Senate Hopeful Gomez Stresses Security at Lenco Armored
By Andy McKeever On: 08:06PM / Tuesday May 21, 2013 ||
Gomez addressing dozens of supporters at Lenco in Pittsfield.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With a backdrop of Lenco-made armored vehicles, U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez make the case Tuesday that he is a stronger voice for homeland security than his opponent.
The Cohasset Republican is campaigning for the special election to replace the seat vacated by John Kerry. He is up against Democrat Edward Markey, a U.S. House member representing the 5th Massachusetts District.
Gomez held a rally Tuesday at Lenco and cited reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and two resolutions honoring the victims of 9/11 as bills he supports and that Markey had opposed.
Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, believes he is the better candidate to make decisions regarding homeland security.
"We live in a dangerous world, which we were reminded of five weeks ago. We need someone who will be strong on national security. My opponent could not be any weaker on national security."
Gomez ran the Boston Marathon, finishing just shortly before the bombs went off. He recalled the "amazing" scene of first responders rushing in to help and then a few days later when police shut down the city to find and capture Dzokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of being one of the bombers.
That day was a "reminder" of how increasingly dangerous the world is now, he said.
"We've got to make sure not only our troops but our law enforcement and emergency responders are safe. And it is because of this company right here that they are," Gomez said standing in front of a newly built armored BearCat, the the same type used by many law enforcement agencies in Tsarnaev's capture .
Following Tsarnaev's arrest, Gomez said it was provisions in the Patriot Act that should have been followed. Gomez says instead of being held as a suspect, Tsarnaev, an American citizen, should have been held as an enemy combatant.
"He should not have been read his Miranda rights. We still don't know where he trained, who he trained, what he was trained in and how he trained and potential other threats that are out there that we could be facing," Gomez said. "It is within our right to hold someone as an enemy combatant."
Markey voted against reauthorizing the Patriot Act, whereas Gomez believes it provides law enforcement needed tools. Markey, a 37-year House veteran, voted twice against resolutions to honor victims of the 9/11 attacks, which Gomez said was "unconscionable." Markey said he voted against them because it linked the attacks to Iraq and referenced the Patriot Act. But Gomez calls that a partisan choice and not one for the people.
"One of the main difference between me and Congressman Markey is that he will put party and politics above everything else. I will always put the people ahead of party and politics," said Gomez, a newcomer to politics.
Markey also voted against the formation of the Department of Homeland Security saying it took away collective bargaining rights of some federal workers.
While Gomez mostly focused on homeland security Tuesday, he addressed an array of issues while answering questions from the dozens there.
Mostly, Gomez painted a moderate position, saying he supports background checks for gun purchases and that he supports the idea of the Affordable Health Care Act but would repeal many parts of it.
"When I go down to D.C. I will look at every bill that is front of me and the first question I will ask is, does it follow my fiscal conservative beliefs?' And then second, is this important, is it right for the people of Massachusetts?" Gomez said, striking a similar tone to former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, to whom Gomez has been compared. "It shouldn't matter who gets the credit as long as it is the right thing to do."
Those positions were also coupled with his belief in decreasing the corporate tax, support for defense spending and proposing an "adult discussion on entitlements."
He calls for increasing the retirement age and implementing means testing for Medicaid and Medicare.
"I'm a Navy guy. I am a father. I am a husband. I am an American. I am with the Republican Party and have been all my life. But I am not tied to an ideological position," he said of his stance on issues.
The statewide election will be held on June 25, leaving the campaigns just short of five weeks to rally their respective supporters.
State Democratic Chairman Rallies Berkshire Voters
By Andy McKeever On: 03:22PM / Monday May 20, 2013 ||
State Democratic Committee Chairman John Walsh rallied Berkshire Democrats on Sunday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — John Walsh delivered a dose of adrenaline to Berkshire Democrats on Sunday as the party ramps up campaigning for Edward Markey.
The chairman of the state Democratic Committee was the main speaker at a ceremony opening the regional Democratic office on North Street. Walsh was joined by state Rep. Paul Mark and state Sen. Benjamin Downing in giving rally speeches.
Walsh asked local Democratic leaders to forget about their other responsibilities for the next month and focus on the campaign because the U.S. Senate seat, he said, is too important to lose.
"I don't want a United States senator voting in my name against an assault weapons ban, against a women's right to choose, against Social Security. I want Ed Markey and I know with Ed Markey that I can trust him because he's done this for us. He's a national leader," Walsh said to loud cheers from dozens gather at the new office.
"We're never going to replace the glory days we had with Ted Kennedy and John Kerry as the stalwarts of the United State Senate. But, I'll tell you, with Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, that's pretty good."
Markey is going up against Republican Gabriel Gomez in a special election on June 25 to fill the seat vacated by Kerry, who resigned to become secretary of state. Voter turnout is going to be key, Walsh said, because many people will forget about election day.
"I know it is a bad time. I know it is a challenging time of the year. Your friends, who you can count on, will forget this," Walsh said.
He encouraged Democrats to do everything they can in the next month to spread the word and remind people to vote. He called for campaign leaders to have "face to face" conversations with voters, knock on doors and make phone calls because Democrats can't afford to again lose a Senate seat.
