Independent Candidate For Governor Campaigns In North Adams
|Evan Falchuk shaking hands with voters as he marched in the Fall Foliage Parade in North Adams on Sunday.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Evan Falchuk has been keeping his boots on the ground in his campaign for governor.
On Sunday, that took him to the Fall Foliage Parade to meet Berkshire County voters.
|Falchuk outside of the iBerkshires office after an interview.|
Coakley Talks Education, Economy in Campaign Swing
|Attorney General Martha Coakley meets with voters in Pittsfield and North Adams during a campaign swing in the Berkshires to announce her run for governor.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The self-described "Berkshires Girl" was back in the county on Tuesday seeking support for another run at office.
This time Attorney General Martha Coakley has her eye on the governor's office next year, and she's hoping the Berkshires will once again back her as it has overwhelmingly in the past.
The North Adams native swung through the Berkshires as part of her three-day "barnstorming" across the state to announce her candidacy, focusing on the twin themes economic recovery and education. She knows that when the economy sinks, it sinks even further in Berkshire County.
"I grew up here, my father owned a business in Berkshire County," said Coakley. "I know some of the issues but I know some have changed but I want to stay involved."
Tuesday brought her to an impromptu stop in Lee before Pittsfield and eventually to her home city of North Adams. At Dottie's, there wasn't a big stump speech — it was just coffee shop chatter, chatter she hopes to hear throughout the campaign and beyond.
"Certainly as governor one of things I want to do is to make sure we are able to have this economy turn around not just for some but for everybody," Coakley said after meeting more than a dozen voters during the afternoon stop in Pittsfield that that included District Attorney David Capeless, Berkshire Brigades leader Sheila Murray, Middle Berkshire Register of Deeds Patsy Harris and Edith "Kit" Dobelle, former U.S. Chief of Protocol. "And that means for regions like Berkshire County, north and south, taking into account what our strengths and weaknesses are, working with our local businesses and our local folks here and our not-for-profits."
Those experiences include going after bank mortgage practices, lowering the cost of health care and lowering the energy costs. But there is more she feels she can do. To kick start the economy, Coakley says the education system needs to be improved for both children and adults.
"I hear a lot of the same theme, about people feel a little more optimistic about the economy but they're still struggling," she said in North Adams. "One of the reasons I'm running for governor is to make sure we continue progress in Massachusetts on the economic front but that we do it for everybody, not just for a wealthy few, and that we make sure that we modernize our education."
She wants to focus on economic development, infrastructure and education but the details will be parsed out during the campaign. But her skills and experience is what drove her into the race, calling it a "critical time" for Massachusetts.
"I'm really excited about my chance to work with and for the people of Massachusetts."
Coakley will have set herself apart from what's becoming a crowded field of Democratic candidates, which so far includes early favorite Treasurer Steven Grossman, two former Obama administration executives and at least one entrepreneur, with a couple of high-profile candidate still on the fence.
What she won't have to do is fight for recognition in a region that's heavily backed her in the past, including her unsuccessful Senate race three years ago. In North County in particular, everyone knows her name.
"In that room right now are several classmates from high school, my trigonometry high school teacher, Mr. Cove, who I haven't seen for a long time but who I just remember fondly," said the Williams College graduate. She's spent most of her life outside the Berkshires, building a legal career as Middlesex district attorney before running for state office. But she came back in 2007 to be sworn in as attorney general at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts.
I appreciate that I made some mistakes in that race and my biggest regret is that people think I didn't work hard. I certainly regret that but I went right back to work in the attorney general's office, going back to work for the people in Massachusetts.
on the 2010 U.S. Senate campaign
Coakley moved around the Freight Yard Pub introducing herself and her husband, Thomas F. O'Connor Jr., but the connections were already there in many cases — they'd gone to school with one of her sisters, they'd known her father, they'd sat beside her in class — they connected somewhere in the myriad relationships found in a small town.
The gathering wasn't large but a number of community leaders were on hand, including Mayor Richard Alcombright, City Councilors Marie Harpin, President Michael Bloom, Jennifer Breen and Lisa Blackmer; a contingent from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts including President Mary Grant; Berkshire Community College President Ellen Kennedy and attorney John DeRosa, and Adams Selectman Joseph Nowak.
Kristen Gilman and Joy DeMayo, teachers at Sullivan Elementary School, were having supper before orientation in the evening. They hadn't realized that Coakley was going to be there but they chatted with her for several minutes about the school and teaching.
If they'd had a chance to consider, what would they have said Coakley or another gubernatorial candidate?
DeMayo's was straightforward: "Our youth is the future." Gilman's more on process: "I just want her to come to Sullivan to see what's going on up there, dealing with what we have to deal with all day. The reality of it."
Coakley's looking for that input.
