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Shein Plans $2 Potluck Fundraiser
Shein Campaign On: 03:00PM / Tuesday July 31, 2012
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Democratic congressional candidate Bill Shein released the following statement on Tuesday:

On Friday, first lady Michelle Obama will visit Western Massachusetts to attend a series of fundraisers for the president's re-election campaign. First is a $2,500-per-person event in Springfield. Then a James Taylor concert in Pittsfield, where the least expensive ticket goes for $125 (the most expensive is $10,000).

Finally, on Friday evening, Gov. Deval Patrick will host Mrs. Obama at a $20,000-per-person fundraiser at his Richmond estate. Twenty people will attend, and the event will raise $400,000. That's right: $400,000 from just 20 people.

That our Democratic Party and its candidates have come to rely so heavily on money from those who can afford such amounts, as well as large checks from the corporate PACs and lobbyists who represent interests we should be fighting against, is simply unacceptable. For too long, that money has narrowed the agenda in Washington, shifted policymaking to the right, and left us with a democracy, economy, and environment in crisis.

Over the last quarter-century, rank-and-file Democrats have been told by party leaders and longtime Democratic incumbents that our party needs to raise corporate money, and accept large checks from lobbyists and wealthy individuals, if we're to win elections.

But don't worry, we've been told, because all that money won't impact the Democratic Party's ability to stand up for working people, create a fair economy, do what's necessary on the environment, or advance the political reform that will make our democracy work for everyone.

Well, it hasn't turned out that way.

American democracy is rotting from the inside, drowning in corporate money, lobbyist money, and large checks from a tiny fraction of our society. Compared to other major democracies, voter participation here is shockingly low. Our economy is unfair, unjust, unworkable, and unsustainable. And on the environment, catastrophic climate change becomes more likely with each passing day, yet the massive action required to address it is not being discussed in this election year.

This way of doing things simply can't continue.

I'm running for Congress because we need Democrats who will speak out against this unacceptable status quo, and not offer the shrugs, excuses, and rationalizations so common among those incumbent Democrats who refuse to do anything to change it.

That's why on Friday evening I will host a few friends and supporters at my house for a "$2 Per Person Pot Luck Dinner for Democracy." Each attendee will bring a dish that serves four-to-six people, so we should be amply fed while discussing how to advance public financing of elections, universal voter registration, jobs programs to put unemployed Americans to work right now, a freeze on all foreclosures, increasing taxes on the wealthy and global corporations, and massive action on climate change that begins by passing the "Save Our Climate Act" to put a price on carbon pollution.

Of course, to raise $400,000 at just $2 per person would mean inviting 200,000 people to the modest house I rent in Alford. The last time we had that many people over (for the "Seinfeld" finale, maybe?) we were cleaning up for weeks. I vowed never to do that again. So this time we're keeping it small ...

While everyone understands the need to raise money for campaigns, it's long past time to elect Democrats who know we have to radically change our campaign-finance system. And fast. We simply can't continue down this road of a "democracy" funded substantially by a narrow, wealthy, and corporate elite – a problem that existed long before the Citizens United decision.

Indeed, we've already gone too far down that road. The results are painfully obvious to millions of struggling American families who lost jobs, homes, and retirement savings in the latest economic meltdown and who know the response from Washington has been wholly inadequate. They don't have $125 or $2,500 or $20,000 to donate to a political candidate.

In my view, ideas and candidates should sink or swim on the merits, not how much money is behind them. That's the promise of public financing of elections, and that's why I will champion that necessary reform, and many others, in the United States Congress.

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Nuciforo Proposes Federal Foreclosure Remedies
Nuciforo Campaign On: 04:28PM / Monday July 30, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Congressional candidate Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., a former state senator, on Sunday proposed that Congress adopt a new federal law to protect homeowners from unfair foreclosure practices.

"The cities of Springfield and Holyoke have been hit hard by the worst flood of foreclosures in decades," said Nuciforo, who is currently Middle Berkshire register of deeds. "These communities need leadership in Washington to prevent any further damage to homeownership, home equity, or community stability. Any homeowner who receives a foreclosure notice should be eligible for a mediation process, with mandatory participation from the lender. I propose that Congress adopt a measure to bring the homeowner and the lender together to resolve foreclosures and protect homeowners."

Nuciforo's proposal would permit the modification of interest rates and payment schedules, allow for principal reduction, and ban foreclosures without proper documentation.

Nuciforo noted that his proposal is based on legislation recently passed in Massachusetts. It requires lenders to determine if the net value of modifying an existing mortgage is greater than the anticipated recovery from foreclosure. If so, the lender is required to offer loan modification to the borrower.

According to the Hampden County Registry of Deeds, 1,937 foreclosure deeds went on record from Jan. 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2011.

"When it comes to protecting homeowners, Congressman Richard Neal has been largely absent," Nuciforo said. "In the years leading to the 2008 financial crisis, Congressman Neal consistently supported the deregulation of major mortgage lenders and other banks. Congressional support for deregulating lenders contributed substantially to the collapse of the housing market."

