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Coakley, Baker to Face Off in November Election
By Andy McKeever On: 10:38PM / Tuesday September 09, 2014
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The slate of candidates in the statewide general election is set.
 
For governor, Charlie Baker soared to victory in the Republican primary Tuesday over Mark Fisher. And Berkshire native Martha Coakley won in the Democratic primary. Those two will join independent Evan Falchuk in the November general election to choose Gov. Deval Patrick's replacement.
 
"It is a new day, let's make it ours," Coakley said to conclude a speech to supporters Tuesday night when she outlined a platform based on making pre-K universal, requiring earned sick time for workers, improved mental health services and "regional economies."
 
"We want all of our kids to find a dream and give them a chance to follow it," Coakley said of her education plan.
 
She added that she wants to spend $500 million in a 10-year period to grow regional economies.
 
Coakley will be paired with lieutenant governor candidate Steve Kerrigan, who won his nomination over Mike Lake and Leland Cheung. Kerrigan had 50 percent of the state's vote compared to Cheung's 30 percent and 20 percent for Lake.
 
Coakley soared locally with North County strongly behind her — particularly in North Adams, where she graduated high school. In North Adams, she had 68 percent compared to Steven Grossman's 19 percent and 13 percent for Donald Berwick. 
 
However, less than 10 percent of registered voters made it to the polls. A total of 824 voters of the 8,720 registered voted.
 
Election worker Ron O'Brien said it was the "slowest" he's ever seen in an election. That was common all across the state, with many towns reporting turnout in the teens. In Adams, only 679 of the 5,858 registered voters turned out.
 
"I think we hit 12 percent, which isn’t great, but it is good," said Town Clerk Haley Meczywor said. "Two years ago, we had 14 percent so we weren’t too far off."
 
In other parts of the county, the race was closer. In Pittsfield, Coakley had 1,193 votes to Grossman's 910 and Berwick's 630 — 43 percent, 33 percent and 22 percent. Pittsfield also saw a low voter turnout with only 11 percent of the 28,083 voters making it to the polls.
 
Coakley barely squeaked by in the primary against Grossman and Berwick. Coakley and Grossman were running neck and neck throughout the night as the results came in. However, Coakley kept a 5 percent lead — with just more than 40 percent of the vote — over Grossman. Losing by that 5 percent at about 10:30 p.m., Grossman conceded.
 
"We may have fallen short by 5 percentage points. But, we didn't fall short," Grossman said.
 
He told supporters he was proud of their work and that while the campaign didn't win, it did create an army of activists. The election is more about the ideas, he said. And that is why despite the loss, Grossman is supporting the Democratic nominee in Coakley.
 
"I want to make sure a Democrat is in the third-floor corner office and I will do everything I can to make that happen," he said.
 
The state party has already been focusing on the general election and Coakley said now is the time for Democrats to unite.
 
"We are united as a party and I welcome them and all of their supporters in the fight we have ahead," Coakley said.
 
With about three-quarters of the Republican vote, Baker claimed victory by 10 p.m. He and Karyn Polito, who ran unopposed for the lieutenant governor nomination, will now be at the top of the Republican ticket. 
 
"Tonight the campaign for a better Massachusetts begins," Baker told supporters as begins to focus the campaign on his Democratic opponents.
 
In accepting the Republican nomination, Baker said the Democrats have already launched negative attack ads against him. 
 
"They need the people of Massachusetts to vote against me because they are not going to be able to get the people to vote for their candidate," Baker said.
 
But, he says he and Polito have plans to create jobs, clean up the welfare system, keep taxes low, and restore fiscal discipline. He took his own shots at Democrats saying their leadership has led to corruption and scandals — specifically in the probate court.
 
Baker won in nearly all of the towns across the state. Three towns he didn't win were in the Berkshires. Republican voters picked Fisher in Clarksburg by a 16-13 vote; Becket with a 22-4 vote; and in Sandisfield with a 9-6 vote.
 
Baker says his party will give a "new direction" instead of more of the status quo. He said his administration will be "smarter, faster and better" while the Democrats will be "bigger, slower, more complicated and a lot more expensive.
 
Coakley, speaking about an hour after Baker, shot back saying that Baker isn't the independent he is claiming to be. She cited his previous campaign for governor when she says he was a "tea party Republican."
 
