Berkshire Elected Officials Support Grossman Campaign
By Andy McKeever iBerkshires Staff
Sheriff Thomas Bowler, state Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli and Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Steve Grossman toured Apex Resource Technologies on Thursday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Just slightly more than a week before the primary, Steven Grossman was in town to announce the endorsements of Sheriff Thomas Bowler, City Council President Melissa Mazzeo and Mayor Daniel Bianchi in his bid for governor.
The three local endorsements build on strong support across the county from elected officials. Grossman announced the additional endorsements but also, as has been part of his campaign for more than a year, toured one of the city's businesses.
All of the county's House delegates have thrown their support behind the candidate — including Gailanne Cariddi, a high school classmate of front-runner and Berkshire native Martha Coakley.
Coakley, Grossman and Donald Berwick are vying for the Democratic nomination to be the party's candidate in the general election against presumed Republican candidate Charlie Baker, who is facing off in the primary against Mark Fisher.
"Every one of the elected officials who have chosen to support me, whether it is Gailanne or Paul Mark or Smitty or the mayor, the sheriff, the council president, they all have people who respect them. They are credible people," Grossman said after touring Apex Resource Technologies.
"To have support from Martha's hometown says 'there is a guy on the ballot, another person, who can get the job done for North Adams.' "
Cariddi said North Adams can't lose if it comes down to Grossman or Coakley. But, her first choice is Grossman because of his background in business and his work as chairman of the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
"I have great respect for him as an individual. He comes from almost the same background that I do in that he grew up in a family business. He grew up into position of leadership. His family business was a lot bigger than Cariddi Sales and was better for their family," Cariddi said. "They were a really good employer, a progressive employer."
Cariddi says education is a key priority and her district has been the most active in the county when it comes to building or renovating schools. Cariddi has worked with Grossman on three local projects.
"I have seen him in action in those meetings. We've had several school issues in this district. We finished up the Adams-Cheshire school under his leadership. We are in the middle of Colegrove [Park] School under his leadership. And we are just beginning discussions with the School Building Authority with the Mount Greylock Regional High School," Cariddi said.
His chairmanship on the MSBA has also won over the vote of state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier. She credits Grossman with "keeping his word" and moving the Taconic High School project along in the process.
"He has kept his word and more than one time he has had to intervene and say 'we told Pittsfield they would get their school and we're not going to let this get stuck anymore.' I have a great appreciation for that," Farley-Bouvier said in a recent interview.
On Thursday, Grossman reiterated his support for Taconic High School. He remembers the debate over how many schools the city needs. He says he sees importance in the school because it could be a "gamechanger" for the region.
"One of the things that will characterize Berkshire County over the next one, three, five, 10 years is a potential explosion of advanced and precision manufacturing," Grossman said.
He later added, "one of the problems the Berkshires has is that there are more jobs available than there are people to fill the jobs. If that's the case, let's do everything we can to recruit, train and retain the next generation of tool makers and advanced manufacturers."
Having a focus in manufacturing is what brought him to Apex. Grossman says he wanted to see Apex because it is a model of the advanced manufacturing he hopes will define the area.
And that starts with a renovated high school. Grossman says every day a new high school isn't built, the more young people the area loses to the eastern part of the state. That's the value he saw as chairman and he says he helped keep the focus on it.
General Manager Tony Liporace showed Grossman around the Downing Industrial Park business.
"It was obvious to everybody that Taconic needed to be rebuilt or renovated. It was obvious that if we could do it more quickly, consistent with the local community and with the validation of the curriculum, this was good for the community. Every day that we don't have a new school is a day we lose somebody," Grossman said.
For Mark, Grossman stood out because of the educational focus — particularly a plan to freeze college tuition. Mark is part of the house's higher education committee and recently headed a subcommittee looking to curb student debt — identifying rising tuition and fees as a cause.
"Treasurer Grossman's proposal to freeze fees and tuition at our public colleges and universities for the next four years is an initiative I support wholeheartedly," said Mark in a statement released by the Grossman campaign. "Access to a college education is essential to leveling the playing field for young people across Massachusetts."
Bowler cited the candidate's focus on substance abuse and mental health as lead issues as why he support Grossman.
Both Mazzeo and Bianchi released statements backing Grossman, saying they feel he is the candidate that would work the best with them. Bianchi cited his "commitment" as treasurer to the county.