"Are we going to send somebody to Washington who will support President Obama's agenda or are we going to send someone who will become a national figure in opposition?" Walsh said. "We spent a year and a half making sure that we finally sent a strong woman to the United States Senate in Elizabeth Warren and it is about time."
Warren's vote would be countered by Gomez, he said, recalling how Democrats lost the last special U.S. Senate election in 2010 when Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley. The party doesn't want that to happen again.
"The first thing is to remember how you felt the morning after the last United States Senate special election. Remember that feeling. Now, remember how you felt on election night last November. Remember how you felt when the networks called for Elizabeth Warren. Remember those two feelings," Downing said.
The opening of the regional North Street office, a partnership with Berkshire Brigades, is an indicator of the importance of the coming elections to the Democratic Party even in deep-blue Western Mass., where Warren picked up 70 percent of the vote.
"We could sit idly by as Republicans in Washington try to spin small mistakes into big scandals, try to spin huge coverups out of nothing. We can sit idly by and we can can get one of those results. Or we can do what we do best as Democrats," said Downing. "We can go door to door. We can talk to our friends. We can talk to our family members. We can talk to our neighbors. We can talk to our fellow employees in the business place. We can talk to everyone we know about why we need Ed Markey to be our United States senator and we could have that exact same feeling that we had in November."
Brown's election was seen as an affirmation of the tea party movement and led to many Democrats being ousted from seats, Mark said.
"We're not going to let that happen. We're not even going to let Gabriel Gomez get within 5 percent. We're going to put him away because we're not going to have him drafted for governor. We going to make sure we win this year; we are going to make sure we win next year," Mark said.
Senate Candidate Gomez to Visit Pittsfield
Letters to the Editor On: 01:51PM / Monday May 20, 2013 ||
What are you doing next Tuesday? Do you have time to do something for your country? Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, needs your support in his bid to become our next U.S. senator. Please join me in welcoming Gomez back to the Berkshires on Tuesday, May 21, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. at Lenco Armored Vehicles, 10 Betnr Industrial Drive in Pittsfield.
The stakes are high and the choice is clear in the special U.S. Senate election scheduled for June 25. Gabriel Gomez is a political newcomer, a family man, and a first-generation American who believes in the American Dream. His opponent, Congressmen Ed Markey, is a career politician who has sided with flag burners and job killers over a 40-year career marked by bounced checks and broken promises.
Now is the time to take a stand. Please join me in welcoming Gabriel Gomez back to the Berkshires on Tuesday, May 21 from 2:30 to 3:45 PM at Lenco Armored Vehicles, 10 Betnr Industrial Drive in Pittsfield. It’s time to take our country back from the career politicians. Come meet Gabriel for yourself and see the difference that a true leader can make.
May 14, 2013
Two Vying for Clarksburg School Committee
By Tammy Daniels On: 01:14PM / Tuesday May 14, 2013 ||
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — There are two candidates vying for School Committee in the only race on this year's election ballot. The incumbents of two vacant seats on the ballot are accepting write-ins.
The election is Tuesday, May 21, from noon to 7 p.m. at the Senior Center. Absentee ballots can be requested in writing until available until noon on Monday, May 20.
Patricia A. Prenguber of Cross Road and Kimberly Goodell of Southernview Drive are each seeking the 3-year seat on the committee.
Prenguber, 61, was appointed to the committee last fall after the resignation of David Woods. This is her first run for office. She has worked in the North Adams Public Schools for 35 years, retiring as dean of students, but has continued working in a part-time capacity as a math coach. A resident for 26 years, she has seen her two children graduate from the school and now has grandchildren attending.
She is supportive of rebuilding or renovating the school, and working toward a prekindergarten program.
"I'd like to think my experience as a parent and a taxpayer and a teacher, gives me a well-rounded look at any issue," she said, noting she also has experience as an administrator. She believes she can work with teachers and townspeople in the "interest of the kids, that's what it comes down to."
"It's a great school," she said. "As long as people would like to have me I'd like to be part of that."
Goodell, 36, is a Clarksburg native who built her house next door to the one she grew up in. She has a daughter in kindergarten and is accounts manager at Excelsior Printing Co. in North Adams.
This is her first run for office. "I didn't really have an agenda per se," she said on Monday. "My goal is to make a difference any way I can."
Having attended Clarksburg School, she said she can see its time for some changes and supports the idea building a new school or renovating. Preparing children for today's economy is also important, she said.
"A couple of things that come to mind are after-school programs so it's a little easier on parents who work," said Goodell, who added that the preschool program has been "a big plus." "I'd like to bring some new life and new ideas from a different generation."
There are two offices with no candidates — moderator and a five-year seat on the Planning Board. Incumbent Town Moderator Bryan Tanner is accepting write-ins for his office; Planner David Sherman, who currently holds the five-year seat, will also accept write-ins for re-election. Neither Sherman nor Tanner took out papers to be placed on the ballot.
