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State Democrats Taking Aim At Romney's Economics
Staff Reports On: 10:37AM / Thursday May 31, 2012

Former North Adams Mayor John Barrett III appears in a campaign ad taking aim at former Gov. Mitt Romney's economic expertise.
BOSTON — State Democrats are taking aim at former Gov. Mitt Romney's economic record on Thursday morning in support of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray and former North Adams Mayor John Barrett III will join other party leaders at a press conference in front of the State House with Obama for America Senior Strategist David Axelrod.

The press conference is being held the same day as the debut of a television spot from the Obama campaign that also features the former North Adams mayor.

"Mitt Romney was not an effective leader in Massachusetts and the proof is in the pudding," says Barrett, the state's longest serving mayor, in the new ad.

Barrett, who had been a supportor of North Adams native daughter Jane Swift, Romney's Republican predecessor, had a rocky relationship with the governor (and his aide,  Eric Fehrnstrom). He wasn't the only one.

Romney's one term coincided with a significant downturn in the Massachusetts economy that put him at odds with the Democratic-controlled Legislature and the state's mayors, including Murray, then mayor of Worcestor.

Democrats say that during his term, the state was 47th in job creation and that Romney raised taxes and fees by $750 million. The Romney campaign has countered that the former governor left office with an unemployment rate of just over 4 percent.

Also speaking at the press conference will be Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad, who served in the state Legislature when Romney was governor, and Mayor Joseph Curatone of Somerville.

Romney, who rarely ventured into the Berkshires and never visited North Adams, lost the county 2-1 to Democratic opponent Shannon O'Brien in 2002.

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Shein Challenges Neal on Campaign Statements
By Joe Durwin On: 07:45PM / Wednesday May 30, 2012
ALFORD, Mass. — Alford writer and congressional candidate Bill Shein has challenged what he says are "misrepresentative" statements made by opponent Richard Neal in two media interviews last week.

Shein took issue with remarks made by the incumbent 2nd Massachusetts U.S. representative in two interviews that aired on Friday, one on WGBY public television and one on WAMC public radio.

During an interview on WGBY's "Connecting Point," Neal stated that both Shein and Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., Middle Berkshire register of deeds, first entered the race against retiring U.S. Rep. John W. Olver.

The three men are vying for the Democrat nomination to fill Olver's seat in the Sept. 6 primary. With no other challenger, the primary will determine the outcome of the November election.

"These candidacies were based upon John Olver being the congressman," said Neal, of Springfield. "I frankly think John did a terrific job in the 1st Congressional District, and the decision that was rendered to challenge John Olver escapes me. Only to discover that they were then placed in a Hampden County-based congressional district."

Though Nuciforo indicated his intention in 2008 to run for Congress in the Berkshires this year, Shein first announced his intent to run on Monday, Jan. 16, of this year.

Olver announced in October 2011 that he would retire at the end of his 10th term. 

The state Legislature voted in November to redraw the districts in a way that merged parts of the former 1st District with Neal's home territory in the 2nd District and reduced the number of congressional districts from 10 to nine.

"I decided to run after realizing that Western Massachusetts was in danger of no longer having a bold, outspoken progressive voice in the Congress next January," said Shein in a statement over the weekend,
"someone who champions fixes to our democracy, fairness in our economy, and urgent action on climate change and other environmental issues."

Olver, citing Neal as "a great friend and partner in the House," endorsed him in his run for the newly redrawn district in February.

Shein also objected to another statement by Neal, which aired on WAMC on Friday, regarding how his campaign is financed.

"The fundraising that I've done is very similar to President Obama, Senator Kerry, and Elizabeth Warren, and much of the rest of the congressional delegation in Massachusetts," Neal told WAMC, in regards to ongoing discussions about the role of money in this election.

"President Obama's campaign committee does not accept a single penny from political action committees or registered lobbyists," responded Shein in a statement. "By comparison, Rep. Neal raises most of his money from PACs and lobbyists, and regularly attends fundraisers thrown specifically for him by corporate lobbyists."

Regarding comparison to Warren's campaign against incumbent Scott Brown for U.S. Senate, Shein says "only 2 percent of Elizabeth Warren's $15.8 million raised has come from PACs — and just 11 percent of her small total of PAC contributions are from corporate interests. By comparison, in this cycle, Rep. Neal has raised fully 76 percent of his money from PACs, with an eye-popping 94 percent [of this portion] from big corporate PACs."

Representatives for Neal reached on Tuesday declined to comment on Shein's statements.

Money has been an issue of heated debate throughout the last few months of campaign talk surrounding this congressional race. All three candidates on the ballot released campaign financing reports for the first quarter of 2012 in late April, demonstrating a continued considerable lead in funds for Neal over his two

Neal raised a total of $122,875 between January and March, compared to $42,493 for Nuciforo and $11,235 for Shein, but the latter candidates pointed to distinctions in the breakdown of income. A majority ($101,250) of Neal's quarterly gain came from committees and PACs, from whom his opponents say they will not accept contributions.

Nuciforo pointed out that he outraised Neal 2 to 1 in individual contributions, while Shein, who only accepts donations of $99 or less, touted his more than $11,000 in unitemized individual contributions (under $200) over Neal's $4,125 in this small donation category.

