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Republican Herr To Challenge Markey for Senate
By Andy McKeever On: 06:08PM / Wednesday July 16, 2014
Brian Herr says he'll represent the people of Massachusetts, not the party that put him on the ballot. His campaign site is here.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In 2010, Brian Herr said what he was supposed to say. He did what he was told to do.

But, he still lost the race for U.S. Senate.

This time, Herr isn't going to let the political insiders and strategists run his campaign.
 
"When you declare and you are reasonably viable and credible as a candidate for U.S. Congress, a lot of people put their fingers into your campaign, in you. They try to control you and mold you and they try to steer you," Herr said.
 
"I let some of that go on in 2010 and I shouldn't have."
 
The Hopkinton Republican says he learned a valuable lesson as he again vies for a seat in Congress.
 
Herr is challenging Democrat Edward Markey, who won the U.S. Senate seat in a special election last year to replace now Secretary of State John Kerry.
 
"I learned what to do. I learned what not to do and we're applying those lessons to this race," Herr told the Berkshire County Republicans on Tuesday.
 
Herr says he'll be speaking from his own experience and beliefs as he builds a campaign. He says there is a new way to govern and he is the leader to do it.
 
"A lot of people in politics today will just tell you what is wrong with the other side. They'll complain and they'll always be looking in the rearview mirror," Herr said. 
 
As a selectman in Hopkinton, Herr said his board implemented new rules when the town faced financial troubles. A hiring freeze put in place and a new procedure forcing department heads to justify their funding was put in place. That focus on not taxing the citizens turned into excess levy capacity, leading to an underride this past spring when voters reduced Hopkinton's levy capacity by $1.25 million.
 
As the economy turned around, Herr said there was a need for more firefighters, an increase in service voters were more willing to provide.
 
"I believe in government but only when it is managed well," Herr said.
 
It is that type of "running government like a business" that Herr says he'll bring to Washington, D.C. He has spent nearly 30 years in the private sector focused mostly on commercial construction. Most recently, he is an account executive at WESCO Distribution, a company supplying industrial electronics. 
 
"I get the real world we are all in. I get what it is like to pay people. I know what it is like to hire," Herr said. "Jobs come from understanding the private sector."
 
The University of Pittsburgh graduate moved the Massachusetts after college to work at Westinghouse. He has a wife and five kids and is serving his second term as a Hopkinton selectman.
 
"We have partisan elections by law. So the three times I've been elected, it said Brian Herr and Republican next to my name. I've always run as a Republican in a small town here in Massachusetts and I've won. I've won by building a coalition of voters in the community," Herr said.
 
"You have to build a coalition to win. I've had success doing that and that's what I am doing in this campaign for U.S. Senate."
 
That strategy has given him optimism in this campaign. However, he has so far flown under the radar in the political sphere. Some reports say he lacks the signatures to get on the ballot. Herr says that is exactly how he wants it.
 
"We are the raging underdog. I get it, but I am not crazy. We can win it. We are building a foundation, an organization, a brand that post-Labor Day, we will catch fire," Herr said. "Don't worry about the fact that you've never heard my name. Don't panic. Don't think there is no chance because there is."
 
When the campaign does "catch fire" Herr told his fellow Republicans that even they won't like what he has to say all of the time. That is because he isn't following the party lines like he did before.
 
"When you hear my name and see reports in the media, you will scratch your head a couple of times and think 'why would he say that, that's not what I think. That is not necessarily how I feel.' It is what I believe as a person and not because there is someone telling me what to say," Herr said.
 
Herr met with local Republicans at Zucco's Restaurant in Pittsfield on Tuesday.
And that is also how Herr says he'll represent the people of Massachusetts. 
 
"I don't believe in harsh partisan squabbles. I don't believe in behaving like a 2-year old. I don't blame the other side," Herr said. "I don't play the blame game.
 
"I will go to represent the people of Massachusetts, not the Republican party."
 
Particularly, he is looking at Washington as being full of "dysfunction" and wants to be elected to solve problems. One of the key issues Herr sees is repealing the federal Affordable Care Act in favor of states' making their own decisions.
 
"In Massachusetts, we had a process and a plan that we were working on and it got derailed," Herr said.
 
"We made the decision. You may not agree with it but we, collectively, made the decision a few years back for universal health care in Massachusetts. I support that. It is a Massachusetts issue, not a national one."
 
Immigration, too, is taking a heated role in the debates in Washington and Herr, whose parents emigrated to the States, says there needs to be a "reasonable" reform of the program. He said the "crisis of the moment" shouldn't dictate policy but reform should happen to give a path to citizenship while keeping illegal immigrants out.
 