"We believe the voters are smart enough to see though Charlie's superficial transformation," Coakley said.
 
She challenged Baker to a "people's pledge" to keep money raised from super PACs out of the general election.
 
"I'm in this fight for you for people who don't have money or power," Coakley said.
 
Also running for governor in the general election is Falchuk of the United Independent Party.
 
In other races, Maura Healey won the Democratic primary for attorney general. She defeated Warren Tolman for the position with 62 percent of the state's vote.
 
Healey cited her focus on foreclosures, bullying and workers being "cheated" as leading to an overwhelming victory. She will now take on Republican John Miller in the general election.
 
"These are the fights that have driven this campaign for the beginning," Healey said. "And now I am ready to take this fight on to November."
 
Deborah Goldberg won the Democratic primary for treasurer over Barry Finegold and Tom Conroy. She will face off against Republican candidate Michael J. Heffernan, who ran unopposed in the primary.
 
Democratic Adams Clarksburg Great Barrington Lenox North Adams Pittsfield Williamstown
Governor              
Coakley 432 69 173 191 501 1193 337
Grossman 110 20 104 200 140 910 164
Berwick 70 13 289 152 94 630 242
Lt. Governor              
Cheung 127 19   164 134 597 287
Kerrigan 331 69   169 361 1208 239
Lake 79 5   73 101 486 93
Attorney General              
Healey 440 70   414 520 1871 549
Tolman 129 24   76 150 694 142
Treasurer              
Conroy 222 34   144 254 911 202
Finegold 120 34   124 149 550 140
Goldberg 198 23   191 178 919 256
Republican              
Governor              
Baker 52 13 44 31 53 198 31
Fisher 11 16 8 16 28 119 14

 

 



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Gubernatorial Candidate Berwick Makes Primary Push in Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever On: 05:09PM / Saturday September 06, 2014
Donald Berwick personally thanked supporters for their volunteer efforts in this last weekend before the primary.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It was April 2013 when Donald Berwick first came to Pittsfield asking for support in his bid for governor.
 
Since then he's laid the ground work and earned enough support at the Democratic convention to stay on the ballot. This weekend it all comes to fruition — or, as he says, "it's game time."
 
"This has been an amazing week. You can feel people who have not been paying attention to the race turning their attention to us. We're emphasizing the distinctive differences between me and the other candidates," Berwick said.
 
"I am the only candidate committed to single-payer health care, which is Medicare for all and is a major step forward for the state. I am the only candidate opposing casinos. I am the only candidate speaking with clarity what we need to do for hunger and homelessness."
 
Berwick is hoping for the Democratic nomination and a chance to face off against the presumed Republican candidate Charlie Baker. Berwick was one of the first candidates to staff Western Massachusetts offices and the only one to open an office in Pittsfield for volunteers helping with the final push. In the month of August alone, the campaign has raised about a quarter of a million dollars, he said.
 
In the next few days, 80,000 doors will be knocked on and thousands of phone calls will be make from volunteers telling residents why they should vote for the doctor. 
 
"I think this state stands a chance of being the kind of example the country needs and it's not going to happen with the regular politicians. It just isn't. We've seen too much of it. It has to be someone coming in with a different background," Berwick said. 
 
Berwick comes from outside of the political sphere. He started as a pediatrician and then formed the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a nonprofit organization that has grown to have hundreds of employees. He got his first taste of public life as a presidential appointee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where he was tasked with implementing a majority of the Affordable Care Act.
 
"My whole life has been about solutions," Berwick said in a rally speech to the Pittsfield volunteers on Saturday.
 
He says his competitors Martha Coakley and Steve Grossman won't take the bold steps he is willing to take. It is those difference Berwick says he is trying to show voters before Tuesday's primary. He says he is the best candidate for election in November because he makes decisive statements.
 
"The insider baseball, the lobbyist influence, the back slapping is just too great. It is paralyzing us," Berwick said. "It is one of the reasons, as opposed to my opponents, to speak out with real strength on issues that are hard to address but we've got to address — single-payer health care for the commonwealth."
 
He later added, "the core idea is that if you really want solutions and problem solving in the governor's office, I am your candidate. I don't owe lobbyist favors. I didn't pat anyone's back on Beacon Hill," Berwick said.
 
Ann Berwick is attending some 20 campaign rallies this weekend with her husband.
Sherwood Guernsey, former state representative, says he'll be voting for Berwick based on his values.
 
