Neal, Shein, Nuciforo Post Quarterly Fundraising Reports
According to campaign finance reports, the incumbent, Neal, raised $158,278 in individual contributions compared to Nuciforo's $140,696. However, Neal also raised $636,700 from political action committees whereas Nuciforo has raised nothing. For the first time in the recently released quarterly reports, Bill Shein posted an income of $11,221 - all from individual donations.
The net cash — minus disbursements — for each candidate is Neal with $2.4 million, Nuciforo with $133,000 and Shein with $5,700.
In the first quarter of 2012, Neal raised $122,875, $21,625 of which came from individual donors. Nuciforo raised $42,493, all from individual donations.
The contrast is expected from Shein, who has based his platform against lobbyist influence. Shein and Nuciforo, both from the Berkshires, have recently been taking shots at the incumbent for taking those contributions. However, Nuciforo also has been criticized for taking the same type of funds during his time as a state senator.
Neal, of Springfield, is a 12-term incumbent representing the 2nd Mass District. Redistricting has placed him in the 1st Mass, which is currently represented by U.S. John W. Olver. The retiring Olver has thrown his support to longtime colleague Neal. Nuciforo, of Pittsfield, announced his intention to run for U.S. representative in 2009. Shein is a writer and activist from Alford.
U.S. Senate Hopeful Warren Stumps in North Adams
Elizabeth Warren is ready to take on Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate seat that Brown won in special election in 2010 after Edward Kennedy died.
Recapping her own story of rising from a middle-class family to success, Warren told more than 300 people at the Eagle's Hall on Friday night that she fears everyone does not have a shot at success and that she wants to make sure they do.
"I worry my story is embedded in time," Warren said. "I am the daughter of a maintenance man who became this fancy pants professor at Harvard."
She grew up in frugal surroundings, started working at at 9 baby-sitting for the neighbor, went to a public university and taught in public schools on her way to teaching economic law at one of the most prestigious colleges in the world. But now when she looks around, she fears few can follow her path and that is why she is running for the seat, she said.
"As a country coming out of the Great Depression and really the next 50 years, we made the decision to invest in us, to invest in our children, to invest in our future," Warren said. "In the '80s, we lost our way. We turned in a different direction and look where we are today."
Warren said times were booming when the government invested in education, transportation, power and research but those have all taken cuts and, instead, the country is investing in big businesses such as oil, "one of the most profitable industries on Earth."
"We're not investing in our future and that's what draws me into this race," Warren said. "Are we a country that says 'I got mine, the rest of you are on your own' or are we going to be a country that says 'we love success, we think success is terrific, we celebrate success but we believe that everyone, no matter how powerful, no matter how rich has to take a piece of what they've got and pay it forward, to invest so we've got the right conditions in education, infrastructure, power and research so that the conditions will be right so the next kid can make it big."
She also took a shot at what once have been one of the county's largest employers.
"When General Electric is paying zero in taxes at the same time we as a country are saying there is no money for after school programs, young people are going to have to take up more debt to get a college education, seniors have to work and live on less, it's not a question of economics, it's not a question of finance, it's a question of values," Warren said.
"At 2.4, we don't only not build a future, we don't hang onto the present," she said.
Warren is expected to be the Democratic candidate to take on incumbent Scott Brown after scaring top-tier Democrats out of the ring; immigration lawyer Marisa DeFranco and Boston lawyer James King are still in the primary. She lead the charge in developing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau but was over to lead it. She was also chief adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, a member of the Federal Judicial Education Committee and most recently appointed as assistant to the president and special adviser to the secretary of the Treasury on consumer financial protection.
Warren has not been shy about saying she will go Washington and throw her weight around to "rebuild" the middle class by making those investments. That has draw criticism from Brown, who's trying to position himself as a bipartisan aisle-crosser, not a rock-thrower.
Warren says the Wrentham Republican is anything but bipartisan. Brown has voted against three different bills that would have brought jobs to the state, against the DREAM Act and financial reforms that shifted more burden to the taxpayers, she said.
"That's not bipartisan, that's voting against families as I see it," Warren said. "Scott Brown is much more about protecting Wall Street, protecting the biggest corporations. I am here to say that we need to protect our kids and our future."
As for her own ability to reach across the aisle, Warren pointed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau development that faced challenges by the "biggest lobbyists in the world." She said she's work with banks and creditors with regulations that protect both the consumer and the banks.
