve."

Sheriff Thomas N. Bowler
 



Write a comment - 0 Comments            
Coakley, Back in Berkshires, Says Economy Priority
By Andy McKeever On: 10:00PM / Wednesday October 16, 2013
Gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley met with the Berkshire Brigades on Wednesday afternoon in her second trip to the Berkshires since announcing her candidacy.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Martha Coakley returned to the Berkshires on Wednesday and spoke to potential supporters about why she believes she is the best candidate for the governor's office.

The attorney general announced last month that she would be seeking election in 2014. This is her second visit to the Berkshires since announcing; she was to receive the Northern Berkshire Business and Professional Women's Woman of Achievement Award in the evening.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Berkshire native met with members of the Berkshire Brigades to ask for support and answer questions about her candidacy.

"I'm asking people to look at my record, what my vision is and what we've be able to do in terms of promoting a healthy economy in the attorney general's office, tackling problems, getting results and working for people in Massachusetts," Coakley said.

The campaign is still relatively green: Her staff is still recruiting volunteers and setting up office space. But, she has been meeting with active Democratic groups and "just walking into diners and meeting people."

"It's been a busy four weeks and I've gotten a great reaction from people who feel optimistic that the economy is getting a little better but they understand that we still need more work around it," Coakley said. "I think a lot of people feel it is time for a good woman in the office and I think people have been impressed with what we've been able to do in the attorney general's office."

Coakley says what she's heard from voters is that the economy is of most concern. She said people are working "twice as hard to be where they used to be" and the opportunities are not there.

"People want to move here and stay here so when we keep our health care costs down, our energy costs down, we will be successful in making this economy turn around and make sure it is for everybody," she said.

She says the economy can turn around and she has already worked with high levels of government on promoting economic activity. Coakley said the state level of government needs to work together for the people of Massachusetts.

Coakley says she's been meeting with people around the state to hear their concerns.

"Policies are great, implementation is great but there is a reason we have government — because we want it to be there for everybody," she said. "We work to solve problems and the next governor of this state needs to make sure we continue that economic turnaround for everybody."

Part of turning the economy around is having a good education system, she said.

Coakley says she supports longer school days and years and bringing together nonprofits and businesses to create job training programs for those who need new or different skills to return to the workforce.

"I know that we have wonderful system where we let the kids out just in time for the spring planting and we bring them back after the fall harvest. But, it is 2013 and our kids need to compete in the global marketplace," Coakley said. "I believe we need longer school days. We need better education for everyone and we need to look at how the school year is structured."

Coakley also lent her support to the Raise Up campaign of which the Berkshire Brigades are part. That campaign is gathering signatures to place questions on the ballot of raising the minimum wage and requiring all workers be given earned sick time.

"I support both of these. To me, those are no brainers," she said, adding that everybody can agree that a worker cannot live on the current minimum wage.

Coakley is the third Democratic candidate to meet with local voters in the past week: Dr. Donald Berwick and Steven Grossman, state treasurer, were here last week. Also, third-party candidate Evan Falchuk was at the Fall Foliage Parade.



Write a comment - 0 Comments            
Grossman Talks Manufacturing, Minimum Wage
By Andy McKeever On: 11:50PM / Wednesday October 09, 2013
Grossman spoke at the Berkshire Brigades office on Wednesday after filming a television show with the Democratic group.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Manufacturing is in the state's DNA so there is no reason why it can't continue to drive the economy, according to Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Steven Grossman.

Grossman had an informal meeting with the Berkshire Brigades on Wednesday after filming a television show earlier in the day.

To the relatively small audience, Grossman pledged his support for the Brigades' efforts to place questions on raising the minimum wage and earned sick time on the ballot in 2014 while at the same time, asking for their support in his campaign for governor.

Grossman began a short talking portion by saying that requiring all workers be given earned sick time in case of illness is "long overdue."