"Today, the process manages the officials. It should be the exact opposite. In any organization — whether it be a media outlet, a business or General Dynamics — the management has to manage the process. The leaders have to manage the process. But right now, the situation with immigration in America, the situation is dictating what happens," Herr said.
 
Herr also says a balanced budget amendment and term limits would dramatically change the political landscape.
 
"I believe term limits will create a far different mindset for elected officials. If you know that you are going home in a few years to live in the world you are creating. If you know you are going home to operate a business that has to operate under the rules and regulations you are creating, you will probably think a little more about what you are doing," Herr said.
 
Herr is the only Republican in the race so far. He has partnered with Mass Victory, a Republican organization representing all of GOP campaigns, to lay down his campaign fundraising and organizing strategies.


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Independent Candidate For U.S. Senate Walks Into Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever On: 09:40AM / Thursday May 29, 2014

The systems dynamics engineer is running for Congress in an effort to start pushing money out of politics.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Bruce Skarin specializes in understanding the dynamics of mechanical systems over time.

After the terrorist attacks of 2001, he adapted that model to understand the dynamics of political systems — revealing that the attacks were in the making for a long time and could have been prevented and predicted if the "big picture" had been carefully analyzed.

"It was that day when a lot of things were turned upside down for me. I wanted to see what I could do with these new skills I had in trying to take on big problems. I did a model on terrorism and I was able to simulate the 10 years leading up to September 11," Skarin said last week as he walked through downtown meeting with residents and collecting signatures for a run for the U.S. Senate.

"I was able to simulate how things were building up and how different pieces of the problem were trying to prevent terrorism from happening and how other pieces were reinforcing the likelihood."

Now, in 2014, he says the government system is setting the wrong course. Instead of complaining about the influence of money in politics, the lack of environmental protections and a poor education system, Skarin has already announced his intention to challenge U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.

"Two years ago, when my second son was born, I was getting increasingly concerned with the future we're creating right now," he said. "As a simulation scientist, I understand how much inertia problems like national debt, climate change, a stagnant economy have. They have huge amounts of inertia that when the problems are starting to brew, it might not seem so bad. But by the time the really bad stuff starts happening, it is really hard to change."

Basically, Skarin believes Congress isn't moving fast enough the address coming issues. And, the main reason behind that is because of the influence large companies have over the elected officials.

"I'm independent because I believe both parties are blowing it. Neither one of them understand what the daily challenges are for most people," Skarin said. "I think the Washington elites are very much disconnected to the people they are supposed to represent."

For example, when it comes to global warming, he says Congress depends so much on the campaign donations from energy companies that it prevents any energy policy that will curb the issue.

Another example Skarin used is that in the future, vehicles and transportation will move to automatic systems — cutting down on car accidents. However, the insurance and health care industries benefit greatly from them. Instead of seeing he issue before it arises and starting to plan a future around those changes, Congress is swayed by the businesses that donate.

"I'd say that is the first issue. Until we can effectively deal with that, which is why I am running a citizen funded campaign and why I want to spend more of my time and energy connecting with people as opposed to raising money," he said.

In the current trajectory, money is growing in influence over public policy, he said. He wants to work toward removing that influence and said that then that economic markets can compete fairly, boosting the economy.

"It has gotten more and more expensive to run elections because people have gotten less and less interested in what's going on. They don't buy it anymore," he said. "It is reinforcing because the more money they raise, the more disgusted people get. The more disgusted people get, the more they tune out. The more they tune out, the more they have to spend to hit those prime time slots."

Skarin is walking eight to 20 miles a day through Massachusetts towns. He's meeting people, talking politics and having face-to-face conversations.

"I feel this is the right way to do it. I won't raise as much money as Markey. But he can't get out here and do this," Skarin said. "It isn't supposed to be about the money or running attack ads."

The 37-year-old Milbury man characterizes his political believes as taking the "best parts" of Republican Democratic platforms. While he sides with Republicans when it comes to fiscal conservative and individual responsibility principals, he sides with the Democrats when it comes to social justice issues.

"They're heart is in the right place but they don't really understand how to create sustainable solutions," he said of Democrats, taking the minimum wage debate as an example of a temporary fix and then the U.S. debt as unsustainable.

He also is placing a high priority on revamping the national education system to prepare for the advancement of technology.

"We can have a very forward thinking strategy," he said.



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Markey, Democratic Leaders Rally For U.S. Senate Race
By: Andy McKeever On: 10:40PM / Friday June 21, 2013
U.S. Rep. Edward Markey rallied voters in Pittsfield on Friday with local and state Democratic leaders including his House colleague, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Despite leading in the polls before the special election for the U.S. Senate, Democratic candidate Edward Markey isn't coasting the final four days because "overconfidence breeds complacency and complacency breeds disaster."

