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Coakley Stresses Commitment to Berkshires
By Tammy Daniels On: 11:47AM / Sunday October 05, 2014
Gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley greets supporters at the Freight Yard Pub after a day of campaign stops that started in Dorchester. She also met with voters in Great Barrington and Pittsfield.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Martha Coakley ended a swing through the state on Saturday by toasting a title she hopes to claim on Nov. 4: Governor Coakley.

The Drury High School graduate vowed she hasn't — and wouldn't — forget her home county to the small group gathered in the courtyard of the Freight Yard Pub.

"I promise you, as your governor, if you help me get elected, and I know we can do this, I will have your back," the Democratic candidate said.

Part of that will be ensuring health care access, Coakley said, including mental and behavioral care.

"Let's make sure that every part of the state, including North Adams, has the primary care and health care you need and deserve."

In North County, most residents believe that means ensuring the former North Adams Regional Hospital reopens in some form.

Coakley noted her office is still investigating the actions of the former health-care system's board of trustees in its closure and the efforts by her office and local and state officials in restoring emergency services.

"It needs to be a full, concentrated effort still to see what else do we need and how do we that," she said. "I will be committed to doing that as governor, as well as working with the your new attorney general, and I believe it will be [Democrat] Maura Healey, who oversees not-for-profits, to make sure we get real access for people out here in the Berkshires."

The Democratic candidate hammered on her campaign platform of educational investment and workforce training, health care access, broadband access, transportation infrastructure, clean energy and development of precision technology to continue to rejuvenate the economy in a sustainable manner, and build on previous efforts by current Gov. Deval Patrick.

"Not just bring in a big-box store and bringing in businesses that take up roots when the economy changes," she said. "Let's build a sustainable economy."

Coakley said she also will continue efforts in sustainable and alternative energy developed by the Patrick administration.

"I've been impressed with what Governor Patrick has done," she said. "Of course, Sen. Benjamin Downing has been a leading voice in moving Massachusetts ahead."

She later added, "We want kind of sustainable, regional economic plan for North Adams, the county, it has to include a clean-energy feature."

What she doesn't support is the current proposal to run a natural gas transmission line through parts of the Berkshires and across the state. The Kinder Morgan Energy project has been heavily opposed by small towns along the route.

"That proposal by Kinder Morgan is not the right proposal for the neighborhoods that they plan to go through," said Coakley.

With less than five weeks to the election, Coakley, the current attorney general, is trying to get some daylight between herself and Republican candidate Charlie Baker. The most recent polls show the two in a dead heat, with Coakley marginally ahead.

Not surprisingly, she has stressed her local connections in a region that's long felt ignored by the heavily populated east end of the state. Born in Lee and raised in North Adams, she also was in the first Williams College class to graduate women who had attended all four years.

Accompanied by her husband, Thomas F. O'Connor Jr., and her two sisters, Anne Gentile and Mary Coakley-Welch (whose husbands also hail from North Adams), Coakley was welcomed by supporters and patrons of the pub, stopping to pose for photographs, talk policy or just greet old friends.

She will also march in the annual Fall Foliage Parade on Sunday afternoon.

"It's heartwarming for me to come home," she said. "I started out my campaign here, we kicked this off here a year ago.

"I said we're not going to get in this race unless we pour our heart and soul into it and we put together a team to help us."

Baker, she said, doesn't have the same level of committment to protecting children from abuse, to keep people from losing their homes or investing in mental and behavioral health care.

"My Republican opponent, if he knows how to get to North Adams, isn't going to come here very often."

Coakley said she won't forget her city or the Berkshires.

"I will make sure that we in Massachusetts, in every corner, from Merrimack Valley to the South Coast to North Adams, we will be prosperous and fair."



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Candidates Showing Differences As Governor's Race Heats Up
By Andy McKeever On: 06:27PM / Tuesday September 30, 2014
Martha Coakley after Monday's debate, which kicked off what will become a heated six weeks leading up to the November general election.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The gubernatorial candidates are viewing Monday's debate as the true beginning of the campaign for the corner office on Beacon Hill.
 
