Nuciforo Bus Tour Kicks Off Campaign
Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. formally kicked off his run for Congress on Wednesday with a bus tour through the 1st Mass district and a rally in Pittsfield.
The candidate's excursion ended in his hometown of Pittsfield with the bus rolling up to Mazzeo's North just before 6:30, where a crowd of about a 100 people gathered to hear what he had to say.
In his address there, Nuciforo appealled to supporters as the candidate of "middle and working class people," in a speech centered around popular national themes of economic strife and general disatisfactions with Congress.
"The economy has been rigged against ordinary people ... Washington politicians of both parties have allowed a few individuals and corporations to increase their wealth and political power at the expense of everyone else."
"We need a break from the past, and a new set of eyes to look at things differently."
Nuciforo, currently Middle Berkshire register of deeds, listed key elderly issues as one of his top priorities, and pledged support to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Veterans Administration.
"I will fight any effort to defund or privatize or blow up or compromise any of these important programs," said the aspiring congressman, who has drawn fire in the past for the level of funding received from insurance companies and a perceived pro-insurance stance in past legislative issues.
Secondly he called for a closer examination of the 2008 economic collapse.
"We need accountability for those, both in Washington and on Wall Street, that drove this economy into a ditch in 2008. We need to understand what happened: the deregulation of the financial market, the big influence of big money on Washington. We need to understand precisely what happened and who made that happen."
Corporate money and anti-incumbent sentiments have been a major theme for both of the Berkshire-based Democratic contenders for the redrawn 1st Massachusetts District, in a race that will pit them against 10-term U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield, whose popular base and funding currently far exceeds that of the other candidates.
Bill Shein, who announced in mid-January he will also seek the congressional seat, questioned the former state senator's credibility as the best voice for these issues.
"We're not going to make real progress on jobs, economic fairness, or any other pressing issue by replacing one typical politician with another typical politician," he said.
Shein said in a statement that he has been consistently advocating for years the kind of political change that Nuciforo has invoked in his opening campaign speeches.
"As a candidate for Congress I continue to say precisely the same things and promote the same ideas I always have. I didn't craft a new message or political persona to fit the public mood. Because that’s old way of politics, and we need a new way."
Several proponents of Richard Neal in attendance at Wednesday's Nuciforo campaign rally expressed similar sentiments to iBerkshires, saying that while they thought that both of the Berkshire challengers have raised points they agree with, Neal offers the kind of experience in national and international matters and political ability that will be needed if real legislative change is to move forward.
Neal supporters pointed to various organizations' rating systems to suggest that Neal is among the more "progressive" of the current crop of incumbent legislators. Various groups and scaling systems have rated Neal as anywhere from 47 percent to 95 percent.
The Democratic nominee will be decided in a Sept. 6 party primary held on the unusual day of Thursday.