State Democrats Taking Aim At Romney's Economics
Former North Adams Mayor John Barrett III appears in a campaign ad taking aim at former Gov. Mitt Romney's economic expertise.
Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray and former North Adams Mayor John Barrett III will join other party leaders at a press conference in front of the State House with Obama for America Senior Strategist David Axelrod.
The press conference is being held the same day as the debut of a television spot from the Obama campaign that also features the former North Adams mayor.
"Mitt Romney was not an effective leader in Massachusetts and the proof is in the pudding," says Barrett, the state's longest serving mayor, in the new ad.
Barrett, who had been a supportor of North Adams native daughter Jane Swift, Romney's Republican predecessor, had a rocky relationship with the governor (and his aide, Eric Fehrnstrom). He wasn't the only one.
Romney's one term coincided with a significant downturn in the Massachusetts economy that put him at odds with the Democratic-controlled Legislature and the state's mayors, including Murray, then mayor of Worcestor.
Democrats say that during his term, the state was 47th in job creation and that Romney raised taxes and fees by $750 million. The Romney campaign has countered that the former governor left office with an unemployment rate of just over 4 percent.
Also speaking at the press conference will be Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad, who served in the state Legislature when Romney was governor, and Mayor Joseph Curatone of Somerville.
Romney, who rarely ventured into the Berkshires and never visited North Adams, lost the county 2-1 to Democratic opponent Shannon O'Brien in 2002.
Neal Sharing Campaign Offices With Warren, Downing
While both offices belong to Neal, Elizabeth Warren's campaign for U.S. Senate, the Massachusetts Democratic Party and Benjamin B. Downing's campaign for state Senate will operate out of Neal's headquarters.
"As we have seen in the past, Democrats are successful when we work together to achieve common goals," said Neal, currently the representative for the 2nd Mass District. "Once I established the locations for my regional campaign headquarters I knew offering Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democratic Party, and Senator Downing the opportunity to join my Springfield and Pittsfield offices would be beneficial to Democrats of the First Congressional District. I look forward to working closely with Elizabeth and continuing the close relationship I have shared with Ben and the Massachusetts Democratic Party."
Neal is running for the Democratic nomination for representative. Part of his current district will be merged with the 1st Mass Distrit beginning in January 2013. Warren is challenging the sitting Republican incumbent for the Senate seat. Downing is running for his fourth term in the state Senate representing communities in Western Massachusetts.
"I'm excited to be opening offices in Springfield and Pittsfield and to continue meeting people throughout Western Massachusetts," said Warren. "I look forward to working with Congressman Neal to address the unique challenges facing the region and to level the playing field for middle class families across the commonwealth."
"It's great to see the grassroots excitement and organizing that Democrats are committed to across Massachusetts," said Downing, who previously served as an intern in Neal's Washington congressional office. "I'm looking forward to working with the Mass Democratic Party, Congressman Neal, and Elizabeth Warren to make sure the Berkshires help elect leaders committed to fighting for the middle class."
Neal's regional campaign headquarters are both situated in residential areas with high traffic. While the Pittsfield office is a short distance from the downtown business district, the Springfield office is located in the heart of the East Forest Park neighborhood that was decimated during last year's June 1st tornado.
"Winning campaigns are fueled by volunteers with the buzz and excitement created through an active headquarters," Neal said. "We are fortunate to have campaign offices in prime locations that will enable our volunteers to mobilize and organize effectively."
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.
Laugenour Launching Green Party Bid For State Rep.
Photo by Susan Geller
L. Scott Laugenour in 2010.
Laugenour is gathering signatures and expects to host an official campaign launch in the coming months. After falling short in 2010 for the House's 4th Berkshire District, Laugenour says the campaign is "stronger" than ever before.
"We're stronger and more experienced," Laugenour said on Thursday. "The campaign is stronger, we are stronger. Our strength comes from the people."
A fundraiser last year has already put the party ahead, he said. Laugenour said he is starting this campaign with as much money as he spent all of the last election. With that, he has hired a campaign manager, which he lacked during the last run.