Most of the five candidates have been on the trail for more than a year either to win primaries or get a head start in an independent campaign. But, in Monday's debate the jockeying for position and try to separate themselves from the pack really took off.
 
"This was our first televised debate. I think there are differences here in earned sick time, early education, investing in people, good mental health care, the kind of things most people in Massachusetts, when they really focus on this race, will see that I will be a good governor, a great governor," said Democratic candidate Martha Coakley after the debate at Springfield's CityStage. 
 
"I think that as we focus on our ground game, we'll get the vote out. This race has really just started. We're going to continue to push every day."
 
The attorney general is in a tie with Republican Charlie Baker in the polls. On Monday, two separate polls showed Baker and Coakley with more than 40 percent of the vote each and the three independents in single digits. So it is no surprise that they were focusing on each other's debate responses.
 
"I think we disagree on taxes generally. I think most voters in Massachusetts would like to see state government tighten its belt a bit because that's what they felt they've been doing for the better part of the last six or seven years," Baker said following the debate. "I said I am not going to raise taxes. The attorney general has left that wide open."
 
Coakley said Baker believes in tax cuts in hopes that the benefits "trickle down," which she said doesn't work. Baker used the gas tax as an example, saying Coakley supports linking the tax with inflation while he feels it any increase should be voted on.
 
"I think there are a lot of differences between Charlie Baker and me. Not just tonight but in the course of this race. I believe in early education and paying for it," Coakley said. "I believe in earned sick time. I believe women should have access to health care without question. I believe I will be willing to invest in our kids, our workforce development, our people in Massachusetts."
 
While the two leaders say there are dramatic differences between them, many of the hot topics during Monday's debate drew similar responses. Both said they support the MGM Resorts casino project in Springfield. Both said they want to continue investing in both early education and higher education — though their level of commitment differed. Both supported moving forward with medical marijuana as planned. And both talked about working with cities and towns to create an economic development policy.
 
Charlie Baker, left, is polling at just more than 40 percent. He and Coakley are in a dead heat for the corner office.
"I think the most important thing I bring to the table is a comprehensive vision to grow jobs and build great communities across the commonwealth. We've put that on our website. We've put specific details on that since we got into this race," Baker, a former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care executive, said.
 
While the two parties battle out their differences, the independents find themselves far behind. Evan Falchuk, Scott Lively and Jeff McCormick trail significantly in polling.
 
"It is not easy," said Falchuk when asked about closing the gap in poll numbers. "If it were easy, every one would do it."
 
But he isn't giving up. The entrepreneur says both of the parties are just giving "vague platitudes" in the race and his plan is to present specific viewpoints. He hopes to attract those who haven't picked a side yet.
 
"It is still early in this race. There is a lot of voters who aren't sure what they'll do," Falchuk said.
 
While Falchuk seems to be positioning himself as one outside of the current system, McCormick says he just as good, if not better, than the two party candidates.
 
"Charlie is not a typical Republican candidate. He has experience that Martha doesn't have. And Martha has experience on the legal side. I think we need real business experience to grow the commonwealth," the Boston venture capitalist said.
 
For him, the debate is all about exposure as he makes the point that he has just as legitimate a shot for the corner office as the front-runners. 
 
Lively proved to be the least like any of the others. The evangelical Springfield pastor made waves with anti-gay remarks and a dismissal of climate change as a "scam." He's a well-known international anti-LGBT activist and a civil case accuses him of heavily influencing Uganda's harsh laws against homosexuals.
 
"The voters now know there is only one pro-life, pro-family candidate, who holds genuinely conservative viewpoints on the issues. I'm happy to be that candidate," Lively said.
 
One of his remarks triggered a sharp response from Baker, who felt Lively's statement that sexual perversion was corroding the state was a personal insult. During the debate Baker told Lively that was offended by the remark.
 
