U.S. Senate Candidate Brian Herr Fighting for Name Recognition
|Brian Herr, on the left, met with Republicans at Pittsfield campaign headquarters Thursday morning.|
Republican Herr To Challenge Markey for Senate
|Brian Herr says he'll represent the people of Massachusetts, not the party that put him on the ballot. His campaign site is here.|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In 2010, Brian Herr said what he was supposed to say. He did what he was told to do.
But, he still lost the race for U.S. Senate.
|Herr met with local Republicans at Zucco's Restaurant in Pittsfield on Tuesday.|
Independent Candidate For U.S. Senate Walks Into Pittsfield
The systems dynamics engineer is running for Congress in an effort to start pushing money out of politics.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Bruce Skarin specializes in understanding the dynamics of mechanical systems over time.
After the terrorist attacks of 2001, he adapted that model to understand the dynamics of political systems — revealing that the attacks were in the making for a long time and could have been prevented and predicted if the "big picture" had been carefully analyzed.
"It was that day when a lot of things were turned upside down for me. I wanted to see what I could do with these new skills I had in trying to take on big problems. I did a model on terrorism and I was able to simulate the 10 years leading up to September 11," Skarin said last week as he walked through downtown meeting with residents and collecting signatures for a run for the U.S. Senate.
"I was able to simulate how things were building up and how different pieces of the problem were trying to prevent terrorism from happening and how other pieces were reinforcing the likelihood."
Now, in 2014, he says the government system is setting the wrong course. Instead of complaining about the influence of money in politics, the lack of environmental protections and a poor education system, Skarin has already announced his intention to challenge U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.
"Two years ago, when my second son was born, I was getting increasingly concerned with the future we're creating right now," he said. "As a simulation scientist, I understand how much inertia problems like national debt, climate change, a stagnant economy have. They have huge amounts of inertia that when the problems are starting to brew, it might not seem so bad. But by the time the really bad stuff starts happening, it is really hard to change."
Basically, Skarin believes Congress isn't moving fast enough the address coming issues. And, the main reason behind that is because of the influence large companies have over the elected officials.
"I'm independent because I believe both parties are blowing it. Neither one of them understand what the daily challenges are for most people," Skarin said. "I think the Washington elites are very much disconnected to the people they are supposed to represent."
For example, when it comes to global warming, he says Congress depends so much on the campaign donations from energy companies that it prevents any energy policy that will curb the issue.
Another example Skarin used is that in the future, vehicles and transportation will move to automatic systems — cutting down on car accidents. However, the insurance and health care industries benefit greatly from them. Instead of seeing he issue before it arises and starting to plan a future around those changes, Congress is swayed by the businesses that donate.
"I'd say that is the first issue. Until we can effectively deal with that, which is why I am running a citizen funded campaign and why I want to spend more of my time and energy connecting with people as opposed to raising money," he said.
In the current trajectory, money is growing in influence over public policy, he said. He wants to work toward removing that influence and said that then that economic markets can compete fairly, boosting the economy.
"It has gotten more and more expensive to run elections because people have gotten less and less interested in what's going on. They don't buy it anymore," he said. "It is reinforcing because the more money they raise, the more disgusted people get. The more disgusted people get, the more they tune out. The more they tune out, the more they have to spend to hit those prime time slots."
Skarin is walking eight to 20 miles a day through Massachusetts towns. He's meeting people, talking politics and having face-to-face conversations.
"I feel this is the right way to do it. I won't raise as much money as Markey. But he can't get out here and do this," Skarin said. "It isn't supposed to be about the money or running attack ads."
The 37-year-old Milbury man characterizes his political believes as taking the "best parts" of Republican Democratic platforms. While he sides with Republicans when it comes to fiscal conservative and individual responsibility principals, he sides with the Democrats when it comes to social justice issues.
"They're heart is in the right place but they don't really understand how to create sustainable solutions," he said of Democrats, taking the minimum wage debate as an example of a temporary fix and then the U.S. debt as unsustainable.
He also is placing a high priority on revamping the national education system to prepare for the advancement of technology.
