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Alcombright Kicks Off Mayoral Campaign

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
Mayor Richard Alcombright makes a point at his campaign kickoff.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mayor Richard Alcombright kicked off the city's campaign season on Thursday night with a downtown rally.

More than a 100 supporters attended Alcombright's announcement for a third run at the corner office, held at the newly named MediTerra on Main Street. In between kebabs and cigar boreks, the mayor told the crowd he had three simple reasons for running again: his love of the city, working with people and solving problems, and the progress he has seen.

(Alcombright spoke with iBerkshires about some of the challenges he sees in a third term earlier this month.)

"I truly love this city, I love what was, what it has become and the thought of what it can become," he said. "I think we truly are making progress. I would not do this again if I didn't think we were moving in the right direction."

Alcombright pointed to Crane & Co., which had planned to leave the city with 120 jobs when he first entered office three years ago. After many discussions and a negotiated tax break, North Adams is now the headquarters for Crane's Fine Stationery Division and is expected to employ 280 people by September.

"Maybe the first time that this old mill town in decades has seen two shifts running," said the mayor to applause.

"I work very quietly ... I want folks to know and understand that being mayor is about one thing ... leadership," said Alcombright. "I quietly provide that leadership each and every day. I don't look for headlines, quite honestly I try to avoid them, I look for results and when I get them, I pat those folks on the back who make it happen."

He checked of a list accomplishments that included keeping Juvenile Court and state services in the city, the Conte School project, the Walmart Supercenter and its nearly 200 jobs, plans for a 4 megawatt solar array, development of tourist trains, collaborations with surrounding communities, pushing for the resurfacing of the West End bridges ahead of schedule, savings in city services and health insurance costs, a new master plan, ongoing talks for the redevelopment of Western Gateway Heritage State Park, and keeping budgets at less than 2 percent over the last three cycles.

"But there is a darkness in this city brought on by a few who I truly believe do not want the city to succeed," said Alcombright. "However, despite destructive efforts, we have a clear mission within my administration and that is simply to make things happen through vision and collaboration."

More effort is still needed in working with efficiencies and state and local officials, he said, and the recent rash of violence has to be addressed.

He vowed to "put the hurt" on those selling drugs in the city. And after the stabbing incident outside a city bar two weeks ago, he determined "the day of the incident that that bar would be closed ... It remains closed as we speak."

Alcombright was introduced by Richard Taskin.

"Our crime issues for the large part are drug and alcohol related and we need a way to figure out how to fix that," said Alcombright, adding that he would be meeting with the Police Director Michael Cozzaglio and the media on Friday.

Much of the mayor's comments were met with applause. Eight of the nine city councilors stopped in — President Michael Bloom, Alan Marden, Marie Harpin, Lisa Blackmer, Keith Bona, David Bond, Nancy Bullett and Jennifer Breen — as well Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi, Berkshire Community College President Ellen Kennedy and North Adams Chamber of Commerce President Glenn Maloney.  

He was also endorsed by 2005 mayoral candidate Walter L. Smith Jr., who said Alcombright had accomplished 90 percent of the goals he'd laid out four years ago.

The simplest sign that he was turning the city around was the installation of the benches on Main Street, said Smith. "This is not the old North Adams anymore, this is the new North Adams."

Local attorney Richard Taskin, who produces a program with Alcombright on NBCTV, introduced the mayor as "a man of faith and a person with faith in people" who was big enough to admit his mistakes and "willing to do what is right even if it is not popular."

Perhaps the most unpopular was his decision to pursue a Proposition 2 1/2 override two years ago. "I'm still in therapy," Alcombright joked, but he was convinced it was the right thing to do to square the city's continued fiscal woes. Despite its defeat, he said it "proved I can handle myself in a tough situation."

"Have you liked everything I've done?" he said. "I don't think so but that's OK. Hell, even my mother tells me all the things I do wrong."

Alcombright said he had delivered on his vows for openness, honesty, accessibility and transparency and asked voters to continue to trust him.

"We only have to agree on two things here tonight: We love this city and we want to see it grow," he said. "If we have those two things in common, we can work together."


     

Markey, Democratic Leaders Rally For U.S. Senate Race

By: Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
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.

     

Senate Hopeful Gomez Stresses Security at Lenco Armored

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

Gomez addressing dozens of supporters at Lenco in Pittsfield.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. —  With a backdrop of Lenco-made armored vehicles, U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez make the case Tuesday that he is a stronger voice for homeland security than his opponent.

The Cohasset Republican is campaigning for the special election to replace the seat vacated by John Kerry. He is up against Democrat Edward Markey, a U.S. House member representing the 5th Massachusetts District.

Gomez held a rally Tuesday at Lenco and cited reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and two resolutions honoring the victims of 9/11 as bills he supports and that Markey had opposed.

Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, believes he is the better candidate to make decisions regarding homeland security.

"We live in a dangerous world, which we were reminded of five weeks ago. We need someone who will be strong on national security. My opponent could not be any weaker on national security."

Gomez ran the Boston Marathon, finishing just shortly before the bombs went off. He recalled the "amazing" scene of first responders rushing in to help and then a few days later when police shut down the city to find and capture Dzokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of being one of the bombers.

That day was a "reminder" of how increasingly dangerous the world is now, he said.

"We've got to make sure not only our troops but our law enforcement and emergency responders are safe. And it is because of this company right here that they are," Gomez said standing in front of a newly built armored BearCat, the  the same type used by many law enforcement agencies in Tsarnaev's capture .

Following Tsarnaev's arrest, Gomez said it was provisions in the Patriot Act that should have been followed. Gomez says instead of being held as a suspect, Tsarnaev, an American citizen, should have been held as an enemy combatant.