"I brought it up because it was pretty clear he was talking about my family. If you are going to talk about my family, you are going to hear from me. That is the way I am built and the way I work," Baker said after the debate.
 
Lively had another view saying, "that was a cheap shot by Charlie. I was not attacking his family. I am talking about the whole spectrum of sexual behavior outside of marriage."
 
When asked about offending others in the first state in the country to legalize gay marriage with such comments, Lively said, "these are people who are very easily offended. They have a completely opposite world view. I am sorry that they feel that way but I am not going to start legitimizing sexual perversion just because they are unhappy about it."


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Democratic Leaders Rally Support For Coakley, Party Slate
By Andy McKeever On: 01:30AM / Sunday September 28, 2014
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal was one of the speakers at Saturday's grand opening of the Democratic campaign's Berkshire office.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A cadre of elected officials rallied supporters for the statewide Democratic candidates Saturday morning in the new Berkshire campaign headquarters.
 
The Democratic Coordinated Campaign held a grand opening of a Berkshire office on South Street in Pittsfield with an array of elected officials on hand.
 
"Over the last four years, led by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick and supported by the Democratic congressional delegations and Democratic elected officials up and down the ticket, we have put Massachusetts back in the leadership business again," said state Sen. Benjamin Downing, who is the chairman of the coordinated campaign. 
 
"Democrats have a record to run on. For their 16 years of governor, Republicans have a record to run from."
 
The group threw their support behind Martha Coakley and Steve Kerrigan for the executive offices and a Democratic ticket including Deborah Goldberg for treasurer; Maura Healey for attorney general; William Galvin for the secretary of the commonwealth; Suzanne Bump for auditor; and on the federal level, Edward Markey for U.S. Senate. There are also a series of unopposed races.
 
Part of the coordinated campaign is emphasizing the difference between the Republican leadership of the past and the Democratic leadership of Patrick, Downing said.
 
The governor said having Coakley as his successor is a vote for the future of the commonwealth. While many may talk about Patrick's "legacy" as he leaves office, the governor said he doesn't see it that way. 
 
"This election, frankly just like the previous election and the election before that, is not about me. It is about whether we are in fact going to have the kind of leadership that is about the next generation and not the next election cycle," the governor said.
 
Patrick called the Democrats the "party of opportunity."
 
The officials at Saturday's event also included U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, state Reps. Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Paul Mark, District Attorney David Capeless, Sheriff Thomas Bowler and North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright.
 
"I'm going to do as much as the campaign asks me to. We were out last Thursday at three or four events with Steve Kerrigan. I've been out a couple times with Martha Coakley. I'll be out with her at two events [Sunday] — one is in Worcester and one in Dorchester," Patrick said. "I'll do as much as I can. I think it is a really important election."
 
Neal said he already threw a fundraising event to help replenish campaign funds expended during the primary. He said Coakley's campaign is about continuing what Patrick started. 
 
"We've got to move on to keeping his legacy alive by electing Martha Coakley as the governor of Massachusetts," Neal said.
 
Coakley, currently the attorney general, is a Berkshires native and graduate of Drury High and Williams College.
 
Capeless said he, too, is holding a fundraiser for Coakley but encouraged other Democrats to get those outside of the party involved. He rallied volunteers to talk to independents and others in hopes to get their votes.
 
But raising funds is only one step in the process. Officials called on volunteers to knock on doors and make phone calls to talk to potential voters.
 
"We have work to do. It has to be done in the usual ways. It has to be done by talking to your friends, neighbors and co-workers. It has to be done by talking to folks who don't already agree with us," Patrick said.
 
Downing said Coakley didn't lose the election for U.S. Senate to Scott Brown in 2010 because Brown did anything special but because he was able to get the Republican voters to the polls while Democrats only got 60 percent.
 
"I have seen a commitment to make sure that doesn't happen again," Downing said.