"I'm attracted to Don because he understands that it is not just one class. It is not about political interest. It isn't about any of that. What are your values?" Guernsey said. "Here is a guy who stood up for us. He didn't have to do this. He is not a lifelong politician."
 
Berwick is also opposing casinos, citing an array of negative affects they bring to the economy — a stance neither of the other candidates have taken.
 
In speaking to the volunteer base on Saturday, Berwick pulled a note from his back pocket from a homeless artist with the words "remember me" on it. He told his staff that he's heard that statement at nearly every campaign stop. And Berwick says he won't just be here asking for votes before the election but he'll be back after.
 
"I believe in regional equity. The concern people have about being forgotten, they don't have to worry about that for me," Berwick said.
 
Berwick's wife, Ann, appeared with the candidate Saturday.
 
"He is just as warm, honest and compassionate and frankly inspiring as he appears," Ann Berwick told the supporters.
 
She later said, "there are two kinds of voters in this election, those who support Don and those who haven't met him."
 
 
The Road To The Primary:
Ex-Medicare Chief Mulling Run for Governor
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Lt Gov. Candidate Kerrigan Confident With Berkshire Support
By Andy McKeever On: 10:12AM / Tuesday September 02, 2014
Former City Councilor Pete White, Pittsfield's Shannon Grant Coordinator Adam Hinds, lieutenant governor candidate Steve Kerrigan and Sheriff Thomas Bowler at a meet and greet at Mad Jack's last Tuesday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In 2009, state and federal officials broke ground on the Soldier On's Gordon Mansfield Center on West Housatonic Street.
 
Neither U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy nor Steve Kerrigan were able to attend that day. But Kerrigan, then Kennedy's political aide, remembers working out the details of the federal earmark making that construction possible.
 
Last week, years after the center opened, Soldier On Executive Vice President Steven Como was at Mad Jack's Barbecue supporting Kerrigan's campaign for lieutenant governor.
 
"We've got a lot of great support for activists and organizers in the region and we feel good about it. This is a region where I'm not a stranger. I've worked with Steve Como when I worked for Sen. Kennedy's office on early funding for veterans' issues. I worked with Gerry Doyle as mayor with the consent degree in Pittsfield. I've worked with Lance Crane to make sure we kept Crane Paper's [currency] contract and that Congress didn't mess with that," Kerrigan said.
 
"This is not an area that I'm unfamiliar with and folks I've known for more than 20 years are coming out to help my campaign."
 
The Lancaster Democratic has already received the support of state Sen. Benjamin Downing and state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli and recently earned the endorsement of Sheriff Thomas Bowler. Beyond that, he says he has the support of many party activists.
 
Kerrigan says he has connections with the Berkshires running back 20 years. He remembers in 1996 receiving a 7 a.m. phone call from Kennedy asking if saw the news that Crane & Co. was on the verge of losing the federal currency contract, which would have left hundreds out of work in Berkshire County. 
 
"We went to work that day and every day after for 18 months with Lance Crane down in Washington to make sure that contract was preserved and it was. We're very proud of that," Kerrigan said. "That is the kind of work government can do for a community, for a company that means so much for the community and for the whole commonwealth. That's what I want to do."
 
And he says he has similar support all over the state, heading into the Sept. 9 primary.
 
"We feel we have a lot of strong support across Massachusetts. I have 15 mayors, almost 50 legislators, five sheriffs. We have support both geographically diverse, ideologically diverse and we feel strong in every corner of the commonwealth. It will be tough to tell but we feel confident," Kerrigan said. 
 
Kerrigan, left, fields questions from resident Frank Sturgis.
Kerrigan won the Democratic State Convention and has led in polls over Mike Lake and Leland Cheung. He campaigned in the Berkshires on both Sunday and Tuesday in what he says is a jammed-packed push for the nomination. 
 
"We've had a tour of Massachusetts in just the last two weeks. We're covering 35, 36 communities in three or four weeks with events every night. We don't have a day off and we've just been connecting with voters through meet and greets and house parties," he said.
 
Kerrigan says he is confident with the "grassroots" organization his campaign has built.
 
"The polls show us in the lead, with a huge undecided but still in the lead, and we know we have the organization to do this in the next two weeks and come out on Sept. 9," Kerrigan said. 
 