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Neal Sharing Campaign Offices With Warren, Downing
On: 12:42PM / Monday May 21, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Richard E. Neal, Democratic candidate for U.S. representative of the 1st Massachusetts District, opened a local campaign headquarters on Monday at 274 Waconah St. He also opened an office in Springfield at 24 Island Pond Road.

While both offices belong to Neal, Elizabeth Warren's campaign for U.S. Senate, the Massachusetts Democratic Party and Benjamin B. Downing's campaign for state Senate will operate out of Neal's headquarters.

"As we have seen in the past, Democrats are successful when we work together to achieve common goals," said Neal, currently the representative for the 2nd Mass District. "Once I established the locations for my regional campaign headquarters I knew offering Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democratic Party, and Senator Downing the opportunity to join my Springfield and Pittsfield offices would be beneficial to Democrats of the First Congressional District. I look forward to working closely with Elizabeth and continuing the close relationship I have shared with Ben and the Massachusetts Democratic Party."

Neal is running for the Democratic nomination for representative. Part of his current district will be merged with the 1st Mass Distrit beginning in January 2013. Warren is challenging the sitting Republican incumbent for the Senate seat. Downing is running for his fourth term in the state Senate representing communities in Western Massachusetts.

"I'm excited to be opening offices in Springfield and Pittsfield and to continue meeting people throughout Western Massachusetts," said Warren. "I look forward to working with Congressman Neal to address the unique challenges facing the region and to level the playing field for middle class families across the commonwealth."

"It's great to see the grassroots excitement and organizing that Democrats are committed to across Massachusetts," said Downing, who previously served as an intern in Neal's Washington congressional office. "I'm looking forward to working with the Mass Democratic Party, Congressman Neal, and Elizabeth Warren to make sure the Berkshires help elect leaders committed to fighting for the middle class."

Neal's regional campaign headquarters are both situated in residential areas with high traffic. While the Pittsfield office is a short distance from the downtown business district, the Springfield office is located in the heart of the East Forest Park neighborhood that was decimated during last year's June 1st tornado.

"Winning campaigns are fueled by volunteers with the buzz and excitement created through an active headquarters," Neal said. "We are fortunate to have campaign offices in prime locations that will enable our volunteers to mobilize and organize effectively."

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Clarksburg Elects New School Committee Member
By Tammy Daniels On: 10:20PM / Tuesday May 15, 2012

Toting up the votes at Clarksburg Senior Center on Tuesday.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Voters ousted the chairman of the School Committee in favor of a former school principal but returned a longtime selectman back to that board.

Some 285 voters turned out to for the polls in Tuesday's annual town election. The only races were a two-way for a three-year seat on the School Committee and a three-way battle to complete the final year of a three-year term on the Selectmen.

The biggest shakeup was on the School Committee. John Solari, a retired Drury High School principal polled 150 votes to David Berger's 120. Berger, who works at Williams College, has served on the board for 18 years. Solari, who has spent some 35 years in education, retired in 2006 but still works part-time in tutoring.

Debra LeFave's comeback attempt to finish out her term on the Board of Selectmen came to naught as longtime colleague Carl McKinney won the one-year term with 127 votes. Lefave, who served with McKinney for more than a decade on the board, quit to pursue the town administrator's post, later withdrawing her name from consideration.

McKinney won with 126 votes; Gary Bellows, an engineering technician, polled 85 votes and Lefave, 65.

Jeffrey Levanos, owner of Jack's Hot Dog Stand in North Adams, easily earned 256 votes running unopposed. Levanos will also continue on the School Committee to finish out his second two-year term on that board.

All other posts on the ballot were unopposed and no seat was left vacant, said Town Clerk Carol Jammalo. However, there were a lot blanks and more single write-ins than usual. In some cases, voters checked two candidates for the one-year term on the selectmen, canceling out both their votes.

Jammalo described the turnout, at about 28 percent, as good. "It's one of the biggest ones we've had," she said.

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Neal Collects Triple Amount Of Needed Nomination Signatures
Staff Reports On: 06:24PM / Monday May 14, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Incumbent Congressman Richard Neal collected triple the amount of required signatures to appear on the ballot for the U.S. House of Representatives race.

Neal is running against Andrea Nuciforo and Bill Shein for the seat. Neal collected 7,340 signatures — well above the required 2,000 — from all over the newly drawn district. According to a release from Neal's campaign, 5,906 of those were certified by the Secretary of State's office.

The signatures came from all across the district with 17 percent from Berkshire County.

"I campaign the same way I have always governed; every region has an equal voice," Neal said in a statement. "Whether you live in the smallest town or the largest city our grassroots operation is the same. We are spreading our positive Democratic message about my voting record by talking to our friends and family, knocking on the doors of our neighbors, and speaking to our communities members at the ball fields and in the coffee shops."

The Berkshire's current Rep. John Olver, D-Amherst, is retiring and redrawn district merges Neal's current district with the Berkshires. The newly drawn district covers parts of Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester counties and the Berkshires.

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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

Deborah B. Goldberg, Democratic
Michael James Heffernan, Republican
Ian T. Jackson, Green-Rainbow

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.

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