The congressional record reflects that from 1994 through 2000, Congressman Richard Neal of the 2nd Massachusetts supported five measures, including the repeal of Glass-Steagal in 1999, that deregulated the mortgage and banking sectors in the United States.

"While Congressman Neal worked to deregulate lenders and strip legal protections from consumers, I authored a successful measure in the Massachusetts Senate which enacted one of the toughest pro-consumer mortgage protection bills in the nation."

Nuciforo said that if Congress fails to act to protect homeowners this year he would submit legislation to do so within his first 90 days of taking office.

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Legal Association Endorses Harris for Register of Deeds
Harris Campaign On: 03:55PM / Monday July 30, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Association for Paralegals and Legal Secretaries has voted to endorse Patricia "Patsy" Harris for register of deeds for the Berkshire Middle District.

"As paralegals we have confidence in Patsy's knowledge and ability to answer our questions when they arise. She is always professional, and willing to help. It is vital to those of us who deal with the recording of real estate transactions on a regular basis to have the person who is elected as register of deeds be knowledgeable and ready to work the day after the election and Patsy is the only candidate who fits that description," said Helene Robillard, president of the BAPLS.

"I am honored to have the support of the BAPLS association. This organization is comprised of paralegals and legal secretaries within Berkshire County and provides educational seminars along with scholarships for local high school students. I look forward to working closely with the members of the association as the next register of deeds," said Harris.

Harris, who is currently an assistant register of deeds, has previously received the endorsements of current Register of Deeds Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. and Mary K. O'Brien, who was formerly register of deeds for 30 years.

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Nuciforo Releases 8-Point Plan for Economic Justice
Nuciforo Campaign On: 06:51PM / Wednesday July 18, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Congressional candidate Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., Middle Berkshire registrar of deeds and former state senator, released on Tuesday an 8-point policy plan he said would "restore prosperity to the working and middle class residents of Central and Western Massachusetts."

Nuciforo spent the day visiting various parts of the 1st Massachusetts District, including Pittsfield and North Adams, to meet with voters ad business owners and explain his policies.

Titled "A Promise to the Middle Class: An Eight Point Blueprint to Restore Economic Justice in America," the plan outlines priorities in reviving manufacturing; rebuilding infrastructure; investing in education for a modern workforce; providing tax relief to the middle class; ensuring retirement security; strengthening financial reform; repealing Citizens United; and revitalizing small businesses.

"In the last several years, we've seen the fundamental promise of middle class mobility falling away," Nuciforo said. "This promise has been broken, and working- and middle-class families have come under tremendous pressure. I come from a manufacturing town similar to many in this district, and the damage done by the disappearance of middle-skill jobs that paid a living wage and provided healthcare and retirement security is considerable.

"That is why I'm releasing this plan today — to let people in the 1st district know that I will never forget where I come from, and I will fight to restore basic economic justice to the middle class."
A copy of the 33-page full report can be seen at

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Shein Accepts Invitations to Six Media-Sponsored Debates
Shein Campaign On: 09:02AM / Monday July 16, 2012
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Democratic Congressional candidate Bill Shein confirmed on Friday that he has accepted invitations from six media outlets across the new 1st Congressional District to debate the other candidates in the race, longtime 2nd District incumbent Rep. Richard Neal and the Berkshire Middle District Register of Deeds Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr.

Since March, he has agreed to the following events, all of which will take place during Congress' summer recess that begins on Saturday, Aug. 4:

1. New England Public Radio (NEPR): Live one-hour forum, week of Aug. 6

2. WGBY Public Television: Airing Monday, Aug. 20, 8 p.m.

3. Pittsfield Gazette (broadcast on local cable): Public forum at Berkshire Community College, Monday, Aug. 27, 7 p.m.

4. Westfield News: Public forum at Westfield State University, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 7 p.m.

5. WWLP/NBC22 TV: Live 30-minute debate, week of Aug. 27

6. WBEC/WSBS/WNAW radio (covers all of Berkshire County): Live 60-minute debate in mid/late August TBD

Shein issued the following statement:

"Restoring a robust, healthy democracy that ensures the people's priorities set the agenda in Washington requires substantive, independent, in-depth press coverage. These media-sponsored debates and forums, some of which will include a live audience, will help provide that to voters across the new First District.

"I strongly believe that ideas, and candidates, should sink or swim on the merits, not on how much money is behind them. For decades, public policy in the United States has been undermined and distorted by billions of dollars in campaign contributions and lobbying by status-quo corporate and wealthy interests. Today, that money drowns out the voices and ideas we need more than ever, and puts an extra burden on the media to properly inform the public about candidates and issues.

"This is a fine example of local journalism playing its vital and necessary role in our democracy. I fully expect the other candidates to join me at all six of these media-sponsored events – conveniently scheduled during Congress' monthlong summer recess – for a discussion of the full range of domestic and foreign-policy issues."

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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.

2010 Special Senate Election Results

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