Miller Endorsed by Planned Parenthood Fund
The announcement comes on the heels of the endorsement by Mass Alliance, the statewide coalition that includes Planned Parenthood.
George Hollister Isman of Mass Alliance cited Mark's pro-choice stance in her statement announcing the coalition's endorsement of the Green/Rainbow Party candidate: "Mark Miller is the clear progressive choice for state representative. His commitment to excellent public schools, good local jobs, a woman's right to choose, and a heath care system that is truly universal and affordable will make him a strong progressive voice in the State House."
Together with the support of the UAW, Mass Nurses and Mass Alliance, this latest endorsement shows that the GRP's Mark Miller is staking out political ground usually occupied by Democrats. In a post-primary mailing to Democratic voters, Miller highlighted his respect for Ryan Scago and Pete White, who together won 60 percent of the votes. Referring to their suggestions for job-creation in Pittsfield, Miller wrote:
"It's hardly surprising that I agreed with Pete and Ryan. After all, my political heroes are FDR and Harry Truman, and I've voted for every Democratic presidential nominee from LBJ to Barack Obama ... I'm running as a Green rather than as a Democrat because of my commitment to progressive, Democratic values. Pittsfield needs a new kind of representative and Massachusetts needs a new kind of politics."
The special election will take place Tuesday, Oct. 18.
3rd Berkshire Candidates Debate Politics at BCC
Republican candidate Mark Jester, Independent Pam Malumphy, Democrat Nominee Patricia Farley-Bouvier and Green-Rainbow Party favorite Mark Miller are all seeking election on Oct. 18 to the 3rd Berkshire District left vacant by Christopher Speranzo, who resigned from the seat after being appointed clerk-magistrate at Central Berkshire District Court in July forcing a special election.
Several questions asked by moderator Brandon Walker, Berkshire correspondent for YNN Albany, were familiar from the previous Democratic primary debate but saw a greater divergence of answers and the administrative philosophies behind them.
On the subject of healthcare legislation in Massachusetts, Malumphy said that she would like to see the Commonwealth "move toward single-payer healthcare" but that in the short-term there needed to be a "collaborative conversation" between hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and insurers to look at "the real cost of healthcare."
Jester pointed to his own background in the insurance business to explain his belief that the Commonwealth's past legislation itself lead to rising costs in insurance, through regulations which had reduced the insurers.
Jester said, "we need to bring once again, into the state, competitive healthcare," to drive down costs, expand coverage and make it easier for businesses to insure employees.
Miller called the current system "unaffordable for many" and "a huge gift to the private health insurance industry and the pharmaceutical companies." He pointed to Vermont as a leading role-model in healthcare legislation and pointed to the role of third-party legislators in providing the extra votes to pass the single-payer bill in that state.
"I’m the only candidate at this table who’s foursquare for single payer healthcare," he said.
Farley-Bouvier said that, like Malumphy, she believed "we need to work toward something like single-payer," but said that there were many things that could be done in the short term to reduce healthcare costs, such as bringing e-records to the healthcare system and a new coding system. She said that we have to "meet the challenge" of administrative costs, and reduce the actual cost of healthcare "before we can look at providing Medicare for all."
On casinos, only Miller voiced strong opposition to building casinos in the state. Jester and Malumphy both said they would have supported a one-casino model, as opposed to the three overwhelmingly approved in the State House last month. Farley-Bouvier said that at this point, she has more questions than answers on the current legislation. All four candidates expressed some dissatisfaction with the way in which the legislation had been handled in the State House and a lack of transparency.
Miller said that he had been the only candidate who had opposed approving casino gambling all along, "even before the primary."
Farley-Bouvier, however, has previously indicated being personally opposed to casino gambling while on the City Council in 2007 when she cast the single dissenting vote against putting forth the non-binding question on this issue which was presented to voters on that year’s ballot. At the time, 59 percent of city voters indicated they approved of legalized gambling in Massachusetts.
In discussing educational issues, Malumphy took specific issue with Farley-Bouvier, who had previously been on the city's School Building Needs Commission, about a perceived lack of clarity in that process as well as her choice to send her children to Lenox schools.
"I think the public is feeling very left out of that conversation," Malumphy said. "And I find it troubling that Ms. Bouvier, who has headed the School Building Needs Commission, is now running for public office, has sent her children to a different school to, in Lenox."
Farley-Bouvier, given the chance to respond to what has become a point of some controversy in her campaign, said that "not every school is for every kid, and my husband and I, as a family decision, made a decision based on the unique educational needs of our children."
All candidates also made reference to the level of scandal in the State House, such as the indictment of its last three Speakers on indictment. Each vowed to try to address corruption and transparency in government if elected.
Malumphy Calls for Term Limits, Redistricting Reform
1) Support for the creation of an independent commission to oversee future state legislative and congressional districts in Massachusetts.
2) Support for term limits on state representatives and state senators.
Malumphy stated, "As I have gone door-to-door across the city of Pittsfield, voters have told me that they feel disconnected from their government and that they lack public confidence in state government. As state representative I will support and propose legislation that reforms state government and makes it more accountable to the people of Massachusetts including the 3rd Berkshire District."