The representatives said they, too, feel like Grossman work best with the Legislature. For Grossman, that support is what is giving him confidence as the polls show the race tightening.
"If the mayor of Pittsfield says Steve Grossman is somebody who believes deeply in Pittsfield and is going to invest and be my partner. And the president of the City Council says she is going to be our partner. And the sheriff says he is working with me on the opioid crisis that we've got and I've got some idea for that. If your top leaders are all saying this is somebody who gets the Berkshires, who understands it, who spends an enormous amount of time here, he's spent all his life out here working with his dad. That's the kind of thing that sends the message to people who say, I'm going to give Steve Grossman a vote because he is a proven jobs creator," Grossman said.
While he may have won the most votes at the Democratic State Convention in June, he has been trailing Coakley since. But, he says it isn't until the final two weeks before the race that people make up their minds so he is confident he'll be the party's candidate.
"I think this is going to come down to the wire," Grossman said.
Grossman Talks Manufacturing, Minimum Wage 10-09-2013 - Grossman spoke at the Berkshire Brigades office on Wednesday after filming a television show with the Democratic group. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Manufacturing is in the state's DNA so...
"Steve Grossman has the administrative experience running the treasury and running his own business to be able to be a good executive, Farley-Bouvier said of the current state treasurer. "He has excellent working relationships with the Legislature and that's what is lacking with the current administration."
Particularly of importance to Farley-Bouvier, Grossman, as chairman of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, has helped moved the city's application for reimbursement to build a new Taconic High School through the process.
"It was stuck in the muck for years and we did as much as we could to keep it moving and work with the MSBA. When I got to the Legislature, one of the first people I talked to was Steve Grossman and he promised me then he would move this," she said. "And he has kept his word and more than one time he has had to intervene and say 'we told Pittsfield they would get their school and we're not going to let this get stuck anymore.' I have a great appreciation for that."
"She is the person I feel has the most experience to do the job. She reflects a lot of my values when it comes to where priorities are in consumer protection," Farley-Bouvier said. "Her job is to be the people's lawyer and I feel she has the experience, passion and energy to do that."
In the treasurer's race to replace Grossman, Farley-Bouvier is supporting Tom Conroy.
"He is a colleague of mine in the house and he is really the architect of the minimum wage bill. He puts great value on working families. He has the financial experience that nobody else has working with both small businesses and big financial companies. I think he is going to be a great treasurer," Farley-Bouvier said.
Pro-Choice Group Endorses Markey in Senate Primary
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, announced on Thursday that the organization's political action committee endorsed U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Malden, in the special primary election for Massachusetts' open seat in the U.S. Senate.
"I am proud to have NARAL Pro-Choice America endorse my candidacy," said Markey. "I strongly support a woman's right to choose and believe women should have access to the full range of reproductive health care choices. With reproductive rights under constant attack, women across the country and in Massachusetts need a champion on these issues in the Senate. I've spent three decades fighting for women's freedom of choice, and I will continue this track record if elected to the Senate."
"Rep. Markey is the only candidate in this race with a steadfast commitment to protecting reproductive freedom and privacy," Hogue said. "Markey shares the widely held belief that women are capable of making their own health-care decisions without interference from politicians. Despite considerable losses in the 2012 election cycle, anti-choice politicians continue their relentless attacks on women's reproductive rights. We must ensure the Senate continues to serve as the firewall against an agenda that's out of touch with our nation's values and priorities."
Hogue said NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC has given the maximum contribution of $5,000 to a special primary election and will work with Megan Amundson, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, to organize activists and provide on-the-ground support for Markey's campaign.
Amundson praised the endorsement and said Markey would build on his record as an effective leader for reproductive rights.
"Ed Markey is a champion for women's reproductive choice," Amundson said. "As a member of the House, Ed has shown an unwavering commitment through some of the most intense attacks against reproductive freedom. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts holds Ed Markey in the highest esteem and we are proud that NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC has endorsed his candidacy."
The primary is April 30.
MNA Endorses Lynch for U.S. Senate Seat
Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United Community Submission
CANTON, Mass. — The Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, the largest union of registered nurses and health professionals in the commonwealth, on Tuesday announced that it has endorsed U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch for U.S. Senate in the Massachusetts special election.