"He should not have been read his Miranda rights. We still don't know where he trained, who he trained, what he was trained in and how he trained and potential other threats that are out there that we could be facing," Gomez said. "It is within our right to hold someone as an enemy combatant."

Markey voted against reauthorizing the Patriot Act, whereas Gomez believes it provides law enforcement needed tools. Markey, a 37-year House veteran, voted twice against resolutions to honor victims of the 9/11 attacks, which Gomez said was "unconscionable." Markey said he voted against them because it linked the attacks to Iraq and referenced the Patriot Act. But Gomez calls that a partisan choice and not one for the people.

"One of the main difference between me and Congressman Markey is that he will put party and politics above everything else. I will always put the people ahead of party and politics," said Gomez, a newcomer to politics.

Markey also voted against the formation of the Department of Homeland Security saying it took away collective bargaining rights of some federal workers.

While Gomez mostly focused on homeland security Tuesday, he addressed an array of issues while answering questions from the dozens there.

Mostly, Gomez painted a moderate position, saying he supports background checks for gun purchases and that he supports the idea of the Affordable Health Care Act but would repeal many parts of it.

"When I go down to D.C. I will look at every bill that is front of me and the first question I will ask is, does it follow my fiscal conservative beliefs?' And then second, is this important, is it right for the people of Massachusetts?" Gomez said, striking a similar tone to former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, to whom Gomez has been compared. "It shouldn't matter who gets the credit as long as it is the right thing to do."

Those positions were also coupled with his belief in decreasing the corporate tax, support for defense spending and proposing an "adult discussion on entitlements."

He calls for increasing the retirement age and implementing means testing for Medicaid and Medicare.

"I'm a Navy guy. I am a father. I am a husband. I am an American. I am with the Republican Party and have been all my life. But I am not tied to an ideological position," he said of his stance on issues. 

The statewide election will be held on June 25, leaving the campaigns just short of five weeks to rally their respective supporters.  

     

Senate Candidate Gomez to Visit Pittsfield

Letters to the Editor

What are you doing next Tuesday? Do you have time to do something for your country? Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, needs your support in his bid to become our next U.S. senator. Please join me in welcoming Gomez back to the Berkshires on Tuesday, May 21, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. at Lenco Armored Vehicles, 10 Betnr Industrial Drive in Pittsfield.

The stakes are high and the choice is clear in the special U.S. Senate election scheduled for June 25. Gabriel Gomez is a political newcomer, a family man, and a first-generation American who believes in the American Dream. His opponent, Congressmen Ed Markey, is a career politician who has sided with flag burners and job killers over a 40-year career marked by bounced checks and broken promises.

Now is the time to take a stand. Please join me in welcoming Gabriel Gomez back to the Berkshires on Tuesday, May 21 from 2:30 to 3:45 PM at Lenco Armored Vehicles, 10 Betnr Industrial Drive in Pittsfield. It’s time to take our country back from the career politicians. Come meet Gabriel for yourself and see the difference that a true leader can make.

Steven Melito
Adams, Mass.
May 14, 2013

     

Adams Selectman Nichols Opts Out Of Re-election Bid

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

Nichols served two nonconsectutive terms on the Board of Selectmen, in 2003 and 2010.

ADAMS, Mass. — Selectman Scott Nichols will not be seeking re-election.

The sports director at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts announced Friday that he would not run in the upcoming election.

 "After a great deal of thought I have determined due to my personal and professional commitments, I cannot devote the time to the office that the people of Adams deserve," Nichols said in a statement on Friday.

His departure means there will be no incumbents in the election. His seat and the seat of Paula Melville, who resigned from the board, will be on the ballot.

Both Nichols and Melville were elected in 2010, the second part of a massive turnaround on the board. In 2009, two incumbents were ousted by newcomers and Nichols and Melville continued that trend a year later — beating then Chairman Donald Sommer.

This is also the second time Nichols has left after one term. He also decided not to seek re-election in 2006, only to return in 2010.

"I believe there are other potential candidates that may want to run for office and I wanted to give enough notice so they have time to submit their paperwork," Nichols said in a statement Friday. "I want to thank everyone who supported me and wish the board the best of luck in the future."

Nomination papers are due in the town clerk's office by Monday, March 18, and so far Richard Blanchard and Joe Nowak have returned papers and are qualified to be on the ballot. Blanchard has run unsuccessfully twice before; Nowak is on the chairman of the Agricultural Committee and a member of the Conservation Commission.

Michael Young and Glendon Diehl also took out papers but have yet to turn them in. Last year also saw heavy interest for the position with five candidates vying for two seats.

     
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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Election
Tuesday, Nov. 4

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation was Oct.15.


Candidates on the ballot in races for state office; all others on the ballot are unopposed. Links will take you to their campaign websites.

U.S. Senator
Edward J. Markey, Democrat
Brian J. Herr, Republican

Governor/Lieutenant Governor
Charlie Baker & Karyn Polito, Republican
Martha Coakley & Stephen Kerrigan, Democrat
Evan Falchuk & Angus Jennings, United Independent Party
Scott Lively & Shelly Saunders, Independent
Jeff McCormick & Tracy Post, Independent 

Attorney General
Maura Healey, Democratic
John B. Miller, Republican

Secretary of State
William Francis Galvin, Democratic
David D'Arcangelo, Republican
Daniel L. Factor, Green-Rainbow

Treasurer
Deborah B. Goldberg, Democratic
Michael James Heffernan, Republican
Ian T. Jackson, Green-Rainbow

Auditor
Suzanne M. Bump, Democratic
Patricia S. Saint Aubin, Republican
MK Merelice, Green-Rainbow

Municipal Elections

The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015

You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.

2010 Special Senate Election Results

Election 2009 Stories

Election Day 2008

 

 

 



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