Laugenour Calling for Promotion of Energy Conservation
Laugenour is the Green-Rainbow Party candidate for state representative in the 4th Berkshire District.
"I have long believed that conservation is an alternative energy that should be encouraged through incentives just like wind, solar and hydro," Laugenour said.
Laugenour and his husband, Mark Woodward, released their household's annual energy consumption, using the most recent readings available. Their consumption is well below available averages for similar households. They reside in a 1,724 square-foot, two-story colonial home in Lenox built in 1900. They share a 2007 Prius, which averages 46 miles per gallon. They have had two MassSave energy audits in the last three years.
Annual consumption of the Laugenour/Woodward household:
- Electricity 2656 kw/h
- Natural Gas 52 therms
- Heating Oil 380 gallons
- Water 31,000 gallons
- Gasoline 252 gallons
The Lenox Environment Committee, on which Laugenour served, began discussions last year on ways that the town could offer conservation incentives via the property tax. Energy committees in other communities in the 4th Berkshire District have had similar conversations.
"I will take the lead in promoting legislation on Beacon Hill that empowers municipalities to use local tax mechanisms in order to be more innovative in measurably decreasing climate-warming emissions," Laugenour said. "I envision a system that would reward year over year reductions as much if not more than it would reward actual levels of low consumption. I look forward to working with municipalities and members of the public to help them make meaningful progress in conservation."
Laugenour is in a two-way race against incumbent Democrat William "Smitty' Pignatelli, which will be decided Nov. 6.
Patrick Throws Support Behind Pignatelli
The election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
"I am honored to have the support of Governor Patrick. He has been a great friend and advocate for the Berkshires over the past six years and we are lucky to have him in the State House," said the Lenox Democrat. "He is well aware of the unique issues we face here in the Berkshires and I know he has made it a priority of his to support the initiatives and programs we have here."
He continued, "I am proud to be a partner and supporter of the governor and his agenda of moving Massachusetts forward and building on the successes of the past several years. Thanks to the efforts of this administration over the past few years in weathering the Great Recession, we continue to lead the nation in job growth, education, health care, veteran's services and information technology and we are in a great position to take advantage of the improving economy."
SEIU Local 509 Endorses Pignatelli for 4th Berkshire District
The election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
"I have great respect and admiration for the hard working members of the SEIU Local 509 and I am truly honored to have won their endorsement of my campaign," said Pignatelli in a statement.
"Every day these folks go out and provide the care and support that our most vulnerable citizens need and I am proud to be able to represent such selfless and hard-working folks. I would like to thank the members of the Local 509 for their support and I look forward to working with them further," the Lenox Democrat continued.
Melody Hugo, deputy political director of SEIU Local 509, said that "Given Representative Pignatelli's commitment to working families and our members in particular, this decision was an easy one."
Pignatelli said he has been a strong supporter of SEUI priorities, and was a strong advocate during the budget debate relating to the Human Service Salary Reserve line item. He also supported an amendment filed by Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick, that would fully fund the salary reserve. Private provider human-service workers had gone without an annualized pay increase since 2007. The final budget included $20 million for the reserve and Pignatelli, along with his colleagues in the House and Senate, were able to ensure that this funding stayed intact throughout the final stages of the budget debate.
SEIU Local 509 represents more than 12,000 human service workers throughout Massachusetts, including as professional, direct care, and support staff at private agencies that receive funding to provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children, and people with mental illness and developmental disabilities.
Service Employees International Union has 2 million members and is focused on uniting workers in public services, long-term care, property services, and hospital systems. It is the largest health care union, the largest property services union, and the second-largest public employees union.
Social Workers State Chapter Endorses Pignatelli
Pignatelli is a candidate for re-election to represent the 4th Berkshire District. The election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
"I am thrilled and honored to win the endorsement of the NASW-MA PACE and I wish to express my sincere gratitude for their support. I greatly admire the wonderful work that the NASW members do, especially out here in the Berkshires," said Pignatelli in a statement. "They are really an integral part of our communities and particularly in the rural areas out here they are on the frontlines of delivering care and support to our residents."
Pignatelli has been a supporter of social workers throughout his time in the State House, particularly by being a lead sponsor and supporter of An Act Establishing an Education Loan Repayment Program for Social Workers in Areas of Need. This legislation will create a student-loan repayment pilot program for licensed certified social workers in underserved and high-need areas of Massachusetts, such as Berkshire County.
This bill is needed, said the representative, because the levels of debt that licensed social workers are graduating with are unmanageable and dissuade qualified students from staying in the field or, out of financial necessity, from pursuing social work as a career.
Founded in 1957 the National Association of Social Workers is the largest organization of professional social workers in the world, with over 155,000 members in 55 chapters.
The Massachusetts Chapter of NASW is the major professional social work organization in the state. NASW is committed to the mission of advancing professional social work practice and the profession; and to promoting human rights, social and economic justice, and unimpeded access to services for everyone. Its 8,300 members work in a broad range of settings including hospitals and other health care settings, community agencies, government, academia, business, nursing homes, schools, and private practice.
Democrats Open North County Campaign Office
The Ashland Street office has been opened but Thursday Democratic leaders held a grand opening.
The Ashland Street office will serve as headquarters primarily for canvassers for the Elizabeth Warren campaign for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Scott Brown but will be open for any campaign.
"It'll be for whoever needs it for the Democrats," Joyce Wrend, a member of the North Adams Democrat City Committee member, said. "We really want this to be for the Northern Berkshires."
There is already a Democratic Party office in Pittsfield.
Campaign volunteers have been using homes to organize canvasses, which have already knocked on more than 3,000 doors, said Ed Sedarbaum, who is organizing canvassing efforts for Warren. Sedarbaum hopes to turn the new storefront office into a call center as well.
"This is going to be a great place to work out of," Sedarbaum said.
Outside of special organizational meeting, the office is expected to be opened for two hours in the afternoon and two hours in the evening.
North County has no races for the November election, with state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing running unopposed.
Neal recently visited the new office to thank his supporters for helping him win the primary election. His campaign donated $500 toward the office last week, with Neal saying it was important to support grass roots efforts. City Committee Chairman Greg Roach said at the time that the party existed to get Democratic politicians elected and to support Democratic policies. It was important for it to be involved at the local level, he said, whether or not there was Republican or other opposition.
The office will also make available placards, lawn signs and bumper stickers for President Barack Obama and Warren.
Some Democratic leaders showed up early to check out the new office.
"I think she is focused, inspiring and will make a big difference," he said.
So far he has nearly 450 volunteers for the campaign and while not all of them will actually donate time, groups of up to 22 have been rallying support for Warren throughout the county since July.
That campaign has really picked up steam recently picked up with the airing of debates and increase in political advertising. Berkshire Brigade's President Lee Harrison said the turning point was at the recent debate. While Brown pulled ahead in polls prior to last week's debate, Harrison is confident that her performance there "turned the corner."
"She will be a national figure when she's elected," Harrison said.