"We can have a very forward thinking strategy," he said.
Markey, Democratic Leaders Rally For U.S. Senate Race
|U.S. Rep. Edward Markey rallied voters in Pittsfield on Friday with local and state Democratic leaders including his House colleague, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Despite leading in the polls before the special election for the U.S. Senate, Democratic candidate Edward Markey isn't coasting the final four days because "overconfidence breeds complacency and complacency breeds disaster."
He is on a tight schedule through Tuesday that took him Friday to the Berkshire Brigades' offices, where he was joined by Gov. Deval Patrick, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and a large group of Democratic leaders and elected officials.
"I don't feel confident. You can't feel that way. It's like asking the Bruins 'are you going to win the Stanley Cup?' they don't know," Markey said before entering a full room of supporters. "You have to keep at a high level of intensity just so you maximize the result on election night. Then you can celebrate. Then you can relax."
The congressman from Malden is running for the seat vacated by John Kerry, who accepted appointment as U.S. secretary of state. Being a special election and held on an atypical election schedule, voter turnout is expected to be the biggest concern for Democrats.
"For the final four days it is all about getting out the vote," Markey said. "I want to win out here. I am trying to get up the enthusiasm, get the troops out there and make sure that people get out and vote Tuesday."
Auditor Suzanne Bump of Great Barrington said Democrats are not competing with the Republicans but rather "apathy."
She said the decision of who to vote for is easy because Markey has "already demonstrated his values." But Democrats need to "take it to the streets" in order to win the election, she said.
"This is not a leap of faith when we cast this vote. This is a vote of confidence," Bump said. Republican competitor Gabriel Gomez of Cohasset has been positioning himself as a fresh face and has criticized Markey for being a career politician. Markey was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1974.
But all of the speakers rallied behind representative's 38-year record in expanding broadband access, support for social programs and protecting the environment.
"New isn't always better. Being better is better," Patrick said. "Being right on the issues is better. Seeing us all, not just the mighty but the meek is better. Voting right on the issues, that's better. Caring about lifting the commonweath and the country up, that's better. Putting national interest before party or partisan interest, that's better."
Patrick received roaring applause from the crowd of about 150 people sporting in Markey campaign stickers. He said Markey knows what it takes to give the opportunity for the American dream.
"The American dream requires personal responsibility, grit, determination and resilience — all the things we often hear our conservative friends talk about — self-reliance. They're right," Patrick said. "But the American dream also requires a good education. It also requires affordable health care and a safe neighborhood.
"It also requires a clean environment and true and equal opportunity. All of those things make the American dream possible and we fight for good government because good government makes those things possible."
|Gov. Deval Patrick said Markey voted the right way on the issues.|
Markey said building the American dream means to look to the future, as he has done in the past when he has "sided with companies that did not exist yet." He is supportive of furthering technology and making Massachusetts the "biotech capital of the world."
"This race is about the future and we have to make sure we protect and advance it," Markey said.
Neal, who has worked with Markey the longest and would be come the dean of the congressional delegation if Markey wins, said his colleague has always been looking toward the future.
"Those of us who are his peers, know how good he is," Neal said. "He is kind, he is decent and he is a great legislator."
Also speaking were state Reps. Paul Mark and Tricia Farley-Bouvier, state Sen. Benjamin Downing and Mayor Daniel Bianchi. The office was filled with elected officials — including North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, District Attorney David Capeless, City Council President Kevin Sherman and Register of Deeds Patsy Harris — and local Democratic leaders.
"We need to be with Ed Markey because time after time, Ed Markey has been with us," Patrick said.
The special Senate election is Tuesday, June 25, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Also on the ballot is Twelve Visions Party canddiate Richard A. Heos.
Berkshire Brigades Holding Meet & Greet With Markey
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Brigades are holding a "meet and greet" with U.S. Senate candidate Edward Markey on Friday.
Markey will be joined by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and others at the state Democratic Party headquarters on North Street. The event starts a 4:30 p.m.
Markey is running against Gabriel Gomez for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by John Kerry, who accepted appointment as secretary of state. The special election is on June 25.