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Anthony Amore joined members of the Berkshire County Republican Association and Mass Victory for lunch at Zucco's on Tuesday.

Secretary of State Candidate Amore Drums Up Support in Pittsfield

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Anthony Amore views elections as the "next great security challenge" and it is one he hopes to take on.
The Swampscott Republican is challenging longtime incumbent William Galvin for the post of secretary of state in the November election. Amore has a lengthy background in security — he's currently security chief at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum — and is pledging to increase public access to records and secure the election process.
"I think 2016 showed glaring vulnerabilities. This is the first election cycle after we saw threats to our elections. Bill Galvin has been in [various government] office for 23 years, he's been in elected office since we were in Vietnam, it is time for a fresh perspective in the office and I think I offer that," Amore said over lunch at Zucco's with the Berkshire County Republican Association and Mass Victory.
Amore said he'd start with the development of a five-year strategic plan. When it comes to elections, he vowed to bring city and town clerks to the table to make sure whatever changes are made can actually be implemented at the local level.
"The greatest vulnerability of our voter registration information system is end users. If we aren't communicating with them and bringing them to the table, how do we know what they are doing?" he said.
"I don't like the idea of governing from a perch. We are 351 cities and towns. Town clerks, city clerks, boards of elections, these are the people who really run elections."
He believes paper ballots are still the way to go but optical scanners in the machines counting votes need to work properly and technology throughout the whole system can be updated.
Amore believes he has the experience particularly fitting an effort to ensure secure elections. He began his career working in immigration services as an inspector and intelligence officer. He was appointed as a special investigator for Federal Aviation Administration, overseeing security for airports throughout New England and investigating crimes related to aviation. 
After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Amore took a job with the newly created U.S. Department of Homeland Security and was tasked with rebuilding the security at Logan Airport. 
"I spent the first 15 years of my career in Homeland Security agencies. I was with the immigration service, I was a special agent with the FAA. And after 9/11, I was asked to help rebuild security at Logan Airport. I spent five years there and I went on to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. I'm director of security there and I am the chief investigator looking for the stolen art," Amore said. 
He boasts of developing the first strategic plan for the Transportation Security Administration and administrative experience with 1,200 employees with Homeland Security and 50 at the Gardner Museum. He has been at the museum for 13 years and is the chief investigator in the infamous and unsolved case of stolen artwork from the museum in 1990.
Security of elections is only one area Amore seeks to change. He took shots at Galvin's history of public records — a history that earned him a nomination for the "Golden Padlock Award" in 2016 (one year after the Massachusetts State Police won the tongue-in-cheek award as voted on by reporters and editors).
"Public records are impossible to get in this state. The secretary of state has a great deal of say over who gets what. He has an abysmal record," Amore said.
Amore said he'd set a tone in the office. While the law does allow for a certain amount of time to respond to requests, he said he'd set the bar higher and try to be as responsive as quick as possible. He also said he'd have all of his office's email posted online.
He characterized the current secretary of state's office as being a "victim of his complacency." He said it lacks a strategic plan, that the website is outdated, and that Galvin himself doesn't even use email in this technology-based world.
He further contends that Galvin has a "brazen and old school" way about him, including a mailing on voter information sent to all households that Amore sees as essentially an advertisement for Galvin. The taxpayer-funded voter guide  lists Galvin by name and notes his accomplishments in office.  
"It is really corrupt behavior in my view," Amore said. "I am a small government, limited taxation Republican and I don't like to see abuses of taxpayer dollars like that."
Amore said he looks to make the office more "lean and efficient." He also looks to tackle such issues as the state charging an extra fee for corporations to register online rather than by paper.

Tags: election 2018,   Republican Party,   secretary of state,   

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Adult Learning Center Grads Get New Lease on Life

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff

Student speaker Brittany Sullivan shared her story of how she turned her life around. More photos from there ceremony can be found here.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Brittany Sullivan lost her sister, her life spiraled out of control. 
"When I was 14 years old, my sister died suddenly in a car accident. This sent me into a downward spiral that led me to drinking, smoking, and dipping into opioids, which eventually got me kicked out of my home at 17. Shortly after, I dropped out of high school," Sullivan said.
At the time Sullivan was already struggling with depression. She felt that she was "stupid and inadequate." That feeling had set in because she didn't start school until the age of 9 and when she did, she was far behind the other students. She was held back a grade and was constantly being pulled out of class to receive extra help.
"At the tender age of 9, I accepted the life that I was stupid and inadequate. I already struggled with anxiety and depression. It wasn't long before I started full-on panic attacks and self harming. I had already built a firm foundation of self-hate and acceptance that I was a failure and I hadn't even finished elementary school," Sullivan said.
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