"I would love to have the help and support of Berkshire County voters during the campaign. I want your ideas, I want your suggestions about how we in Boston — I know that is how we think about state government — can be more engaged and involved in what you care about, what we care about," she said. "I'll be out here not just for the campaign but more importantly as governor."
Before she headed back toward Boston for another day of campaign stops, a woman came out of the pub to shake her hand.
"I love you as attorney general and you got my vote," she said.
Coakley Visits Berkshire Cities for Governor's Race Kickoff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Attorney General Martha Coakley will announce for governor on Monday at the beginning of a three-day swing through the state that will bring her to the Berkshires on Tuesday.
The North Adams native had been among the high-profile Democrats expected to declare — one way or the other — on their interest in the state's top office.
In a statement, Coakley said, “Massachusetts is poised to take off. We can either grab this moment and move forward together, or risk falling behind.
"I believe we must continue to rebuild our economy in a way that gives everyone the opportunity to succeed, and launch new education reforms so that every child and adult has the skills they need to compete in a global economy."
Coakley will officially announce her gubernatorial campaign by video at www.marthacoakley.com and start the day Monday greeting voters in Medford, Brockton, Attleboro, Fall River, New Bedford and Hyannis. On Tuesday and Wednesday she will campaign in Newton, Framingham, Worcester, Springfield, Pittsfield, North Adams, Boston, Lowell, Lawrence, Newburyport, Gloucester, and Salem among other stops.
Democrats who have already lined up for governor include Treasurer Steven Grossman, who announced at the Democratic convention earlier this summer; Dr. Donald Berwick, former Medicare chief; Joseph Avellone of Wellesley, a biotech executive; and Juliette Kayyem, a former Homeland Security official. State Sen. Dan Wolf of Harwich has suspended his campaign pending appeal to the Ethic Commission to reconsider its ruling that his interest Cape Air impedes his ability to serve in public office.
Running as an independent is Evan Falchuk of Newton; Charlie Baker, who ran unsuccessfully in 2012, is so far the only Republican candidate.
The last time Coakley was in the region to meet with publicly with local leaders was as keynote speaker at a Berkshire Chamber breakfast last August. Coakley talked about her office's efforts to reduce the number of abandoned properties caused by the fallout of the global recession.
Newton Candidate Blurring Party Lines In Governor Race
|Independent candidate Evan Falchuk meeting with voters earlier this year.|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In 2012, Newton native Evan Falchuk grew tired of the bickering in politics. And instead of siding with the Democrats or the Republicans, he decided to side with the 53 percent of Massachusetts voters who are unenrolled.
Falchuk is a founding member of United Independent, a designation he hopes to turn into a recognized political party, and is running for governor. His platform is relatively simple — to take a practical, pragmatic approach at solving the state's problems.
"People want to be involved in the decision-making process," the 43-year-old said in an interview on Tuesday. "We're finding our appeal is across the political spectrum."
He uses the state's recent transportation bill as an example of how politics have not fixed a problem. Falchuk says the state's transportation infrastructure is absolutely a problem but prior to the governor pitching his plan earlier this year, residents had ranked it very low in their priorities. In just a short period of time, the governor and Legislature battled over a transportation bill, and passed one that is not enough to fix all the problems. Meanwhile, residents were, for the most part, left out of the process.
"I believe the state is not transparent enough with how we spend taxpayer money," he said. "We need to have to confidence and faith in our government ... voters feel they can only do so much."
So Falchuk's No. 1 priority is to implement fundamental change in how government works. Not just communicating with voters better — though that is an issue, he says — but leading the way so that from the governor's office down, decisions are made in a much more democratic way.
"We've got a political system that is broken," he said. "My No. 1 priority is to rebuild faith in our government."
By getting more people involved and blurring party lines, Falchuk believes he can begin solving some of the state's problems. Particularly he would like the change the tax system to become more progressive, lower the cost of living and doing business, address the economic inequalities among residents and identify barriers that slow small businesses. He calls for going through the budget line by line and analyzing if each department is spending the money correctly.
But Falchuk says to revamp the system, there needs to be a strong, innovative and smart leader at the helm. He believes he's the one for the job.
"I'll put my resume up against anybody else running for governor," he said, but added that isn't why he should "be hired" — it's the extra effort he's willing to put in that elevates him against the rest.
Falchuk was a Washington, D.C., attorney working on Securities and Exchange Commission cases before becoming an executive of Best Doctors Inc., a research company that ensures patients get the right diagnoses. Since he joined in 1999, the Best Doctors has grown from six employees to some 600 people.
But after becoming frustrated with politics, he's resigning his position to concentrate on his political campaign.
"You can either complain about it or you can get a shovel and dig. Nothing happens until people do something," Falchuk said.
Other candidates who have announced for the gubernatorial race in 2014 are Dan Wolf, Joseph Avellone and Don Berwick. Treasurer Steve Grossman is also expected to join the race.
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.