Running unopposed for re-election are Ernest F. Dix, 150 Carson Ave., for one-year tree warden; Carl W. McKinney, 500 River Road, for three-year selectman; Carol A. Jammalo, 40 Ice Pond Road, for three-year town clerk; Gregory J. Vigna, 304 Wells Ave., for three-year Board of Health seat; Ricard J. Bernardi, 215 Horrigan Road, for three-year seat on the McCann School Committee; and Rose M. Peters, 52 Hayden Hill, for three-year library trustee. Newcomer Edward J. Denault, 760 Middle Road, is running for three-year War Memorial trustee.
Absentee ballot applications are available on the wall in the rear entrance to Town Hall.
Contact Town Clerk Carol Jammalo with any questions or if you would like to vote in the clerk's office. She can be reached by phone at 413-663-8255 (leave a message) or at ClarksburgTClerk@gmail.com.
Update, 10:10 a.m., May 15, 2013; Write-thru removing reference to moderator candidate. Former Finance Committee Chairwoman Mary Beverly had indicated her intention to run a write-in campaign but has withdrawn after learning Town Moderator Bryan Tanner was accepting write-ins as well for re-election.
Bio-Tech Industry Leader Running For Governor
By Andy McKeever On: 03:15AM / Thursday May 09, 2013 ||
Joe Avellone of Wellesly is running for governor.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Gubernatorial candidate Joe Avellone says he has exactly the right skills needed to lead the state into a "new economy."
"I am really running on the basis of my private sector background, which I think is really timely for the problems going forward — namely the new economy and health-care cost control," Avallone said on Wednesday when he spoke in Pittsfield as a guest of the Berkshire Brigades.
"Now, the time is right. My skills are what the state needs."
Avellone is the senior vice president of Parexel, an international biotech company that develops drugs in 52 countries.
He is building his campaign for the state's highest office on education and health-care cost containment, two tasks he feels will help the state compete for jobs.
"In running Parexel, we have a global work force and I see how this work force is educated all around the world. They are very well trained, speak English, ambitious and great employees. I see that Massachusetts needs to compete at that level moving forward for companies to come here," Avellone said. "I now see what the global economy is like because I am in it every day and this is what Massachusetts has to prepare for in order to be competitive."
Avellone came to Massachusetts in 1972 and attended Harvard Medical School. He stayed for his surgical residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital and later earned a master's degree in public administration from Harvard. After working as a surgeon, he started working with health maintenance organizations (HMO) and was hired to head Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
"When I was with Blue Cross in the '90s, that was an effort to form the Blue Cross HMO, which is Blue Cross Blue, to try to move toward some more organized care," Avellone said. "It is almost back to the future because some of these ideas were around back then."
He spent six years there and then started his company, Veritas Medicine, which used the Internet to identify patients for clinical trials. He was recruited seven years ago to head Parexel.
Avellone said he would be the first candidate in decades to run on higher education but says it is imperative because the state needs more of the "middle skills" workers. There are high-tech manufacturers and life science companies out there but those industries require skilled labor, he said.
"I'd like to be the education governor if you will, because that is what we need to build a new economy," Avellone said.
Avellone said the state can't "chase" after the old type of manufacturing. Instead, it needs to focus on workforce development so companies that need a higher skill set will come here.
He wants to focus resources on increasing science, technology, engineering and math [STEM] education in the community and state college environment. The colleges should align themselves closer with emerging industries and produce the right skills, he said.
"There is a lot of new manufacturing and I think manufacturing needs to be part of our future," Avallone said.
As for health care, Avellone has worked with all of the major players and boasts that he understands the complexities of that system. In the last decade, health-care costs have had double-digit increases and Avellone wants to curb that trend.
He supports moving away from "fee for service" and instead focus on preventive and early detection. Listing a multitude of models in other states, Avellone says it "is doable."
"We know how to do it. We have models. But this requires big change and that is going to require a lot of political leadership," he said.
While those two are his key issues, Avellone said he is also very concerned about the environment and the state's infrastructure, which he said has been unattended for 15 years because of the Big Dig. He hopes to create dedicated revenue streams such as a percentage of the gas tax to infrastructure work.
However, Avellone knows his plans would require additional revenue but says a tax increase isn't currently feasible. The economy is still lagging from the recession and Avallone said further recovery will build some space into these investments and curbing the health care costs would allow for more spending.
"This was not the time to have a large tax increase," he said of Gov. Deval Patrick's proposed revenue plan.
But he didn't completely rule out a tax hike. If the economy continues to improve, Avallone said he would call for a tax increase to help generate the additional revenue.
"We're not recovered. We're recovering but we still need help," Avellone said, pointing to the unemployment rate in Pittsfield and North Adams.
As for social issues, he said his "tends to be very progressive." He was a selectman in Wellesley and has particpated in multiple local, state and national campaigns but not as a candidate.
Avellone is one of three Democratic candidates so far contemplating a run in 2014. Donald Berwick and Steve Grossman have both expressed interest in running. Berkwick was a guest
of the Brigades in April and Grossman earlier this year.
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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.
• Edward J. Markey, Democrat
• Brian J. Herr, Republican
• 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
• 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
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