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Andrea Harrington, seen in this file photo, is running for district attorney.

Andrea Harrington to Challenge Caccaviello for District Attorney

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Local attorney Andrea Harrington took out papers on Tuesday morning to primary Berkshire District Attorney Paul Caccaviello, who was sworn in just five days ago.
 
The former Democratic candidate for state senator had hinted last week on "The John Krol Show" that she was interested, saying people had reached out to her about running and that she was "taking a really hard look at it." 
 
She ended any speculation by pulling papers Tuesday morning at the secretary of the commonwealth's office in Springfield.  She said she will be officially kicking off her campaign in the weeks ahead.
 
"I'm excited to announce my candidacy for Berkshire County District Attorney," said Harrington in a statement. "I want to bring a fresh approach to the DA's office focused on real solutions to combating the opioid epidemic, preventing crime through effective social programs and community engagement, and focusing on recovery and re-entry services to reduce recidivism.
 
"This campaign is about keeping our communities safe through an effective approach to prevention and rehabilitation."
 
Former District Attorney David Capeless' abrupt announcement at the beginning of March that he would retire so that Caccaviello could be appointed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, all within two weeks, took many by surprise. Capeless, in his remarks on March 1, said he was stepping down now "because I want Paul to be able to run for election as the district attorney." 
 
Harrington last week described Caccaviello's promotion from first assistant attorney as "backroom politics" that reduces turnover in district attorney positions.
 
"The powers that be have sort of our bestowed our next district attorney on us and I think that the people of Berkshire County really deserve more," Harrington said to Krol last Friday. "They deserve to be able to make the choice about who their elected leaders are going to be."
 
Uncontested elections mean discussions about important issues don't get debated or deeply discussed, she said.
 
"The Berkshires is on the front line of the opioid epidemic that claims the lives of hundreds of our friends, neighbors, and family members every year. Every day, countless  Berkshire residents are working to fight this public health crisis, but we need leadership in the district attorney's office that supports the work of our first responders and public health workers," Harrington said in her announcement. "That means increasing access to recovery beds and prioritizing treatment over incarceration for non-violent drug offenders. 
 
"Through my work as an attorney, I have seen the effectiveness of drug courts, and I support their expansion in the region. I've seen how critical youth outreach and educational programs are for crime prevention.  And through my advocacy work here in our communities, I know that investing in effective programming will make our cities and towns safer and healthier places to live."
 
Harrington grew up in Richmond where she and her husband, Tim, are raising their two sons. She is an attorney at Connor & Morneau LLP and has been practicing law for more than 15 years. She has been actively involved in the region, serving as a member her local Affordable Housing Committee, School Council, and as an advisory board member of the regional non-profit BerkShares Inc. She also is a member of the Richmond School Committee and co-founder of the Berkshire Committee of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus. She is a member of the Berkshire Bar Association and Hampden County Bar Association and has experience in criminal law and civil litigation.
 
Harrington is a graduate of Taconic High School in Pittsfield, the University of Washington, and American University's Washington College of Law.
 
The Democratic primary is Sept. 4. No Republican candidates have announced so far.

Tags: Democratic Party,   district attorney,   election 2018,   primary,   


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Wetlands Derails Restoration of Pontoosuc Beach

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Wetland issues have derailed planned improvements to Pontsoosuc Lake Park.
 
The Friends of Pontoosuc Lake received $15,000 from the Community Preservation Act with the intent to restore the beach on the Hancock Road side. The city's Parks, Open Space and Natural Resource Program Manager Jim McGrath, however, said it was found that the former beach has essentially turned into wetlands.
 
"We can't disturb that area of Pontoosuc Park," McGrath told the Parks Commission on Tuesday.
 
McGrath said the way the drainage currently is in the park has led to wetland soils and plants covering the former beach so it is now treated as a resource area. McGrath said options now would be to re-orient the stairway and create another beach in another location. But, "it is going to be an involved project."
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