"We saw the need for an effective manager and are now strong enough to hire one," Laugenour said.
Laugenour plans to host an official launch at the end of May to take on Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who defeated Laugenour by a sound margin of 652-159 in 2010. Laugenour says the campaign is not "against" Pignatelli but more a shake up in "politics as usual" to increase the number of voices in government.
"We have a real deficit of democracy," Laugenour said, adding that at this point the 4th Berkshire District appears to be the only contested race. "It's not a campaign against anybody."
Laugenour was also involved in Mark Miller's campaigns in 2010 and in the 2011 special election for the 3rd Berkshire District. Miller fell less than 200 votes short last year of becoming the Green-Rainbow Party's first state representative, an increase from his 2010 bid in which he was barely 1,000 votes shy.
Laugenour said his campaign will be built on sustainable energy policy, health care reform and a general need for different voices.
"Politics as usual isn't serving the community," Laugenour said. "We're just in a downward spiral right now. It's a big money, corporate-dominated structure."
Laugenour says a single-payer health care system is the "obvious" solution to growing health care costs but it is not being enacted because of the "big money" in politics.
"Fifty percent of our budget goes to health care and the solution is obvious but is being thwarted," he said. "We're not making progress."
As for energy, Laugenour supports all types of green energy. While drilling for oil is not done much in Massachusetts, the country is drilling just as much as it always has despite an emphasis on green energy. The state needs to discuss even more green options.
"Is it wind, solar, geothermal? It's probably a combination of them all," Laugenour said. "Let's give our communities a goal to reduce their carbon footprint."
However, he opposes a controversial wind siting bill that officials claimed would streamline the permitting process for wind turbines because of the lack of local control.
"It was allowing a three-member panel to be the voice of the community," Laugenour said. "It's a little bit of a house of cards."
Laugenour said there needs to be more discussions and options for communities to pursue green energy.
"We're all about finding solutions," Laugenour said. "We're supercharged and excited."
Laugenour has just about enough signatures to place him on the ballot and he is just getting them certified now. He expects to be on the ballot on May 15.
Biros Announces For Adams Town ModeratorEditor's Note: This candidate letter was received from Ryan Biros.
ADAMS, Mass. — It is a privilege to announce my candidacy for Adams town moderator.
I have lived in Adams my entire life and decided several years ago to help keep our town moving forward. Growing up in Adams has taught me a few things; everyone knows who you are or knows a family member, people will always stand firm for what they believe in and most importantly, the extreme interest in the citizens of Adams to be part of the community. Some citizens are involved in our town government, some are involved in community organizations or both.
I am involved with both. Currently I am a member of town meeting for Precinct 2, the Historical Commission, Redevelopment Authority and serve as town webmaster. As member of town meeting, I understand the importance of healthy and productive debate. Serving on both the Historical Commission and Redevelopment Authority has taught me the value of preservation and progress.
I became town webmaster four years ago after noticing that the town website was in need of an overhaul. I worked with the Board of Selectmen and the town administrator to change it. One year later, the town re-launched the website, which is now user-friendly, bills can be paid online, serves as 24-hour bulletin board with up-to-date information.
I volunteer as an adult leader in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturing units in Adams. In these roles I have helped the youth of Adams to reach their full potential and become leaders. I also am a member of the PNA, the Adams Historical Society and a former member of the Maple Grove Civic Club.
Town moderator is an important position. The town moderator is the presiding officer of town meeting and is responsible for keeping order, summarizing warrant articles for debate, calling for votes and moderating discussion. Aside from town meeting, the moderator appoints members to the Finance Committee. If elected I will maintain the integrity of the meeting, be fair and firm to all members and remain unbiased in selecting candidates for appointment to the finance committee. Our town has been and is continuing to work hard to move forward.
I am proud of the work I have done and will continue to do for the town of Adams. I am asking for your support on Monday, May 7, to become Adams town moderator. Thank you.