The earned sick time question is one of two the coalition Raise Up, of which the Berkshire Brigades are a part, is trying to get on the ballot.

Grossman said, in the 35 years he ran his family's business, providing extra benefits made for better workers.

"You empower workers by providing benefits," Grossman said. "Earned sick time is one of the benefits people are provided in our company for 25 years and when people say to me 'I can't afford to do that and I won't support you as a small-business owner,' I say, 'you can't afford not to do it."

He said the family paper company has not gone to arbitration since the workers unionized in 1952 and that's because the owners provide those extra benefits and, in return, received better work.

"For me, fundamentally, the relationship between those who own companies and those who run companies is a symbiotic relationship. They fit together," Grossman said. "You can have a nice looking suit on and a nice looking car but if you walk into your place of business if you don't treat those who work in your company with grace and dignity, particularly when you are sitting across the table from them in a union negotiation, then they are not empowered. If you empower your workers, they give you flexibility, increased productivity."

Raise Up is also seeking an ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage, which Grossman says he supports because at $8 an hour currently, it isn't possible for a worker to be "self sufficient."

Besides giving a short speech, the treasurer spoke one-on-one with everyone who attended.

Meanwhile, Grossman is working to get his name on the ballot as well. As he harkened back to his business days to support those initiatives, he did the same Wednesday to explain why he is running for governor.

"I am running for a very simple reason. I believe the people in this commonwealth want a proven leader that will leave no one behind," he said.

As a businessman, he spoke with small businesses across the state about the "roadblocks" in the way of growth. He heard about the cost of health insurance and the need for technical assistance but even more importantly was the need for access to capital.

When he was elected treasurer he started the Small Business Banking Partnership, which took some of the state's reserves from overseas banks and transferred them into loans to businesses. Grossman said Starbase Technology, a Pittsfield molding company, was able to secure a loan through that fund and purchased three new pieces of equipment and added 17 jobs.

Across the state, Grossman says more than $308 million has been loaned to community banks specifically for local businesses while those loans are now worth more than $570 million.

He added that advanced manufacturing, life sciences and green technology jobs are high paying and are an opportunity for growth.

Grossman said he wants to continue to invest in education and rid the state of the waiting lists for early education programs and put more money into vocational programs. Locally, Grossman, who as treasurer is chairman of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, said he is fully supportive of building a new Taconic High School.

"That is the key to our economic future," he said. "There is no reason why manufacturing, which is in the bones, the DNA of this commonwealth for decades, generations — think Pittsfield, think Greenfield, think North Adams, think Chicopee, think Holyoke, think Fall River, think New Bedford — advanced and precision manufacturing. I've set a goal to create 50,000 new manufacturing jobs in this commonwealth in five years."

Overall, Grossman is hoping to pass on the values that were passed onto him. Grossman said his grandfather once told him that he only wanted four things in life — a healthy family, educated children, to own his own business and to give back to the community. And those four things are what Grossman said he wants all residents to have a chance to do.



Write a comment - 0 Comments            
Page 1 of 11 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  
Election Text Ads
Advertise on iBerkshires.com

Where to vote in Berkshire County

Town Elections
& Meetings

Adams: Election, May 5, 7-7;

Cheshire: Election, May 5;

Clarksburg: Election, May 27; town meeting, May 28

Williamstown: Election, May 13, 7-8; town meeting, May 20, 7 p.m.