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Democrats, Republicans Open Berkshire Campaign Offices
By Andy McKeever On: 06:07PM / Saturday September 27, 2014
The Republicans opened an office in the former Pizza Hut in Coltsville.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Both the Republican and Democratic parties have opened campaign headquarters in the city for the November general election.
 
On Friday,local Republicans held an open house at their new headquarters in the former Pizza Hut on Dalton Avenue and on Saturday, Democrats held a grand opening of their South Street office. Both offices will be the Berkshire headquarters for the statewide election.
 
"There will be anywhere from two to five [here] people at night. We'll be open every day from 9 until 5 on weekdays and on weekends by appointment," said Berkshire County Republican Association Chairman Jim Bronson.
 
Democratic Western Massachusetts Field Director Jon D'Angelo said their office will be open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. The 2 South St. location will be the home of their efforts for canvassing and making phone calls.
 
"With 37 days left, we've got work to do," D'Angelo said on Saturday during the grand opening that featured Gov. Deval Patrick and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal. "This is going to serve as our hub."
 
The Democrats have Martha Coakley at the top of the ticket for governor and Steve Kerrigan as her running mate. Deborah Goldberg is the Democratic nominee for treasurer and Maura Healey for attorney general. William Galvin is seeking re-election for secretary of the commonwealth and Suzanne Bump is running for re-election as auditor. On the federal level, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey is up for re-election.
 
The Republicans have Charlie Baker at the top of their ticket forgovernor with Karyn Polito for lieutenant governor. John Miller is running for attorney general; Mike Heffernan for treasurer; Patricia Saint Aubin for auditor; and David D'Arcangelo for secretary of the commonwealth. Brian Herr is challenging Markey on the federal level for U.S. Senate.
 
"What a tremendous team we have here," Republican State Committee member Michael Case said at Friday's open house. "This is a great team and it is a team. They are all politicking together."
 
The Republicans believe that without an incumbent running for the governor's office, they can win the election. Case and Bronson both gave speeches to help rally the 60 or so Republicans who attended the open house. The Republican office was opened by the Berkshire County Republicans Association with help from the state party.
 
"This is one of the few times in recent history where we have an excellent chance to take over the corner office on Beacon Hill," Bronson said. "Our best shot right now is with Charlie and Karyn."
 
Case said the independent voters are the key to the election. 
 
"We're from Massachusetts. Two-thirds of my friends are Democrats and I am amazed at how many of them are telling me they don't like [Coakley] and are voting for Charlie," Case said. "If we can get them, we can get our targets, which are the independents."
 
On the Democratic side, nearly 100 people filled the South Street space, including an array of elected officers. 
 
"We have work to do. It has to be done in the usual ways. It has to be done by talking to you friends, neighbors and co-workers. It has to be done by talking to folks who don't already agree with us," the governor said. "These candidates are not running to be officeholders for Democrats. They are running to be officeholders for everybody and that means getting out and listening to everybody."
 
Democratic Western Massachusetts Field Organizer Jon D'Angelo welcomed Gov. Deval Patrick to the Pittsfield office.
Neal called for Democrats to stay competitive in the race even with the Citizens United decision, which has changed the way campaigns are financed. He called for volunteers to focus on the upcoming race.
 
"Citizens United was a disaster for American politics but that is the rule. We have to figure out how to address this to make sure our candidates are competitive," Neal said.
 
Neal said it is important to elect Coakley because it will continue the legacy Patrick started. Patrick, however, says it isn't about him.
 
"This election, frankly just like the previous election and the election before that, is not about me. It is about whether we are in fact going to have the kind of leadership that is about the next generation and not the next election cycle," he said.
 
With both party offices now open, both campaigns are calling on volunteers to help with canvassing and phone calls. 
 
"We know when we get our vote out to the polls, we will elections," said Chairman of the Democratic Coordinated Campaign state Sen. Benjamin Downing. "It is about organization and it is about communication."
 
Bronson emphasizesd that the campaign in the Berkshires will be "somebody who lives in the Berkshires calling people who live in the Berkshires." 


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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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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

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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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