He is on a tight schedule through Tuesday that took him Friday to the Berkshire Brigades' offices, where he was joined by Gov. Deval Patrick, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and a large group of Democratic leaders and elected officials.

"I don't feel confident. You can't feel that way. It's like asking the Bruins 'are you going to win the Stanley Cup?' they don't know," Markey said before entering a full room of supporters. "You have to keep at a high level of intensity just so you maximize the result on election night. Then you can celebrate. Then you can relax."

The congressman from Malden is running for the seat vacated by John Kerry, who accepted appointment as U.S. secretary of state. Being a special election and held on an atypical election schedule, voter turnout is expected to be the biggest concern for Democrats.

"For the final four days it is all about getting out the vote," Markey said. "I want to win out here. I am trying to get up the enthusiasm, get the troops out there and make sure that people get out and vote Tuesday."

Auditor Suzanne Bump of Great Barrington said Democrats are not competing with the Republicans but rather "apathy."

She said the decision of who to vote for is easy because Markey has "already demonstrated his values." But Democrats need to "take it to the streets" in order to win the election, she said.

"This is not a leap of faith when we cast this vote. This is a vote of confidence," Bump said. Republican competitor Gabriel Gomez of Cohasset has been positioning himself as a fresh face and has criticized Markey for being a career politician. Markey was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1974.

But all of the speakers rallied behind representative's 38-year record in expanding broadband access, support for social programs and protecting the environment.

"New isn't always better. Being better is better," Patrick said. "Being right on the issues is better. Seeing us all, not just the mighty but the meek is better. Voting right on the issues, that's better. Caring about lifting the commonweath and the country up, that's better. Putting national interest before party or partisan interest, that's better."

Patrick received roaring applause from the crowd of about 150 people sporting in Markey campaign stickers. He said Markey knows what it takes to give the opportunity for the American dream.

"The American dream requires personal responsibility, grit, determination and resilience — all the things we often hear our conservative friends talk about — self-reliance. They're right," Patrick said. "But the American dream also requires a good education. It also requires affordable health care and a safe neighborhood.

"It also requires a clean environment and true and equal opportunity. All of those things make the American dream possible and we fight for good government because good government makes those things possible."

Gov. Deval Patrick said Markey voted the right way on the issues.

Markey said building the American dream means to look to the future, as he has done in the past when he has "sided with companies that did not exist yet." He is supportive of furthering technology and making Massachusetts the "biotech capital of the world."

"This race is about the future and we have to make sure we protect and advance it," Markey said.

Neal, who has worked with Markey the longest and would be come the dean of the congressional delegation if Markey wins, said his colleague has always been looking toward the future.

"Those of us who are his peers, know how good he is," Neal said. "He is kind, he is decent and he is a great legislator."

Also speaking were state Reps. Paul Mark and Tricia Farley-Bouvier, state Sen. Benjamin Downing and Mayor Daniel Bianchi. The office was filled with elected officials — including North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, District Attorney David Capeless, City Council President Kevin Sherman and Register of Deeds Patsy Harris — and local Democratic leaders.

"We need to be with Ed Markey because time after time, Ed Markey has been with us," Patrick said.

The special Senate election is Tuesday, June 25, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Also on the ballot is Twelve Visions Party canddiate Richard A. Heos.



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Berkshire Brigades Holding Meet & Greet With Markey
Staff Reports On: 02:44PM / Wednesday June 19, 2013

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Brigades are holding a "meet and greet" with U.S. Senate candidate Edward Markey on Friday.

Markey will be joined by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and others at the state Democratic Party headquarters on North Street. The event starts a 4:30 p.m.

Markey is running against Gabriel Gomez for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by John Kerry, who accepted appointment as secretary of state. The special election is on June 25.



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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.



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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Primary
Tuesday, Sept. 9

Voting is from 7 to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation is Aug. 20; only unenrolled voters may select which primary to vote in. More information on registering can be found here.

Candidates on the ballot in a race for their party nomination; all others on the ballot are unopposed

Republican
  Governor: Charles D. Baker & Mark R. Fisher

Democratic
  Governor: Donald M. Berwick, Martha Coakley & Steven Grossman
  Lieutenant governor: Leland Cheung, Stephen J. Kerrigan & Michael E. Lake
  Attorney general: Maura Healey & Warren E. Tolman
  Treasurer: Thomas P. Conroy, Barry R. Finegold & Deborah B. Goldberg
 

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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