 
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

 

 

 



Categories:
1st Berkshire (42)
2010 (0)
2011 (69)
2012 (59)
2013 (59)
2014 (25)
2nd Berkshire (28)
3rd Berkshire (16)
4th Berkshire (14)
attorney general (2)
auditor (3)
campaign (51)
candidate forums (46)
city council (38)
Congress (22)
election (63)
endorsements (45)
events (27)
fundraising (9)
governor (20)
letters (9)
local (16)
mayor (47)
news (8)
school committee (20)
selectmen (17)
selectmen (15)
sheriff (28)
state (21)
statements (45)
Archives:
April 2014 (3)
April 2013 (8)
March 2014 (6)
February 2014 (1)
January 2014 (4)
November 2013 (10)
October 2013 (21)
September 2013 (7)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (2)
June 2013 (7)
May 2013 (7)
Tags:
Democratic Party Mayor Preliminary Governor Senator Campaign Town Elections Bosley Debates Cariddi Bissaillon Berkshire Brigades Candidates Macdonald Election 2013 North Adams Williamstown U.s. Senate Boucher 1st Mass Letters To The Editor Pittsfield Democrat Primary Gubernatorial Special Election Debate Patrick City Council Town Election Election 2014 Bowler Szczepaniak Republican Party Mark
Popular Entries:
Election Day 2010
Bosley Looks to Wind Up Legislative Career
Longtime City Councilor Cariddi Kicks Off State Rep Campaign
North Adams Mayoral Debate Video
Three Make Case for 2nd District Seat
Candidates Forum Scheduled for Aug 17
Cariddi Clear Winner in 1st District
There's a New Sheriff in Town
Bissaillon Campaign Hosts Pancake Breakfast
Bump Would Audit Publicly Funded Criminal Defense System
Recent Entries:
Adams Candidates Hold Forth at Maple Grove Forum
State Senator Finegold Seeking Treasurer Post
Green Rainbow Party Places 3 Candidates on Statewide Ballot
Four Races on Cheshire Town Election Ballot
Adams Voters to Decide Three Races on 2014 Ballot
Lt. Gov. Candidate Kerrigan Building 'Grassroots' Campaign
Downing Kicks Off Senate Re-election Campaign
Williamstown Ballot Spaces Filling for Town Election
Candidate Kayyem Talks Development With PEDA
District Attorney Capeless Seeking Re-election


View All
Softball: Lee vs Hoosac
4-14-14 Kassandra Kazimierczak went 2-for-4 with a double...
Baseball: MG vs Hoosac
4-11-14 Dan Flynn's suicide squeeze with the bases loaded...
Softball: MG vs McCann
4-11-14 Mount Greylock and McCann Tech played an atypical...
Sullivan School CPR Class
Seventh-graders at Sullivan School in North Adams learned...
Lacrosse: Mounties vs. Hoosac
Mounties overwhelmed Hoosac Valley on Wednesday 14-1....
North Adams Furnace St. Fire
Firefighters contained a top floor apartment blaze on...
Berkshire Chamber Career Fair...
More than 50 employers connected with job seekers at...
Lacrosse: MG vs St. Joe
Mount Greylock boys lacrosse team won 17-4 St. Joseph at...
Softball: MG vs Drury
4-8-14 Mount Greylock softball claimed a 7-2 victory over...
Wahconah High School Musical...
Wahconah Regional High School is putting on the 1930...
Drury Coach Marceau Benefit
Friends and supporters filled the Eagles Hall on Friday...
Lenox High International Fair
Lenox Memorial Middle and High School students got to...
Slice of Life Pizza 2014
Moments House's annual Slice of Life fundraiser that pits...
North Adams Hospital Closes
Union members and supporters of North Adams Regional...
2014 Berkshire Awards
The Berkshire Awards ceremony was held on Friday night at...
Chamber Night At Moments...
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce visited the new Moments...
Softball: Lee vs Hoosac
4-14-14 Kassandra Kazimierczak went 2-for-4 with a double...
Baseball: MG vs Hoosac
4-11-14 Dan Flynn's suicide squeeze with the bases loaded...
Softball: MG vs McCann
4-11-14 Mount Greylock and McCann Tech played an atypical...
Sullivan School CPR Class
Seventh-graders at Sullivan School in North Adams learned...
Lacrosse: Mounties vs. Hoosac
Mounties overwhelmed Hoosac Valley on Wednesday 14-1....
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved