PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The post isn't vacant yet but hats are already being thrown into the ring for the 3rd Berkshire seat.
The long-expected nomination of state Rep. Christopher N. Speranzo for clerk-magistrate of the Central Berkshire District Court was announced by Gov. Deval Patrick on Wednesday. By that evening, the first candidate for the still-occupied seat was stating his intentions.
"I intend to run if he gets the job," said Ward 2 Councilor Peter T. White.
White found out by text at 1:04 in the afternoon that Speranzo had been nominated, but he's been thinking about his political future for more than an afternoon.
A Speranzo supporter, White said a friend told him after election day last year that he should think about running himself. "I've been considering it for a while it," he said. "It wasn't an overnight decision."
White blew through a ward primary in 2009 (and past the incumbent) and then took the Ward 2 seat by 160 votes. He was one of the freshman class of five elected to the City Council.
"I guess the question I'll get a lot is does being a one-term city councilor qualify you for state representative? I'd say no," he answered. Rather, voters should also look at his experience working on boards and committees, such as the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Committee and council subcommittees, and local and state campaigns.
White's a charter member of the seven-year-old Morningside Initiative and involved with the Discover Tyler Street initiative. He'll be six years with the Brien Center, where he's now a program coordinator.
"Being a ward councilor is similar to [being] a legislator on a micro scale. I think of what's good for the whole along with what's good for Ward 2," he said. "I would love the chance to go down and work with the people I helped get into office."
One thing he won't do is run for two offices at once. His Ward 2 seat is up for election this year, and as much as he loves it, he's choosing the House win or lose.
"It's definitely a hard decision to make to give up being a Ward 2 councilor," he said. "Either you have to be all in or nothing."
While the political maneuvering is still speculation at this point — Speranzo doesn't have the job yet — his challenger last year may run as well. The Green-Rainbow Party's Mark Miller will make a candidate announcement at the Berkshire Greens meeting at Baba Louie's on Thursday night at 6:30.
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