Kerrigan is hoping to win the nomination and be paired with whomever wins the Democratic governor primary for the general election. While he has been focused on the primary and the state party has been focused on the general election, Kerrigan says his campaign has always been focused on winning on Nov. 4.
 
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Smitty Pignatelli Launches Campaign For 7th House Term
By Andy McKeever On: 05:45PM / Friday August 29, 2014
State Reps. Gailanne Cariddi, Stephen DiNatale and William "Smitty" Pignatelli.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Nearly 300 people filled the Pittsfield County Club on Thursday night to support William "Smitty" Pignatelli's election campaign.
 
The 4th Berkshire District representative is running unopposed for what will be his 7th term. 
 
"I never dreamed of being here for 12 years and going again," Pignatelli said, overlooking the large crowd to kick off his re-election campaign. 
 
"We've done a lot of great things" in the House, he said, but he believes there is more to do. He cited the state's work on requiring all citizens to have health care but said "we have more to do to maintain affordability, to maintain access for individuals and businesses."
 
He said the state needs to do more for job creation — particularly with modern manufacturing companies to reverse the declining population — and that while the state has invested a lot in higher education, students are still taking on too much debt.
 
Meanwhile, Pignatelli said the state is "well positioned" financially for the future.
 
"We are well positioned to take off when the economy really gets rolling," Pignatelli said. "I think the Berkshires is going to be first out of the gates when things get rolling."
 
The state has more than $1 billion set aside in the so-called  "rainy day fund" and the recession has been "rainy," he said. But he believes the economy is turning around.
 
One of the Berkshire's top economies is tourism and leaders of the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Berkshire Visitor's Bureau teamed up to present a gift of thanks for the effort he's put toward the cultural economy.
 
"We're so grateful of how you support to cultural community and all that you do for us," said Norman Rockwell Museum Director Laurie Norton Moffatt.
 
Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Steve Grossman was one of many elected officials on hand for the event.
Pignatelli was a model for Rockwell when he was a boy and Moffatt and Berkshire Visitors Bureau President Laurie Klefos successfully pitched that story to a national magazine on legislators. They presented Pignatelli with a framed copy of the article.
 
Outgoing Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts President Mary Grant told of Pignatelli's work on forming the Berkshire Compact in which he kept the focus on the students.
 
"When we need to make a case for increased funding for public higher education, Smitty got himself on the committee on higher education so that he could be a voice not just for MCLA or BCC but for the students all across the commonwealth. He did that with great distinction and passion," Grant said.
 
Grant called Pignatelli more than "an incredible legislator" but also a friend. Another friend of Pignatelli's, state Rep. Stephen DiNatale, drove from Fitchburg for the event. DiNatale said they have become great friends through their work at the State House.
 
"You can see how much respect and love you have for Smitty Pignatelli. You have to return him to the State House for as long as he wants to return because he is the integrity in the State House. People talk about politicians, integrity and honesty, he is all of those things," DiNatale said. "That is a genuine compliment. This is a great indication of how you feel about Smitty and you are all very, very right."
 
Thankful for the remarks, Pignatelli then dedicated the campaign to his parents who he says instilled the tradition of "giving back." 


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Attorney General Candidate Tolman Talks Drugs, Guns in Election Bid
By Andy McKeever On: 03:52AM / Friday August 29, 2014
Warren Tolman spoke to area Democrats on Sunday at Camp Russell.
RICHMOND, Mass. — Warren Tolman remembers one particular night he took his son trick-or-treating.
 
"Two weeks after my dad died — he was the third of three to die — we were going out trick-or-treating, my son and I. He was dressed as a cowboy with the chaps and all of the stuff cowboys wear. As we're walking out the door, he looks up to me and says 'dad, all cowboys smoke,'" Tolman told iBerkshires on Sunday in an interview at Camp Russell.
 
That was more than 20 years ago when he was in the state Legislature and it would trigger his all-out offensive against tobacco companies.
 
"They got my father. They got my mother. They got my aunt. They will not get my son. I just went after them with all the vigor and energy I could."
 
As both a state representative and state senator, Tolman headed a movement against tobacco companies  from Beacon Hill. He pushed for the ban on smoking in restaurants and sales of individual cigarettes. He forced the companies to disclose their additives and ingredients, among the array of laws passed in the 1990s.
 