"Our endorsement of Congressman Lynch was based on his outstanding record of supporting a number of issues important to frontline nurses in Massachusetts, including his longstanding support for Federal and state legislation to require safe RN-to-patient staffing limits for nurses in acute care hospitals, safer working conditions for nurses, and access to quality health care for all in America," said MNA/NNU President Donna Kelly-Williams, a registered nurse.
"Nurses have also seen firsthand how the economy has affected our patients, friends and family through the loss of jobs, their homes and their retirement savings," Kelly-Williams added. "As a former iron worker and president of the Iron Workers Union, Lynch's record on issues important to labor and working families is beyond dispute, and includes his commitment to supporting a progressive agenda to create jobs with living wages, provide quality housing, education and a secure retirement for all."
MNA board member Kathy Metzger said she remembered Lynch's tireless efforts to support nurses at Brockton Hospital when they were on strike in 2001 for 104 days to win improvements in registered nurse staffing levels and an end to what the union said was the dangerous practice of mandatory overtime for nurses.
"Steve Lynch was with us every day of that strike, supporting us on the picket line and as an elected leader using his power and influence to stand up for nurses and patients. He has continued that support for the last decade, and in the Senate, he would continue that work, not only for nurse, but also for all workers who are struggling in this economy."
"I am incredibly grateful to have the backing of the Massachusetts Nurses Association," said Lynch, who respresents the 8th District. "I have walked with nurses on the picket line, and supported them in the halls of the State House and the Capitol Building. Their efforts not only improve working conditions at hospitals and other health care settings, but also improve patient safety and quality of care. I am honored to have their support in this campaign, and I will continue to fight on their behalf in the U.S. Senate."
Lynch has also expressed support for the MNA/NNU's call for a "Robin Hood Tax," a small tax on the risky Wall Street financial transactions that would raise billions of dollars each year to support initiatives to rebuild the middle class, while curtailing reckless trading practices.
Pignatelli Receives Number of Endorsements
LENOX, Mass. — William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who is running for re-election as state representative in the 4th Berkshire District, has won a number of endorsements in the weeks leading up to the election on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
The Lenox Democrat has received the official endorsement of his colleagues — all Democrats — in the Berkshire delegation. He also received the endorsement of the Berkshire Brigades, the county's Democratic Party organization. Now the longest-serving member of the delegation, Pignatelli serves on the Ways & Means committee and the Higher Education and Arts, Tourism & Cultural Development Committees.
"The Berkshire Delegation endorses Rep. Smitty Pignatelli because we have seen firsthand what his leadership has meant to the entire Berkshires. He has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of his constituents and this region and we are all better of for it. We hope the voters of the 4th Berkshire district will come to the same conclusion when they go to the polls on November 6th," said the delegation of state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing and Reps. Gailanne Cariddi, Paul Mark and Tricia Farley-Bouvier in a joint statement.
The three first-term representatives lauded Pignatelli's leadership and mentoring, and Downing described him as an effective advocate for the region's small communities. "There is no one with which I would rather stand up and fight for the Berkshires than Smitty," said Downing.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Berkshire County Fire Chiefs Association have also endorsed Pignatelli.
"The residents of this district are fortunate to have a candidate with his qualifications and experience running for this seat," said MTA Director of Governmental Services, Joanne Blum. "His commitment to supporting and strengthening public education at all levels as evidenced in his voting record is extremely important to MTA members."
The MTA represents 110,000 teachers, faculty, professional staff and education support professionals working at public schools, colleges and universities across Massachusetts.
"Smitty is always there and willing to assist Berkshire County fire departments and emergency personnel with any issue that may arise," said Lanesborough Fire Chief Charles Durfee, president of Berkshire County Fire Chiefs Association. "Recently, Smitty worked extremely hard to assist Berkshire County emergency officials in resolving a complex issue which hampered dispatching emergency responders in Southern Berkshire."
During the past legislative session, Pignatelli was involved in the coalition that helped to pass a bill that protects call and volunteer firefighters from being dismissed from their primary job if they arrive late for work because they were responding to a call. The legislation broadened the responsibilities of call and volunteer firefighters that may be excused by primary employers to include natural disasters, emergency medical response, and hazardous material incidents.
The Berkshire County Fire Chiefs Association, based in Lanesborough, was formed in 1998 and represents all the fire departments and emergency personnel of Berkshire County.
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