Malumphy called for legislation that would create an independent commission to focus on redistricting efforts rather than leaving it up to the legislature.
"The Legislature should not be the body responsible for creating voting districts…it becomes too political, a recent speaker of the House resigned and plead guilty to obstruction of justice because of his involvement in the redistricting process. To reduce this political influence many states such as Iowa, Minnesota, California and Ohio and others have instituted redistricting reforms such as independent commissions to do this important work."
Malumphy also issued her support for term limits of 12 years, which is six terms for both members of the House of Representatives and state Senate.
"I believe by placing these limits, we get more people to seek public office, we will get more contested races and we increase public trust in the state legislature."
With the last two Democratic state representatives vacating their seats, forcing expensive special elections, Malumphy said she is "determined to demonstrate that partisan politics and back room deals are not acceptable in Pittsfield or on Beacon Hill."
One of the legislative committee assignments Malumphy plans to ask for, if elected, are seats on the House Committee on Ethics or the Joint Committee on Elections Laws. She would also like a seat on the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business as well as the Joint Committee on Education.
Mark Miller Wins UAW Endorsement
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mark Miller, a candidate for the Green-Rainbow Party, has won the endorsement of the United Auto Workers, a major industrial labor union, in his bid to become the new state representative of the 3rd Berkshire District.
Willie Desnoyers, president of the UAW Massachusetts State CAP Council, said: "I'm proud to report that the UAW MA State CAP Council has endorsed Mark Miller for state representative for the 3rd Berkshire District. We are looking forward to working with Mark in the state Legislature. It is important to us that Labor endorses candidates that will respect collective bargaining rights and job creation in Massachusetts. We feel Mark is the best choice for Labor."
The decision comes even before the Democrats have had a chance to pick their nominee, who will face off against Miller and others in the Oct. 18 special election caused by the resignation of the incumbent, Christopher Speranzo. Miller welcomed the early endorsement.
"Pittsfield needs new jobs and I'm going to do all I can to bring them here. It's crazy that with so much work to do — like insulating every home in the city to bring down heating bills — our unemployment figures are higher than in the rest of the state. I'm thrilled that the members of the UAW are ready to help give Pittsfield a strong independent voice in the State House."
Usually the UAW backs Democrats. Miller says the endorsement shows a new willingness on the part of Massachusetts Democrats to break with the party, which controls 90 percent of the seats in the Legislature.
"I was a lifelong Democrat, but as with many Democrats there was a point when I had to say enough is enough. For me, that point came when the party caved in on health care," said Miller. "So although I'm not running as a Democrat I'm the candidate who is fighting for core Democratic policies like Medicare for All."
|Tags: UAW, Green-?Rainbow, Pittsfield|
Malumphy Sets Campaign Agenda
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pam Malumphy, an independent candidate for state representative for the 3rd Berkshire District, said her campaign will focus on fice key issues.
Eager to hear from other candidates, Malumphy said she is first to put forth a platform focusing on key issues affecting the district, which covers the city of Pittsfield, as well as the commonwealth:
3) Affordable health care for families, elders and veterans
4) Ethics reform
5) Lifetime appointments and rerm limits
Malumphy said her background has afforded her skills no other candidate possesses in this upcoming special election. As the recent regional director for the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, Malumphy networked with local, regional, state and federal agencies to assist businesses. But she also recognized the state's programs could fall short when it came to assisting small business.
"Most of my dealings were with smaller businesses and I would love to find a way to match state dollars with the local GE Economic Development Fund to create a small loan and grant system for small business," said Malumphy. "It's that kind of thinking that will help support the family and small businesses we want to see grow."
A former teacher with an undergraduate and graduate degree in education, Malumphy served for five years, until 2010, on the local School Building Needs Commission that is looking at city's high schools.
"I understand the growing confusion as to the relationship between the SBNC and the state [School] Building Authority and how residents need more information. The 3rd Berkshire state rep can and should be a strong advocate and positive intermediary with getting the process back on track."
A third issue for Malumphy's campaign is affordable and accessible health care. "Health care is mandated in Massachusetts and the state has taken far too large a role in becoming an insurer rather than advocate for making certain we have affordable and accessible health care.”
Lastly, with the last two Democratic state representatives vacating their seats prior to completing their terms and forcing expensive special elections, Malumphy is determined to demonstrate that partisan politics and back-room deals are not acceptable in Pittsfield or on Beacon Hill.
"I can't tell you how disappointed I am to watch what's happened in our district with another vacated state rep seat, the recent lifetime appointment for clerk magistrate, a local administration under continuous ethics scrutiny, and candidates who are vacating their own public responsibilities to run for this seat," said Malumphy. "We need an advocate for jobs, affordable health care particularly for families, our elders and veterans, education, and strong reform when it comes to ethics, lifetime appointments and term limits. It is critical that we have an independent voice on Beacon Hill representing this community's concerns and not pandering to partisan politics and patronage."
Visit VoteMalumphy.com for more detailed information about her platform.