"I know how to work with a lot of people to get something done," Warren said. "This is my first election but it's not my first campaign."
This campaign is also an uphill battle with Brown not only being an incumbent with strong approval numbers but also twice as much money as her, she said. Her campaign strategy is not going to be about buying TV spots but instead a grassroots campaign fueled by word of mouth, she said.
"I need you, starting now, to start talking about this election of 2012, talk about what's at stake, talk about the difference between investing in those who have already made it and investing in our future.Tweet it, Facebook it, if you are old fashioned use the telephone," Warren said.
Warren was joined by the many of the county's politicians. Mayor Richard Alcombright, state Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, and state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams, introduced Warren. Also attending were some of the area's Democratic leaders and city councilors, U.S. representative hopefuls Andrea F. Nucifor Jr. and Bill Shein, and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield, who later took the stage to encourage the crowd to spread the word.
Senate Candidate Warren To Stop In North Adams
This is her first venture this far west and north in the state since she began her "listening tour" last fall before announcing a run for the Democratic nomination. Local Democrats and others have packed Warren's past stops in the area.
Warren's Western Mass field organizer Greg Maynard had promised late last month that the Harvard professor and creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (designed ride herd on Wall Street) would be in the North Berkshires in a matter of weeks.
"We are working very hard to make sure she visits the whole of Berkshire County," Maynard had told a gathering of the Democrat City Committee. "We're going to get the margin of victory out here."
Warren has visited Sen. Benjamin B. Downing's Western Mass district nine times and Pittsfield twice, once during her listening tour. Of the 48 towns in his district, 47 had voted for North Adams native Martha Coakley in the last election. "We've got to straighten out Otis," Maynard said to laughter.
Otis was the only Berkshire town to support Republican Scott Brown in his win for the seat of the late Ted Kennedy. Brown decisively defeated Coakley in the special election in 2010 to complete the final two year of the term.
Brown Making Campaign Swing Through Pittsfield
U.S. Sen. Scott Brown shaking hands in Pittsfield last August at a chamber event.
Brown will be in Pittsfield from 3:15 to 4 p.m. to visit with senior citizens at the Ralph J. Froio Senior Center on North Street. The senator was last in Pittsfield in August, when he addressed the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce.
The Wrentham Republican is closing his second year in office but will have to win in November against a Democratic candidate to get a full six-year term. The former state senator is currently completing the term of the late Ted Kennedy.
The senator will also stop at the Kenmore Diner in Worcester at 10:30 a.m. and at Milano Importers in Springfield at 1:15. The events are being promoted as part of Brown's campaign kickoff, which launched last week with a speech in Worcester.
The senator's campaign website is here.
Writer, Activist Shein Joins 1st Mass Race
Shein posted the announcement on his Facebook page Monday, saying "It's time to get big money out of politics, fix our broken democracy, make clear that corporations aren't people and money isn't speech ... ."
A self-described progressive Democrat, he has been involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement in South County and has outspoken against the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, which granted personhood to corporations regarding political spending.
In protest, Shein's campaign is Human People for Shein and he's not accepting donations of more than $99. No corporations; no PACs.
"We need Democrats in Congess who will tell the truth about the insidious role of money in politics and do something about it," he writes on his website, www.billshein.com, calling for public funding of elections.
Shein was raised in New York City and moved to the Berkshires a decade ago. His op-ed column, "Reason Gone Mad," has won three National Press Club Award for Humor and appears in The Berkshire Eagle. He's never run for office but did work on Paul Simon's presidential campaign in 1988 and for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee after graduating from Tufts University in 1990.
He wrote jokes for Al Franken on Comedy Central's "InDecision '92" and "ran for president" as faux candidate Will Markson in 2004. He also occasionally contributes to Red Crow News when he's not raising ducks.
On his site, Shein said he's running for the Democratic nomination on campaign reform, including banning contributions from lobbyists; a fair and progressive tax code; economic development that promotes local enterprises; a national health-care program; quality education; addressing climate change and promotoing a foreign policy based on diplomacy not violence..
Also running for the Democratic nomination is Middle Berkshire Register of Deeds Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, whose Springfield district is being consolidated next year into the 1st Mass. No Republican has so far announced for the seat. U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, who currently represents the 1st District, is retiring.