"I was attacked by Rush Limbaugh and called an 'anti-smoking nazi' — that's how I knew I was doing something right," Tolman said.
 
The Democrat also worked on campaign finance reform and crafted laws to protect victims of domestic abuse during his time in the Legislature. And he was happy with his work over an eight-year period.
 
Tolman then ran for lieutenant governor in 1998 but lost in the general election. Four years later, he lost a bid for governor.
 
At that point, he dropped out of the public eye and went back to being an attorney, with international law firm Holland & Knight, while teaching at Boston College on the side. He raised three children.
 
Then the Boston Marathon bombing happened and one of the alleged bombers was tracked to Tolman's hometown as the city was shut down.
 
"I had the SWAT team come through my house. We could talk for two hours on just that day. But, when you are standing at the top of your basement stairs with your 15-year-old daughter beside you and these guys are in your basement at the foot of your stairs, you hear one of them yell 'door open right,' you see the guns turn to the right and for a second you think 'my goodness, is this going to go down in my basement?'" Tolman said. 
 
"I think about what those guys are trying to do to make a difference. They put their lives on the line for me and my family. I harkened back to my tenure in the Legislature and I like the feeling that I made a difference."
 
Tolman started to think about going back to politics. When Attorney General Martha Coakley announced her candidacy for governor, two former attorney generals, knowing Tolman's thoughts of possibly re-entering the public sphere, urged him to run for it.
 
"I was proud of those initiatives and I know I've saved some lives. I know kids aren't smoking today because of my efforts and I'm really proud of that," Tolman said. "I look at the AG's office today as one that can have a tremendous impact on new issues."
 
Those new issues include bring "smart gun" technology into the state. Tolman refers to the technology as "seat belts for guns" in which the handles of guns are equipped with palm-print sensors that will only allow certain people to fire. Tolman says the National Riffle Association has essentially forced Smith & Wesson, which developed the product, to shelve the technology. Tolman wants to make it mandatory.
 
Tolman says he wants to go after the "drug scourge" that is plaguing the commonwealth. He says he wants to force pill producers to make tamper-resistant medicine, sue the pharmaceutical companies for any unfair and deceptive behavior and bring up charges on doctors who are overprescribing. Meanwhile, with laws now forcing insurance companies to pay longer stays for substance abuse recovery, Tolman says he is ready to ensure that actually happens.
 
"Mine is a broad vision. It is a vision in which one can utilize the attorney general's office to make a dramatic impact on a wide range of issues," he said.
 
But the job isn't just about prosecuting and investigating, Tolman said, but also advocating for laws in the Legislature and bringing various parties together. 
 
For example, Tolman is calling for a summit to bring the state's colleges and university together to develop and implement best practices to combat sexual assault on campus. He also says he wants to make the process for residents to file consumer complaints easier.
 
"I know that when we make college campuses safer, other states will do so after. I know that if address the opioid scourge, it will be a nationally prescient thing. I know that when we make smart-gun technology finally available in Massachusetts, other states will follow," Tolman said. "It's about being a leader."
 
Tolman is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general against Maura Healey. The winner of Sept. 9th's primary will then take on Republican John Miller.
 
Tolman says not only is he the best candidate for the attorney general position but that he can help the entire Democratic party's ticket.
 
"I think I add a lot to the Democratic party in terms of the electability of the entire Democratic ticket. I appeal to a progressive Democrat as well as appeal to the working-class, blue-collar folks," Tolman said. "It is about appealing across the board."


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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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The Massachusetts Junior...
The Massachusetts Junior Classics League held its fall...
Football: Hoosac Valley vs...
Hoosac Valley overpowers Drury 63-12, Saturday afternoon.
Pittsfield Halloween Parade...
Monsters and zombies, princesses and Jedi ushered in the...
Soccer: Wahconah vs Lenox
Collin Parrott scored three times on Tuesday to lead the...
Soccer: McCann Tech vs...
McCann Tech senior Austin Worth scores the game-winner in a...
Grant & Canavan Farewell...
MCLA President Mary Grant and her husband, James Canavan,...
Girls Soccer: Franklin Tech...
McCann Tech girls celebrate 3-0 semi-finals win advance to...
Girls Soccer: Pittsfield vs...
The Pittsfield and Wahconah girls soccer teams on Tuesday...
Soccer: Putnam vs McCann Tech
The McCann Tech boys soccer team closed out the home...
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