PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Days after the seat opened up, Helen Moon announced her candidacy to become a Ward 1 city councilor.
Moon announced her election bid Thursday morning. The 34-year-old is a registered nurse in the critical care unit at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington.
"I really am so inspired by all the residents of this community. They all want Pittsfield to be its best. And while we know the city has come so far, even in these past few years, I believe that work still needs to be done. I'm ready to listen to the people of Pittsfield. I'm ready to work for them," Moon wrote in a statement.
"There are so many great things in Ward 1 that I'm excited about and want to be a part of; the TDI grant and rejuvenation of Tyler Street, the potential of Springside Park and Springside House to come back into their glory and the continuing revitalization of North Street. Pittsfield is a unique and energetic city and I'm really looking forward to being a part of its future."
Moon moved to Pittsfield in 2009 from Longmeadow to attend Berkshire County College's nursing program. She then attended Elms College to get her bachelor's degree. She worked at Berkshire Meadows in Housatonic for two years before taking the position at Fairview.
But what really bound her to the community was when she managed Dottie's Coffee Lounge on North Street as she was in college.
"I think from working at a place like Dottie's I saw a lot of good in the city," she said. "I was really impressed with the community and the area."
She grew more attached to the city and purchased a home here.
During the presidential election last year she became inspired. It wasn't just the presidency but noticing all of the government offices which were changing. She saw the executive orders from the Oval Office, and with her family immigrating here when she was four, she understood much of the fear and anxiety many people are feeling.
She got involved in local activist groups such as Indivisible Pittsfield, a women's huddle in part of the Women's March, and the Hoping Machine out of the Guthrie Center. But there is only so much activism can do.
"As much as we can do, we also need to invest in our local government," she said. "I want to protect our community."
Some her peers suggested she get even more involved in running for office. But she says she appreciated the work Ward 1 Councilor Lisa Tully has been doing and didn't want to run against her.
"I admire everything Lisa Tully has done for Ward 1," Moon said.
Then the word got around that Tully wasn't going to run again and Moon made the decision to seek the vacant seat. Tully announced she wouldn't seek re-election on Monday. Moon launched her candidacy a few days later.
If elected, Moon says she wants to place priorities on transportation, continuing the Transformative Development Initiative for the Morningside neighborhood, and the restoration of the Springside House and park.
"Transportation is a huge hurdle. For folks who are newly graduated from college and can't afford a car, it can be a huge hurdle," Moon said.
On the bigger picture, Moon is looking to make Pittsfield's government more inclusive. She said the city's government hasn't reflected the demographics of the city.
"Pittsfield has a lot of diversity," Moon said. "I hope to engage new people, young people, old people, back into the civil process ... I want us all to have voices in the city."
Moon becomes just the second candidate to enter the fall election and so far two incumbents have announced they would not run again. Both Tully and at-large councilor Kathleen Amuso opted against re-election bids and shortly after each announcement, another candidate stepped forward.
Ty Allan Jackson also announced his bid for an at-large seat on the council earlier this year.
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