Nuciforo Preps For Congressional RaceBy Joe Durwin
Special to iBerkshires
06:28PM / Thursday, January 05, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — This is the year that Western Massachusetts turns the status quo on its head, U.S. House hopeful Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. told a captivated audience at Zucchinis restaurant Wednesday night during one of his early campaign fundraisers.
"This is the going to be the year that voters in Western Massachusetts, and voters across the country, take typical Washington status quo and turn it on its head. It's going to be an upside down year," Nuciforo said.
Nuciforo has been visiting and engaging with the some 86 cities and towns that will make up the newly redrawn 1st Massachusetts Congressional District.
"This is a great opportunity for us," said the Democratic candidate, who declared his intention to run back in 2009, long before the redrawing of the districts was passed by the state Legislature. "This district is brand new. It includes all of Berkshire County and it takes us all the way through Westfield, Holyoke, Easthampton, Springfield, all the way to that southern tip of Worcester County. So we've got a lot of work ahead of us."
Nuciforo emphasized economic distress and a change in Washington politics as themes in the 2012 election.
"This is going to be a watershed moment in American politics because people in this country have felt more and more detached from the people who are supposed to be representing them. That's what this election's going to be all about," he said.
Nuciforo told his supporters that the campaign is already going well, described fundraising efforts as "quite successful," and referred to "sleeper cells" of volunteers located throughout the district.
As to how he looked at the challenges of running against current U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, whose native Springfield constituency will join the 1st Massachusetts District, the former state senator told iBerkshires he has reason to be optimistic.
"The district is new. It's 86 cities and towns in Western Massachusetts and it is new to all the candidates. We're taking the time to meet with the people who will decide the election. These, of course, are the voters," said Nuciforo, who will face off against Neal in the Democratic primary on Sept. 6. No Republican candidate has yet announced.
When asked if he thought his message might resonate with those sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has seen offshoots throughout the county, Nuciforo said, "American politics has been overrun by corporate money and special interests. Many of our elected officials, even here in Western Massachusetts, are getting the lion's share of their financial support from Wall Street banks, corporations, and affiliated PACs. The Occupy movement reflects the American people's disappointment with that system."
He added, "my views are very compatible with those that are unhappy with that corporate domination."
Meanwhile, Neal was making the local headlines with his two-day visit to the Berkshires that included meeting with local politicians, educational leaders and news editors. When he visited with representatives from Berkshire Community College on Wednesday morning, the 12-term congressman said he was unaware that Nuciforo was holding an event the same day.
"I'm not really thinking about politics right now," Neal told iBerkshires.
Nuciforo is expected to formally enter the race in February, according to campaign political director Joe Engwer.